9/11 is maybe the worst terrorist attack that has ever happened. Over 3000 lives were lost that day to terrorist forces whose aim was nothing but to kill and maim innocent people. The world changed after that. 9/11 was the new face of terrorism and it had gotten really ugly now.
The world, especially the US reacted to this attack. After 9/11, the world has never been the same place. There is a lot more fear now, people are scared, governments are scared, everyone is in a panicky mode except perhaps terrorists.
As a result of this new and imminent threat to world peace and security which we call terrorism, governments and security agencies all over the world have brought in major improvements to their security and surveillance systems. One branch of their enhanced security is the airport security. 9/11 was an airport security failure and a major one. 4 airliners were simultaneously hijacked and crashed in 3 different locations. Perhaps the first step various governments took was to improve the security of their airports and monitor what passes through them.
Anything that could remotely be used as a weapon on board was immediately banned. This included Swiss-knives, box-cutters, scissors, razor blades or anything sharp. Arms and ammunition and anything flammable were already banned long back. They supplemented security by allowing you only 100ml of liquids into the aircraft. Numerous other security measures were introduced and various other security measures are being thought of and being tried and tested each day.
One such measure is the introduction of full-body scanners. Basically, the full body scanners gives the inspector an image of whatever is concealed beneath your clothes. The inspector will see you naked and will uncover whatever you are hiding.
Image by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via Flickr
Now definitely, full body scanners can supplement your security a lot. Case in point would be Umar Farrouk Abdulmuttalab. He tried to blow up an airline which was on the way to Detroit from Amsterdam. He concealed a bomb in his underwear. He failed because the bomb was stuck in the underwear and the passengers had subdued him before he could set it off.
Full body can definitely protect you from such threats. Recently, there was news that female suicide bombers were being used and explosives were hidden in silicone breast implants. With the coming of full-body scanners, such threats may be found.
However, how much ever effective full-body scanners are, they are still a very offensive tool in airport security. Full-body scanners are a threat to the right of privacy of an individual. Do you want someone to look at your privates in the name of security? Of course not. You never know who might be behind that screen. Even though it is to maintain security, it defeats the purpose the minute you start looking under a person’s clothes.
What if some nasty homosexual pervert is looking at you on the screen and enjoying the visuals of your privates and examining it virtually. You cannot question the authority because this is a national security issue. You may never know what this person maybe doing with the visuals he/she has in front of him/her. They might steal it and publish it all over the internet as pornography.
Besides, full-body scanners are not foolproof. First of all, its all upto the person behind the screen to flag a threat. What if this person is deliberately or mistakenly not going to flag a threat? Then the next thing you know, there is going to be an airliner hijack or crash.
Terrorists have given up the idea of concealing weapons within the terrorist. They use other means of smuggling weapons on board. And these means are clearly out of the purview of these full-body scanners.
And one can give a guarantee of the fact that there will be more violations of a person’s privacy than the arrests of actual terrorists. In such a case, it is imperative that countries do not waste their money and install full-body scanners in their airports and save its people from violations by airport security officials.