Hate privacy? Then you'll love traveling
According to the TSA:
- Beams of radio frequency (RF) energy in the millimeter wave spectrum are projected over the body’s surface at high speed from two antennas simultaneously as they rotate around the body
- The RF energy reflected back from the body or other objects on the body is used to construct a three-dimensional image
- The three-dimensional image of the body, with facial features blurred for privacy, is displayed on a remote monitor for analysis
The TSA says the imagers will be used, at least initially, on a voluntary basis for secondary screenings. But not everybody is convinced the strip-down technology will be used so non-coercively. From the Miami Herald:
"We really question how voluntary this test it is, no matter what the TSA says," said Charlene Sawyer, president of the Greater Miami American Civil Liberties Union. "The TSA may say these scanners will be used only for secondary screening, but these scanners will be used as a primary search for random selectees."
The American Civil Liberties Union opposes the use to the scanners as part of a routine scanning procedure, she said. It's only OK when there is probable cause, although what that means is also up for debate, Ms. Sawyer said. ...
For passengers, she said, the X-rays are "the technological equivalent of parading around naked with a bag on their head."
If you think that air travel is starting to resemble a very-expensive East Germany-nostalgia tour and you'd prefer a less-intrusive alternative, you might consider traveling by train. Well, except, not on Amtrak, which implemented random bag searches, armed guards and bomb-sniffing dogs earlier this year.
Even local travel is iffy, since New York City has been subjecting subway passengers to annoying searches for the past three years. Los Angeles's MetroLink implemented a similar policy this week, apparently just so officials there wouldn't feel left out. Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell told the Los Angeles Times:
"It's more in response to what has become standard procedure at other commuter rail agencies across the country," she said. "We were one of the few who wasn't doing this, and we thought it would be a good idea to step up the security a little bit."
Well, you could always stay at home. Telecommuting looks better than ever.