Airport full-body scanners raise concerns

Full-body scanners may soon be coming to an airport near you. The Transportation Security Administration hopes to have nearly 1,000 full-body scanners at airports throughout the U.S. by the end of 2011. But there are concerns.

A group of doctors and professors from U.C. San Francisco are worried about the safety of one type of scanner built by Rapiscan Inc.

From the L.A. Times:

To reveal weapons hidden under a traveler's clothes, the scanner relies on "backscatter technology," which uses the ricochets from low-level X-rays to create what looks like a nude image of the person. Health concerns have been raised in the past by activists and bloggers. In contrast, the latest safety questions are being raised by professors of biochemistry and biophysics and experts in imaging, cancer and crystals. They said they fear that the scanners may expose the skin to high doses of X-rays that could increase the risk of cancer and other health problems, particularly among older travelers, pregnant women and people with weak immune systems.

The team has asked the White House to look into the matter. Department of Homeland Security officials said there's no reason to worry because the risks are so low they're almost negligible.

Besides body concerns, though, there are also lingering privacy issues.

You might have heard of the case of Rolando Negrin, a TSA worker in Miami, who beat up his co-worker after enduring months of genitalia jokes for his apparent shortcomings after he used the full-body scanning machine.

That case drew attention to the privacy issues associated with these machines. The TSA says they are working on new safeguards to prevent these types of jokes and harassment.

You can follow all of our travel coverage here.

Would you mind using a full-body travel scan?

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.
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The images you see on Google are what the government won’t you to see. Some reporters went through a scanner and afterwards asked to see the images but were flatly refused.
The very white scan images are from the back ground scatter machines and isn’t that revelling but the black and white images are from the millimetre wave machines
These scanners take’s a picture of YOU that is so detailed that it shows every detail there body has to offer. It’s a black and white image but it can show how big there labia is and what there breasts look like. The image can also be magnified to show so close up that if you going through your period that they will be able to see the string very clearly.
The images on the internet are of the same people. Lots and lots of images but always the same people. Funny, after all the people that pass through the machines only a certain type of image has been released to the public to view.
Did you also know that the person examining the image in great detail was yesterday looking through people’s dirty underwear looking for extra tobacco?
It has been released by the officials in America that these scanning machines can store and print the images. All they have to do to print or store an image is turn the TRAINING mode on. Contrary to what our government has lead us to believe.
On peer to peer systems there is already a Best of Body scanning images! Not to mention the scanner operator at an airport in Britain being warned by Police for being a pervert. Most people I have asked about these scanners think the image is like an Ex ray Image.
The Christmas day attack would still have happened even if he had gone through the scanner.
Only Doctors should have the backing of government to see people naked with there legs akimbo and not any bloke off the streets that has been given a job as a security guard.

Inside info.
At Manchester Airport the room were a person looks at the naked images of people going through these digital rape machines, there is a security camera, which as we all knows records everything.
The best seat in the house to see naked people isn’t in the screening room but in the security room were they view the security camera footage. There they can see the face of the person who is about to go through the digital rape machine. They then sit and look at another screen and watch in full screen (because they can zoom in with the security camera) the full show of the woman or man they liked the look of being digitally raped. It’s like a little strip show as the video is of a moving naked person.
Any video of a person you like is then recorded and you can take it home with you. All backed and enforced by the government.
Labour started this raping of the British public,
Let’s hope the Tories have more respect for the British public and make this a voluntary option and not a force strip search.

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