As someone who will be leaving the country for a vacation in less than two weeks, recent events have certainly piqued my interest.
I am going to be going to Africa and, on the way there, I will have a stop and layover in Amsterdam. That Schiphol Airport that is in the news? I will have a couple of stops there while taking the same type of flight that one Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab did.
What has me really intrigued is the talk about the full body scanners. Apparently (I didn’t know this until a few days ago) full body scanners have been deployed in airports around the world, but are not used to check every passenger before boarding a flight. They are optional, and if someone does not want to walk through one can instead choose a pat-down. That needs to change.
When it comes to safety in air travel every reasonable precaution needs to be taken, and that includes the body scans. While they cannot guarantee safety, it sounds like they can certainly help. Apparently the main reason why they are not used by everyone is concerns over privacy, about just how much people will see of travelers as they pass through the machine. To that, I say, get over it.
From what I’ve read, the scanners show an image that is similar to an X-ray in black and white, or a color image that shows an outline of the person being scanned. Will a silhouette of your body be seen? Sure. Is that really an invasion of privacy? Maybe, but it shouldn’t matter.
Let’s be honest here: how many people that are concerned that the machine will reveal too much wear clothes that show off their figure anyway? Granted, wearing skimpy clothes is not the same as wearing none at all, and I get that, but it is not as big a deal is it has been made out to be. From what I’ve read the machines will either be run by computer software that will look for foreign objects (so no human watching), or the person who is viewing the scan will not be in the same room as the passenger walking through the scanner. So, if someone is involved in looking at the scan, what they see is a virtual image of a person, not what amounts to a pornographic photo.
Personally, I welcome the scan. Saying no to these scans, even if they could save lives, would be selfish. While I may be a bit uncomfortable with the process, I’ll gladly trade some comfort on my way to the airplane as long as I know I will have a comfortable, safe flight on the board.