Flying on an airplane is no longer just a way to get from where you are to where you want to be. Now, it's a hot-button topic of scrutiny all across the United States. In 2001, our world changed dramatically, and today we are seeing the implications of that change. No longer can an airline passenger just walk through the airport and walk through the terminal. Now there are all sorts of rules and regulations for passengers. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is working hard to determine ways to keep all passengers safe. From full-body pat-downs to full-body scanners, improvements to airline security have been all over the news. A pat-down is pretty self-explanatory, but if you're not sure what all the full-body scanner fuss is about, sit tight, and get ready to learn what these scanners do.
First of all, there are two types of scanners. There's the millimeter wave scanner and the backscatter scanner. In both scanners, passengers step into the middle of the scanning device and wait, while the device collects a scan of the body. Then the scanner transmits an image to the person working. If nothing out of the ordinary is found on the passenger, the agent will allow the person to go, and the image that was created will be erased. If something suspicious does happen to be found in the scan, the officer will ask the passenger to remove the object, and he or she can even be scanned again.
What does the image look like? The image that is produced in the scan looks more like a naked body, with an obscured face, no skin, and a chalky appearance. Although the image is erased, many people are in an uproar with privacy concerns. Before determining how you feel about the scan, it's important to know the pros and cons...
The good news about the scanners is that they can and will detect dangerous things that are not supposed to be on an airplane. They can detect anything such as liquid bombs, ceramic knives, or drugs. Both the millimeter wave and backscatter scanners can detect the aforementioned things. When a scanner finds these items, it keeps passengers everywhere safe.
Those who oppose the scanners, however, feel that there should be other ways to find dangerous weapons. These opponents feel that the scanners simply reveal way too much. Just one look at the images from a scan will show you that these scanners do reveal quite a bit. Like it or not, someone behind that scanner is going to see what you have going on "down under." On the upside, those images do get erased.
Whether you support the airport scanning devices or not, it is important to be aware of both sides of the issue. It’s especially important to be informed because sooner or later, you might come into contact with one of the devices. If you do not want to be scanned, you do have the option of a full-body pat-down.