Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Soon Big Brother Will See You Naked – Sort Of

The American Department of Homeland Security is planning to use whole body imaging at all major airports to protect people from threats from above.

Whole body imaging is a new technology, which essentially gives airport security the ability to see right through you – literally. These new types of scanners act like X-Ray scanners, only they detect metallic and non-metallic objects hidden within the human body.

Privacy advocates claim these devices are an invasion of privacy, as they can reveal more about a person than airport security needs – like your heart rate, if you have a pacemaker, or have had surgery on any internal organs. Although the images are not stored, there is a fear that in the future they will be.

In their defense, Homeland Security has begun testing the devices in six American airports to ensure they work and that they can protect the privacy of those who go through the devices. Two security guards work the scanners, one directs passengers through the machine, never seeing what it finds, and the other guard is in a locked, closed room nearby, watching the results of the scanner. If the guard watching the images sees anything that shouldn’t be there, he contacts the other guard, and the passenger is detained.

To further protect passenger privacy, the faces of those going through the machine are blurred, but critics claim that this new scanner still goes too far.

The real concern is whether or not this new scanner will prevent terrorism. If an individual or a group has been planning an act of terrorism, all the latest technological gadgets in the world may still never fully prevent it. As new devices like these whole body scanners, are developed, those plotting and scheming to do no good find ways to do no good.

Privacy experts warn that whole body imaging is just the tip of the virtual iceberg when it comes to revealing more than we need too, under the guise of privacy.

Airlines could detect if a person is more susceptible to illness in the air, and actually reject passengers for fear of them delaying flights, sighted one privacy expert. Imagine being denied travel, for something that you have absolutely no control over, and may not even know about?

Others claim security guards may try to make more money, by leaking whole body imaging scans of celebrities for sale on eBay, and other online marketplaces.
The real worry is what is next, as if Big Brother knows what we look like beneath our clothes, it won’t be long before they know what we look like without our clothes.

The whole body imaging scanner system is being tested in San Francisco, Miami, Alburquerque, Las Vegas, Tulsa, and Salt Lake City.

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