Saturday, December 02, 2006

Get Ready To Be Strip-Searched Via Ionising Radiation

No, thank you; I think I'll take the car instead:

Virtual strip search coming your way

I first covered this story a year and a half ago when Chertoff pronounced he was going to install these x-ray machines in airports and "doesn't want an 'endless debate' over privacy issues." Well, just in time for the holidays, the TSA announced that one machine will be up and running at Sky Harbor's Terminal 4 by Christmas. They're expected to be installed in other selected airports on trial basis by early 2007.

I find it interesting that the agency isn't going to release information on the technology until later in the month. Could that be because...

The $100,000 machines bounce low-radiation X-rays off a person's skin to produce photo-like computer images of metal, plastic and organic materials hidden under clothes, says American Science and Engineering. The TSA is testing its BodySearch machine.

What with all that radiation poisoning the news, it's probably not a good time to tell people they're about to subject to searches that requires the use of it. What else they won't tell you is this system has almost nothing to do with terrorism. It's about finding drugs. Customs already uses it on suspected drug mules and it's used in prisons for drug detection.

They've figured out how to blur nipples and pubic hair to make the virtual strip search more palatable to the public and for now it's only going to used as a secondary search method, with an option for a pat down instead. But it's only a matter of time before we all will be expected to march through one to get on a plane. They won't catch any terrorists, and we'll all be treated like criminals.

Between that and the latest super secret domestic surveillance program, assigning a terrorist rating to every US citizen who has crossed a border since 2002, it's getting hard to call this a democracy anymore.

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