I’ve written before about how precious we are, as a society, when it comes to nudity. Our clothes are a mask, behind which we hide our self-consciousness and our insecurities. So when the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) started using body-scanner machines that can ‘see through’ clothing, there was a not unexpected outcry. And again when, at the end of November, the TSA introduced more in-depth frisking for anyone who refuses the body-scanners – including physically ‘patting’ the genital area.
CNN News reports on an confrontation with a passenger, which includes a description of the procedure: Watch Here
“Privacy advocates” (and as Jeff Jarvis often points out, we never really know who these paranoid activists are) were up in arms about this gross invasion. Sure, it’s invasive – and so it should be. This isn’t some “Let me see you nude, or let me feel you up” perverted TSA ruling. This is a reasonable and understandable attempt to make flying safer. If you want to blame someone for this, don’t blame the TSA – blame Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He’s the guy that, no doubt in severe emotional distress at having such an unpronounceable name, tried but failed to blow up us underpants on a plane. Thanks to him, and the drug-mules that don’t want want suspicious bulges showing up on the scanners, we NEED X-ray machines and hands-on tackle-checks.
Let me be perfectly clear: if a security officer at an airport asks you to step through one of these body-scanners, it is NOT a sexual thing. For one thing, you’re not that hot. Secondly, security officials are too busy to be having a quick flog over your black-and-white scans. Thirdly, you’re really not identifiable on the scans. It’s not about you.
It’s about time we stopped worrying about whether someone in a professional capacity gets to see our nudie bits, or having a feel for home-made bombs.