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Full Body Scanners - Article Example

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Full Body Scanners It was decided to introduce the new types of body scanners to all American airports after December 25, 2009, when a young Nigerian tried to blow up the Northwest Airlines plane over Detroit with an infernal machine hidden in his underwear…
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Download file to see previous pages airport security policies. In response, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) installed the full body scanners, called mainly as “naked body scanners”, in the main airports of the country. These scanners can de roughly divided into two types: “millimeter wave” machines, which are based on electromagnetic field use and are considered safe for all people, pregnant women in particular. Another type is a “backscatter” machine, based on low ionizing radiation emission. It is stated that X-rays of such scanners do not penetrate a body but “jump back” to a screen and form a body 3-D image. The TSA Administrator John Pistole and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated that the new methods of checking are essential in view of the fact that traditional metal detectors and non-intrusive inspections are clearly ineffective and inadequate in the circumstances concerned. The use of new technologies and new procedures is to ensure our safety, as the terrorists still continue to plan, Pistole stated. Napolitano has made it clear that her agency will not stop at what has been accomplished and will spread the new checking system to railway and subway stations in the future. By the end of 2010 there were over 100 full body scanners in 32 airports. Right now their number grew up to over 450 units and no end in sight. The authorities plan to set about a thousand of these devices, which will cost approximately $ 300 million (Holbrook, 11). Such measures stirred up a fierce discussion. Some Americans refer to the Fourth Amendment, stating that their privacy is violated. Some opposed the new security measures due to their natural modesty and ethic issues. Some do not accept everything that was done by the present-day administration. The others worry about ionizing radiation emitted by the new scanners, although the experts say that in a flying airliner any passenger gets much more roentgens than from body scanning. Finally, all the fears and suspicions against the scanners and alternative airport screening processes made human rights activists and libertarians take up arms against such novelties. One of the latter, Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul, even introduced a law in draft to the House of Representatives - Air Traveler Dignity Act that protects Americans against full body scanners. Paul pretends to summarize all the negative opinions of passengers and pilots and his own as well, calling TSA and its methods the “Soviet-style nonsense.” Paul Sr., a gynecologist by profession, also expresses deep concerns about a radiation emitted by the new scanners. He was echoed by the U.S. Representative for Tennessee John Duncan, who plainly told in the Congress that a “nationwide revolt” against airport body scanning machines spreads all over the country and that’s good! And it’s not about ethics or risk for cancer even. Duncan pointedly noted in his speech that the former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff now “represents Rapiscan, which sells these scanners to his former agency.” On the other hand, most Democrats support the new order. Most of their fellow citizens are also ready to put up with the new naked body scanners. As the recent poll of the Washington Post-ABC News shows, only 32% of respondents are determined against the scanners. But abusive and invasive searches in airports have split the public opinion in America in half: 50% of respondents were against them. Especially revealing, in this concern, was the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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