Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Screened, Scanned and Stripped for Security

The European Commission is moving to get to know all visitors and travelers in and out of the continent in a very intimate manner - beyond what travelers would consider a transient acquaintance - by viewing every inch of their visitors' anatomy in all their naked glory. What used to be the exclusive province of some perverted minds of the human race, those who figuratively undress people by their lecherous looks at curves and bulges of other individuals, will soon become the official greeting method at airports in the continent.

The plan put forward by the European Commission involves scanners that will virtually strip search each passenger regardless of the layers of clothes they are wearing, and flash their entire body on a screen only in their birthday suit. The proponents argue that the images produced could be modified to eliminate positive identification, but the images produced nonetheless leaves very little to the imagination. The airport security and staff would therefore know every curve of a passenger's body way beyond what these passengers would want. Issues on human rights, data protection and personal dignity are being thrown out the window.

A number of countries have cautioned against the plan, calling it ill-conceived and without a thorough assessment of its impact on fundamental rights nor human health - regardless if it is cost efficient. Even the plan to draw up a rule book for how these devices will be used is a mere justification for an unjustified and invasive procedure. What's worse is that some of these devices are already being used in a number of airports. What if hackers mount an attack on these systems and then post all those naked bodies on the internet? Even if the images were altered, hackers would know how to enhance the image to elicit the true identity of the individual, and soon these photos will be used like paper dolls being plastered with different types of clothing perhaps for commercial value, or worse for prurient purposes. A new class of paparrazzi will emerge from these band of hackers who can single out celebrities and politicians.

This plan, if not modified or carefully studied, would put George Orwell to shame for being less invasive and less security conscious. And unless travelers to and from Europe have a predilection for nudist colonies and would like to mingle with more of their cohabitants in a more formal or "dressed manner", traffic to the continent would be greatly reduced. Perhaps the plan should be used for government functionaries, officials and their wives first, to set an example - Carla Bruni Sarkozy is certainly no stranger to nudity. Perhaps the world will be witness to what makes Gordon Brown resolute, or what makes George Bush ramble incoherently.

The other point is that it may be applied to the elderly only as a test, since no enhancement of the images could possibly be used commercially nor for prurient intentions. It wouldn't be very enticing. As the famed comedienne Phillis Diller once said "the best contraceptive for the elderly is nudity".



jena isle said...

I would think, this is a violation of a person's privacy. They should only use a scanner that detects metal or drugs but not something that virtually strips a person.

and these detectors always emit a certain emf electromagnetic force or radiation that can be harmful when repeatedly done. They say they have no side effects but anything that violates nature will always have a side effect.

A very well written article, as usual, thanks for sharing.

Kim said...

hello Durano
lol @ the Phillis Diller quote :)
I think this is an invasion of privacy and I for one would not be flying anywhere that has this system in place...
not that I like flying at the best of times...
I can just imagine what chaos there would be if the paparazzi got their hands on these devices..
great post Durano...
have a wonderful weekend :)

The Fitness Diva said...

wow! That's pretty intimate! There will be many males, young and old, fighting to get these screening jobs... Definitely not boring, I'm sure!

They can't pass a law like that, I'm sure. Too many people will protest.
I will definitely stay tuned on this one to see the outcome of it all!

Dwacon® said...

Ya... this was originally slated for airports in the USA. We blogged on it. I think they may have a couple in the USA but they haven't caught on. Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

I must agree with fellow commenters -- this is indeed unduly invasive, i think beyond both reason and necessity. If ever this level of electronic strip search should widely be deemed truly necessary, i for one would think it more reasonable to just not travel at all - at least not through airports employing this device.

On the up side, i just heard on the news that Germany has rejected these things, and their foreign ministry even characterized its use as "nonsense" :)

Zhu said...

I think the idea appealing.

I'm surprised it comes from Europe because airport security is much less tight than in North America... as well as immigration and border control.

Anyway, security will never be invincible. I carried water, lighters etc. aboard (not in purpose, just forgot it was in my carry-on!) many times and the X-ray machine didn't even spot it...

Leet said...

Hi Durano,

This is actually nothing to do with the post, although I found it interesting...

Since you deal with management consultancy, I wonder how deep you're involved with clients operational activities for improvement cases ...or just provide solution based on analysis, and help in tracking and monitoring...

Thanks in advance and...Cheers

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Jena Isle,

You're right on both counts, it's a violation of privacy - being invasive and degrading - and at the same time, contain health risks.

America is more paranoid than Europeans when it comes to security matters and this is really surprising. It is an action that's overdone and may have more dangers than benefits. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Kim,

It is appalling to say the least. As I mentioned, hackers could get into it and we will have a new breed of paparazzi that use technology to make money out of people's embarrassing situations.

The worst part is that some of these devices have been installed at some ports of entry but have not been named nor identified. This is going to be a big issue because it violates fundamental rights. The scanners in question should not be employed at all. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Fitness Diva,

The European Commission has received protests from other countries regarding this plan and its pilot test sites.

I would suggest that all those males eagerly applying for these jobs be placed in scanners where only the old or elderly will be screened, with no hope of being rotated to other scanners. Let's see them enjoy that. LOL! :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Dwacon,

If there are two units made available in US ports, it must have conked out because operators were scrambling to be on the monitors of these devices.

If it hasn't caught on, they were probably afraid of being found out and were wary of the potential protests and even lawsuits they might get themselves into.

But it is interesting to know what states actually used these devices. Were they republican or democrat states? :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi r,

Thus far there are no disagreements between all of us regarding this post. I for one would not limit my travels on account of such things.

If ever this device becomes a necessity, I would, upon entering the booth, cover my face with a scarf or a towel, and they can scan all they want. My face won't be visible and that has very few lookalikes. The lower part of my body, I don't mind. That looks like so many others, and unless they can place my face on it, it would be pointless to use the image for whatever.LOL! :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Zhu,

Do I get you right that you find the concept appealing because airport security is easily breached?

As I mentioned to "r", I can beat the system by covering my face, and its slightly different when you get inside ports such as those in Russia or Serbia, or Israel - such things as lighters, liquid items, etc., will have difficulty being kept from airport security.

Perhaps those manning the x-ray machines at the time you were there saw it but didn't bother as you don't fit the profile of a terrorist. LOL! :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Leet,

Our involvement with clients covers doing actual interviews and surveys, conceptualize the approach to the engagement's objective,plan and organize the activities, do the actual implementation, train and transfer skills, monitor and evaluate their progress, and set up systems and operational mechanisms they will use upon our phase out. Most importantly, we build their confidence in their own competence to carry on. This will empower them to do other things and develop new projects that would benefit them, their community and/or their institution.

In short, we do a complete cycle. This one we're doing at the moment involves relief, then rehabilitation, reconstruction,development and reintegration with the larger community in the region.

I hope I've made myself clear. Thanks for asking. :-) --Durano, done!

Anonymous said...

I suck coz I only appear to be able to think of one joke and one joke alone...

Why did the plane crash into the house????