Saturday, August 7, 2010

Airport Security Backscatter X-Ray Scanners: Not A Privacy Concern.

I mean, really. Just because you are standing naked in front of a random, unknown, unknowable person you never met, and the image is recorded and stored for future "use" in an unspecified manner, what are you worried about? I mean, it's not as if the images are photo-realistic, right?

What do you think?

The federal government is aiming to have these scanners installed at all the airports in the country. Here is the newly released list of airports where they are "coming soon." They want you not to worry about it. They would prefer you didn't think about it. They would definitely rather you didn't have a concern that your teen daughter's nekkid picture was being made.

I mean, this image isn't really so bad is it? It doesn't look like much right? Is this going too far for the sake of security?

The feds like to say it's a grainy negative image. It's not like a photograph. It doesn't even really look like people! Okay, here's another sample. This isn't really going to get a pervert's motor going, is it?

Let's follow the road a few more steps together, shall we? In this image, you see what happens when we use basic photo editing software. Is it getting outrageous yet?

Well you know, it's funny what you can do with a little program called Photoshop. The following probably took all of thirty seconds. Given a skilled user and a couple of minutes I am pretty sure you would be looking at a high-quality nudie picture here. Invert the colors as in the image above, then tint it a little bit, and you now have something more like this going on:

But really, what's so bad about that? They said the pictures aren't stored! Just they take a quick look to make sure you don't have a knife or a gun or something, and then they send you on your way. Except that the pictures of you, your spouse, and your children are being stored. Without your consent or knowledge. Where? Nobody is saying. Images of whom? Nobody is saying.

Nobody is saying if they had a USB thumb drive and took home pictures of your 14 year-old daughter to "study" after-hours with their friends, either. Are child porn laws being violated? They won't say. You go ahead and draw your own conclusions.

Oh, and never mind that they expose you to a little more radiation than you would otherwise receive. It's really a small dose and you aren't likely to get cancer from it . . . not so that you could prove it, anyhow.

As for me, I'm going to get to the destination a little bit later than you do, if it's out of state. Give yourself 2 hours to get through security, an hour to wait for the plane to be readied, an hour in flight, and an hour to unass the aircraft, get your luggage, and find a rental car at the destination. By then, I have been driving for 4-1/2 hours, and I am driving a car (mine) that won't cost me $350 every time the rental company's GPS tattletale says I exceed the speed limit.

And I won't have paid to have my luggage sent clear over to the other side of the country. And my camera is still in the bag in which I packed it, instead of a thief's car. And I can eat what I please (peanuts included), use my cell phone, take a potty break, get up and walk around -all at times and locations, and for durations of my choosing- and not pay for the privilege of being treated like a criminal.

Flying? None for me thanks, I'm driving.

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