Passengers heading to America from Holland by air will be subject to full-body scans before they board their aircraft according to Dutch officials. The scanners work by bombarding the body with electromagnetic waves which then bounce back onto sensors allowing the machine to build up a 3-D picture of the subject’s body. This means that operators will be able to tell if a passenger is carrying anything they shouldn’t be onto an aircraft. As well as smuggled goods the scanners can produce pretty accurate depictions of things like breast implants, body piercings and genitalia.
The fact that the machines could be said to breach a person’s privacy is something that manufacturers have been looking into. Latest developments mean that the machines can now blur a person’s face as well as their genitalia. Operators of the machines are stationed away from the actual scanners so that they can make no connection between the image on the screen and an individual passenger. Newer software could do away with the need to blur images altogether. The machines could be told to show the person up as a stick man and simply alert operators to the presence of contraband and its position on the body.
Although manufacturers of the full-body scanners claim that everyday people are not particularly concerned over the privacy issues, over thirty organisations in the U.S. alone beg to differ. At the moment however it looks like peoples privacy will be taking a back seat to any and all measures that can prevent a repeat of what was almost a terrible tragedy in the skies over Detroit on Christmas Day.