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Thursday, November 04, 2010

The full body scanner goes to court

A group that protects privacy rights has gone to court to prevent the deployment of full body scanners in airports across the United States. The US government plans to deploy 450 scanners in airports across the United States at a cost of more than $1 billion(!) (Hat Tip: Instapundit).
“The suspicionless search of all airport travelers in this most invasive way violates the reasonableness standard contained in the Fourth Amendment,” Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said Tuesday. He said the devices, costing $1 billion, were designed “to store and record and transmit the unfiltered image of the naked human body. ”

The government is expected to respond next month to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

A test image shown to reporters at Logan International this spring “showed the blurry outline of a female volunteer,” The Associated Press reported at the time. “None of her clothing was visible, nor were her genitals, but the broad contours of her chest and buttocks were. Her face also was blurred.”

The constitutional challenge aside, EPIC also charges that the Department of Homeland Security, in rolling out the devices, violated a host of bureaucratic policies requiring public review, including the Administrative Procedures Act.

What’s more, the group claims the machines, among other things, violate the federal Video Voyeurism Prevent Act, which protects against capturing improper images that violate one’s privacy.
And the scanners are useless anyway.
The so-called “backscatter machines,” however, cannot detect so-called “booty bombs” in which an explosive is inserted into the body.

Travelers can opt out of going through the imaging machines and instead undergo a pat-down, including the crotch area.
I find it amazing that there is no movement in America pushing for profiling passengers is as done in Israel. It's far more successful and far less invasive.

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