When oh when will these writers tell the whole story and state that the software that will eliminate the privacy issues is in place? Some of these authors need to do a little more research! Do any of you live near any of these airports? This is the first time I've read of potential locations.
Great article--Valid arguments--IF the software enhancements were not being made. I find it interesting that these biased articles tend to forget the fact that WE are big brother--not the govt. Look up and down any street in the USA cameras, cameras, cameras. Camera phones--digital cameras with video capabilities.
Ben, interesting comment. I heard on C-SPAN last week that the "average" person gets his/her picture taken 11 times daily. That number seems quite high, but I imagine with all the "store" cameras (people flitting in and out of several stores while shopping) the number could conceivably be that high. An aside - one of my friends was in the bank on a Sat. morning and a robber came in. Everyone dropped to the floor, the guy got the cash, and she was terrified. On the way out the guy removed his head cover and the bank's gardener took a picture of him with his cell phone camera as the robber was departing. They got the guy! Story all over the papers . . .
Some of the arguments employed by the "privacy advocates" seem desperate to me. For instance, the author states the backscatter won't find objects hidden in body cavities. Well, a "pat down" doesn't do that either - gimme a break. It's almost as if these people have an "all or none" perspective - if technologies can't do it ALL well, then, why bother with anything? With this technology we would have found box cutters on 9/11, no doubt.
It amazes me how all this "propaganda" gets out there. The writers don't take the time (or don't want folks to see the other side), that's for sure. The government is going to have to inititate a campaign to neutralize all the misinformation folks have (if the BodySearch is adapted by the TSA.) I have heard the last couple days how a UPS truck "lost" Citigroup's tapes of thousands of people's financial data (loans, etc.) I'd much rather have someone see my body than have someone get ALL my financial data. I posted the article so folks could see the list of potential airports doing the testing.
Near footnote #10 it lists other potential airports . . my city's airport is not listed but I'd sure like to see one. I like the way this writer at least offers footnotes, but he does obviously have an agenda as evidenced by his connection.
I don't know that the airport info is accourate for the testing. Customs purchased Bodysearch equipment for use at points at high traffic airports in 1999. They are in use. Have been for a while. No one talks about them much.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, July 29 1999
BODYSEARCH SYSTEM NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR CUSTOMS SEARCHES
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Customs Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced that new BodySearch systems will be installed at six international airports around the country over the next six months. The Body Search is cutting edge technology which will allow Customs inspectors to see if a passenger may be concealing contraband without subjecting the person to a personal search. The machines will be installed at the Los Angeles International Airport; Hartsfield International Airport, GA; Newark International Airport; JFK International Airport; Houston Intercontinental Airport; and Washington Dulles International Airport, VA.
"This technology will allow Customs to offer passengers an alternative nonintrusive search method," said Kelly. "This is an important step in our efforts to improve our personal search process for passengers and inspectors alike."
The BodySearch system is a body imaging machine that uses the same X-ray backscatter technology that is employed in the inspection of baggage and cargo. However, the X-ray strength of the BodySearch is low enough that it is not harmful to the passenger being examined, and is comparable to the amount of radiation received on a 2-hour plane flight. It can detect both metallic and organic material that may be concealed on the body, underneath clothing and hidden from external view.
"We tested these machines at JFK International Airport and they proved to be an effective tool," Kelly said. "It is critical that we balance our need to stop drugs at the border, with our duty to perform our jobs in a civil, respectful manner."
In fiscal year 1998, Customs seized 2,953 pounds of heroin. About 64 percent or 1,882 pounds were seized from commercial air passengers