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The Norseman

Plugged In: TSA Body Scanners

 As technology progresses through time, the security of our personal privacy and safety has come into question. The internet, and thus the ability to post and share personal information, has made the access to such information of others almost ubiquitous and gadgets and gizmos can produce harmful radiation rays that could lead to cancer.

One of the most recent events to raise questions about each of these concerns is the use of full-body scanners by the Transportation Security Administration in airports across the United States.

While many will claim that these scanners are actually saving lives and preventing further terrorist attacks, the facts and reasoning prove otherwise, as these scanners are actually more harmful than beneficial.

The introduction of these scanners into airports in the United States is largely in response to the ‘underwear bomber’ that was caught on Christmas Day in 2009. Pro-scanner arguments conclude that the scanners will be able to catch terrorists that could be hiding bombs and weapons inside of their underwear.

Yet, the ‘underwear bomber’ was caught before ever doing any harm; doesn’t this prove that the new security measures are extraneous?

Plus, terrorists aren’t idiots. They know, just as much as we do, what the security measures in airports are like. In the future, they will simply subvert the full-body scanners, with other ways to transport weapons.

Plus, these scanners are able to see detailed pictures of a human’s anatomy, resulting in detailed photographs of a traveler’s private parts, and we have no idea where these photographs go after they are taken by TSA agents.

Should these images be stored on some sort of database or hard drive, a hacker could easily gain access to thousands of pictures showing detailed body parts and then expose them publicly.

Secondly, the scanners emit harmful doses of radiation that can increase a traveler’s risk of skin cancer. For pilots and frequent flyers, this translates into a serious risk.

The argument has also been made that if you’re opposed to the use of full-body scanners that you shouldn’t fly on an airplane. Yet, this argument accomplishes nothing. If we don’t exercise our right to free speech and protest, things would never improve.

Sure, the full-body scanners might be helpful in some areas of security, but it’s not an ideal solution. By exercising our rights, we are demanding a better solution to the serious problem of airline security.

Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are always one-step ahead of our security measures, and yet we continue to only make regulations in response to terrorist schemes in what has become a cat-and-mouse game.

Instead of trying to subvert the terrorists in something that they may do in the future, we focus on passing measures to protect against things they have already done in the past.

The full body scanners are a quick and easy fix to a problem that don’t truly solve the pressing matters of national security. The terrorists will still simply devise other plans for attacking our country, while we subject ourselves to radiation and a lack of privacy.

Who has really won in this situation? Not us.

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