Opinion: Anatomic scanners won't make us safe

Body scanners that produce "anatomically explicit" images are being installed at major airports across the nation as part of the Bush administration's latest plan to keep us safe from terrorists.

Priced at about $200,000 apiece, the machines "undress" randomly chosen passengers -- including our elderly parents and our teenage daughters -- in order to find plastic guns and liquid explosives hidden on them.

Upset about this violation of your privacy and your family's privacy?

Not to worry, the Transportation Security Administration assures us the body scanning is less invasive than the "pat down inspections" currently in use and promises you will not appear on the Internet in your birthday suit, unless it's by your own doing.

"Read my lips," TSA says, we will "blur the faces on images of passengers being screened, examine the images in a remote room and make it impossible for images to be stored, printed, transmitted or reproduced."

That's quite a promise when cyber security can't even prevent teenage hackers from creating and widely distributing destructive computer viruses.

Like the Crayola terror alert scale and the proposed erection of a wall along our border with Mexico, this is yet another flawed attempt to restore the false sense of security we had before terrorists flew our passenger planes into the Twin Towers.

We cannot put Pandora back in her box, no matter how many rights we're willing to sign away, how much low-level radiation we're willing to be exposed to or how many billions of dollars we're willing to invest in ever more expensive technology that offers about as much protection as using your seat cushion as a flotation device in the event of a water landing.

Sheryl Jedlinski


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