X-Ray airport security

The European Commission has proposed a new proposal that they believe will cut down on long lines in the airports while tightening up security measures to protect against future terrorist attacks: X-Ray vision scanners that give each potential passenger a virtual strip-search. A spokesperson for the European Commission has stressed that the plan is still in the developmental stages, and even if it were approved, people would only be asked to submit to the search on a volunteer basis, but there are still many who have voiced concerns about the possible effects such scanners could have on human rights, data protection, and personal well-being.

Though not much is known about the long-term side effects of X-Ray exposure, the conventional wisdom is that it's not all that good for people. This goes a long way toward explaining why you are required to wear a lead covering at the doctor's office when getting an X-Ray to protect the parts of your body that are not being photographed from unnecessary exposure to potentially harmful radiation. As of right now, the European Commission has said that subjects would be scanned in a specially equipped booth, but if the technology evolved to the point where it could be employed in more general areas, it could pose a health risk to pregnant women, or people with certain medical conditions. On top of these concerns, there is also the question of how constant exposure to X-Ray radiation will affect the health of frequent flyers.

On a less apocalyptic note, the possibility that a group of unseen voyeurs can have carte-blanche access to what amounts to nude pictures of anyone in an airport is unsettling. Despite the kink factor, this technology opens up all sorts of avenues for privacy rights abuses, as the scanners enable security technicians to see everything a person is carrying, regardless of its legal status. It seems like a slippery slope to a Big Brother society in which people's rights and freedoms will become increasingly limited. All this in the name of speeding up the line at the airport? We don't think saving an extra hour at the gate is worth the invasion of privacy and possible health complications. A better suggestion? Bring a book.


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