The TSA announced today that it is implementing a new screening procedure to replace the so-called X-Ray backscatter machines because of concerns about the cumulative effects of radiation on frequent travelers.
The new procedure will be simpler, safer and quicker, a TSA spokesman told Mendax News Service.
In order to maintain a sense of modesty and propriety, the new system will have two lines designated "Rams" and "Ewes" in which passengers will remove their clothing and put it on a conveyor for scanning by a TSA professional. The use of animal terms for male and female indicates which sex is appropriate for each line without specifying or mandating compliance, thus avoiding an anticipated challenge to the procedure based on sex discrimination.
Before having clothing returned, the passengers will pass through a small glassed-in portal that will be fitted with cameras where their images will be transmitted to an off-site TSA professional who will look at the passengers and note that they are not carrying any weapons.
"The program is designed to respect individual sensibilities regarding privacy, modesty and personal autonomy to the maximum extent possible, while still performing its crucial function of protecting all members of the public from potentially catastrophic events." said TSA spokesman, Shepherd Ovis.
Ovis stressed that the employees viewing the pictures are not within view of the actual passengers, and are not allowed to store any of the images. TSA is also considering a prohibition against the public bringing cameras within range of the disrobing area.
Some extremist groups have objected to the system, claiming that it is "demeaning" and fret that it will lead to invasions of privacy and erosion of civil liberties. TSA has assured the public that the fears are unfounded.
Several passengers interviewed said that they felt a little strange taking off their clothes in the airport, but that it was worth it to be safe.
November 5, 2010