…in which a machine is set up to screen passengers before they board an airplane. The device creates a topographic image of the body, leaving little to the imagination. That little lump, sag, or bulge is there for a screener in another room to see and scrutinize. Presumably, that screener is in another room in the facility. Or perhaps he or she is working remotely—sitting at an office across the country—or across the globe—or even working from home. Or maybe there is no remote location anywhere at all.
Imagine a scenario in which the device doesn’t work as intended and produces no images, but is there and powered on. The presence of the device and the hoopla over its use is enough to deter would-be smugglers and carriers of contraband and dangerous items.
Can you imagine thousands of travellers stepping into or in-front of a machine that is presumed to be doing something it’s not?
How would the traveler ever know the difference? The device’s reputation creates all the deterrence that is needed.
Whether there is an image, a room, a screener—or not—why do we care so much?
Apparently because the process feels dehumanizing. Apparently because there are no good long-term studies to prove that the devices are safe. And apparently because we value the little humility allowed us by clothing—that what we intend for the privacy and intimacy of ourselves and those closest to us should remain that way.
I’m not a prude, but if I wanted to have an anatomical image of myself taken, I would look for a warm room, soft, comfortable setting, good lighting, a GREAT photographer, and a contract with Playgirl. Alas, none of that will ever happen either.