Full-Body Scanners: Make Your Voice Heard NOW!

This is your chance to voice your opinion and feedback as to whether or not the Transportation Security Administration should continue or cancel rolling out Advanced Imaging Technology — or AIT — full-body scanners at airport security checkpoints throughout the United States.

Here is the actual summary posted by the Transportation Security Administration referencing Docket ID TSA-2013-0004, along with more detailed information:

“This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is being issued to comply with the decision rendered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit in Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on July 15, 2011, 653 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2011). The Court directed TSA to conduct notice and comment rulemaking on the use of advanced imaging technology (AIT) in the primary screening of passengers. As a result, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) proposes to amend its civil aviation regulations to clarify that screening and inspection of an individual conducted to control access to the sterile area of an airport or to an aircraft may include the use of AIT.”

Your comments must be submitted by June 24, 2013. As of now, 2,540 comments have already been submitted.

Here is a video of how Advanced Image Technology screening works, according to the Transportation Security Administration:

FlyerTalk members do not need a formal invitation by the Transportation Security Administration, as they have been posting their personal experiences pertaining to “opting out” of being screened by full-body scanners at airport security checkpoints throughout the United States — and there are plenty of them. If anyone from the Transportation Security Administration wanted to read that entire discussion, they can do it in fewer than eleven straight hours — assuming that they allocate an average of ten seconds to read each comment posted to that discussion…

…and that is merely a discussion about experiences in terms of “opting out” of being screened by those scanners. It would take much longer to read all of the opinions about those scanners in the Checkpoints and Borders Policy Debate forum on FlyerTalk.

Would you care to speculate whether or not the majority of FlyerTalk members favor the Advanced Imaging Technology full-body scanners?

The Transportation Security Administration had already announced in January that the controversial full-body imaging scanners which use X-ray backscatter technology to screen passengers are expected to disappear from airport security checkpoints in the United States as soon as June of this year.

This image is an example of the outline of a passenger who had been screened by an Advanced Imaging Technology full-body scanner. The yellow areas indicate possible potenti threat items detected by the scanner — otherwise, a green box containing “OK” will appear instead. Source: Transportation Security Administration.

Additionally — by using a generic outline of each passenger instead of a more revealing photographic image — the Transportation Security Administration already purportedly uses software which enhances the privacy of passengers being screened by full-body imaging scanners which use millimeter wave technology at airport security checkpoints in the United States.

However, I still have no idea if the full-body imaging scanners still record a more revealing image of your body and store it on some hard disk drive in some back room somewhere — but perhaps I am merely being mildly paranoid. I am also unsure as to the impact on passengers who are scanned with regard to radiation and its effects — although the Transportation Security Administration claims that Advanced Imaging Technology full-body scanners are safe for all passengers.

Do you believe that the Advanced Imaging Technology scanners — projected to cost as much as $1.5 billion dollars between 2012 and 2015 — are effective at ensuring safety and security for passengers using commercial aviation to travel within the United States, or is it nothing more than “security theater”?

  1. I never got the big deal. I realize it doesn’t really help at all, but why are everyones panties in a bunch over it. Do you think some TSA guy is really sitting there like, “Oh yeah, that’s a hot a** x-ray?” Which he definitely wouldn’t be now with the generic pictures being used instead of the real x-rays. So then I guess it’s the government being “nosey,” but frankly, if this is how they want to be nosey, then IMO, it’s not that bad. Not to mention with preCheck this is almost an irrelevant issue for me except for the odd airport I fly out of without it.

  2. sky303: First of all, it’s not an X-Ray. It’s a body scan. Big difference. And, yes, there have been multiple reported incidents of TSA sending teenage girls through the scanner repeated times to get a “better look” at them. The TSA even have their own code words that they use when an attractive female approaches the checkpoint (Code Red). How would you feel if that was your teenage daughter?

  3. It’s not about modesty. It’s about not having to put your medical history and private lifestyle choices on display as a condition of traveling by air. It’s about not letting the government virtually strip search innocent travelers as if they were inmates. It’s about not letting the government take nude photographs of children. The kicker is that the machines aren’t even effective.

  4. The issue for me isn’t modesty.
    The scanners, both back-scatter Xray and millimeter wave have not been long term tested on humans. Neither went through an FDA approval process, but have lame approvals by physicists.
    There is more concern about the low energy x-ray exposure, but the millimeter wave technology is not well researched.
    As a very frequent flyer, it troubles me that they acknowledge the risk to air crews, children and pregnant woman, but not to frequent flyers. At this point, I pass through TSA security more frequently than most air crew!

  5. From a brief reading of this proposed rule change, they are removing the opt-out option. Am I reading this correctly?

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