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Monday, November 22, 2010

Naked feeling at American and European airports .....


Air travel of yester years was so much easy with minimum fuss and security precautions, but with the advent of hijacking and terrorism it has become a cause of stress and headache to both the authorities and the traveler. With the introduction of full body scanners in various airports across United States of America and Europe for passengers travelling by air due heightened security being undertaken in the western countries against terrorist threat. This has started heated debates all around the world.

Seems like science fiction comics we used to read in our young days X-ray vision glass which used to allow people to see across walls and clothes…well these scanners are somewhat similar utilizing certain wavelengths of electromagnetic waves that can pierce the clothing but would bounce off the skin, any metallic content or banned substances like drugs or explosives. In other words the security personal would be viewing your nude picture irrespective of whatever the person wears trying to avoid prying eyes, from thick woolen dress or leather pants …the machine will display your naughty bit to persons on duty.

There is an intense outrage and debate taking place by traveling public as few images of the full body scanner taken by Marshals at a court house has been leaked to the internet ….nothing less of pornography in morbid sense for the images are not as it would be of taking picture of a naked person. However with so many images enhancing software like Adobe photo shop etc it becomes easier to convert these images to real life quality pictures.
In UK the full body scanner violates the Child pornography laws and hence air travelers below the age of 18 years are exempt from the scanning and discussions are being done to address this issue. Middle Eastern countries have refused the installation of full body scanners in the airport on religious grounds.
Now the question of governance of the imaging being done at airports... How does one control the release of the images stored on these machines and prevent copying of these images by any of the security personnel…a million dollar question which needs to be answered without creating any controversies!!!!
Further the usage of these scanners have also triggered health concerns though the authorities are playing down the fears of the public by stating that the dosages of exposure is within a safe level. The equipment manufacturers are stating that the radiation level is much less compared to a chest X Ray … and hence not dangerous (at least in theory). However few scientists say that since the low level radiation is allowed to bounce of the skin and not pass through the body… the skin could receive extra magnitude of the radiation than expected which might induce cancer or alter the DNA.
The only alternative and safe solution would be a full body frisking……………but this is a time consuming process prone to lots of heated arguments and possible litigations. People of different ethnicities from Asia and Middle East are viewed with prejudice and are treated with malice in most western countries these days and it creates a sense of unpleasantness in the minds of the travelers from those regions.
Your views on this controversial topic would enlightening and hence please live your comments