Because I know Nic hates the things, I thought I’d write about the recent round of questions being raised regarding the safety of the Full-body Scanners currently utilized at select US and European airports. So far the American Transportation Security Administration has been vocal in proclaiming the safety of the devices, likening it to the type of exposure someone might receive during two minutes of flight. But with the reaction to ‘Enhanced Pat-downs’ and the TSA’s interest in keeping passengers happy and flight volume stable, one wonders if this exposure is as benign as they say.
Certainly the scanner is a much less intrusive way to provide security, but with the decision to see them in use 365 days a year, and the vast sums of money Rapiscan is going to make as the TSA ramps up installation to have one on almost every security line by 2014, one would think that a request by the scientific community for independent testing would be welcomed. Instead the TSA releases a report so heavily redacted – a practice typically reserved for classified government information – as to be useless to the requesting professors for any meaningful examination.
While I recognize the right to protect one’s intellectual property, I have to wonder at the decision to restrict information on the Full-body Scanners. Though am more worried that their very own cheerleaders from the scientific community, who believe the scanners pose little danger, are themselves concerned by the TSA’s reluctance to engage in any meaningful discussion regarding access to the devices.