Using Full Body Scanners: Is That Really Necessary?

1566 words - 6 pages

Since the terrorism attack happened on September 11th 2001, many countries have realized the significance of this serious security issue, and they have begun to crack down on terrorism, and are actively participating in anti-terrorism cooperation for strengthening national security. Scientists have developed technology and research into high performance safeguards. Some fundamental safety equipment is used at the airports for checking out hazardous materials among the passengers. The full body scanner is a typical example being used at airports for safety inspections, and it shows the newest airport security technology. It mainly uses the x-ray or the millimeter-wave for scattering through and reflecting objects on the body. After scanning, the information will be sent to a computer, and “naked images” will be shown on the screen (Eaton, 2009).
Nevertheless, using full body scanners has caused much public debate. Its validity and technical effectiveness have been called into question: whether it is really effective and complete, and dose using the full body scanner violate human rights and harm human health? Also, is the data secure? The government cannot ignore those questions; it should investigate some of the negative effects of using the full body scanner, and carefully solve whether the full body scanner should be used universally at all airports.
Recently, the explosive was easily detected by a full body scan of a terrorist on Christmas Day, and it completely thwarted an attack, which was aimed at Detroit (Lekic, 2010). The benefits of the full body scanner were evidenced again; thus, many countries want to buy it for their airport security. Based on his report, Dr Cavoukian states the full body scanners principally include "millimeter wave" scanners and "backscatter" scanners (2009). The first one uses the short radio waves to scan and catch the information which is reflected from the body; then, it will create complete 3-D images of the human body, whereas, the Backscatter scanners radiate particular X-rays, which have lower energy than regular one, and the rays beam through the skin in order to create 2-D body images (2009). In light of these complex working principles, both use about 10 minutes to finish a complete individual scanning (Stanton, 2010), and the average velocity of the scanning is higher than a hand-held scanner; however, by using the millimeter-waves, the images come up clearer and faster (Cavoukian, 2009). Moreover, both not only detect the metallic materials but also plastic, chemical or other hazardous materials, carried by the human body (Tessler, 2009). In contrast, the regular physical scan can only catch the metallic items; therefore, people can easily understand these multiple superior technical aspacts to support the full body scanner protecting the safety of passengers and preventing serious crimes. According to a recent survey, conducted by the US government, almost 80% of Americans agreed with using...

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