This has been a week full of anxiety for airport travelers with the massive descent on the nationâ€™s airports, all accompanied by invasive pat-downs or full body scans. What a choice for travelers to make! Part of the undesirability of the full body scanning is the intrusive nature of the scans, which detail every body part so that security agents can look for any dangerous objects.
A former scientist from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California has offered an easy fix for this option, however. As reported in The Washington Post, Willard â€œBillâ€ Wattenburg, a former nuclear weapons designer said his suggestion to fix the body scan technology was rebuffed by the Bush Administration, but would still work today. The idea? To distort the body in a fun-house mirror way, while still clearly showing the security agent anything potentially dangerous.
Said Wattenburg, â€œWhy not just distort the image into something grotesque so that there isn't anything titillating or exciting about it?â€ This would also make any photos that are kept uninteresting as well (yes, we know, the TSA doesnâ€™t do thatâ€¦despite the systemâ€™s capability). This solution might alleviate at least some of the anxiety on the part of traveling passengers who donâ€™t want the virtual strip search (the body scan).
While a CBS poll showed that 81 percent of Americans supported full body scanners as a deterrent to terrorism, it turns out that they donâ€™t really feel that way when they get to the airport. Wattenburg says his simple fix would take only a few weeks worth of work to adjust the software imagery in the scanners.
The TSA is working on a new line of scanners that shows the equivalent of a â€œgeneric icon, a generic stick figureâ€ instead of a real body, while still identifying dangerous objects the person might be carrying. That technology will not be ready any time soon, however, unlike Wattenburgâ€™s solution, which could be implemented quickly and easily. But is the TSA listening?