TSA screeners will soon get an eyeful at NYC airports. According to the Post, full-body imaging scanners are coming to JFK and La Guardia in "the coming months." The virtual strip searches use X-rays or electromagnetic waves to detect weapons on 3-D images of passengers' naked bodies. The TSA began rolling out the machines at airports nationwide after the failed Christmas underwear bomber. They're currently in use at 133 airports, with plans to install about 1,000 by the end of next year, to the tune of $80 million. But besides the privacy violation, critics wonder if they're even effective.
In October, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said the TSA was deploying the machines without fully testing them, and in March the office said it "remains unclear" whether they would have detected the explosives Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had sewn into his undies on Christmas, USA Today reports. There are also questions about the potential health impact of the scanners. Even worse, frequent flier Phil Bush of Atlanta says, "The system takes three to five times as long as walking through a metal detector."
The TSA says that fliers can opt out of the scanner and choose a pat-down instead, and authorities promise the images will be deleted after being viewed, and not printed out on a Wall of Fame in the break room. Still, some fliers remain concerned. At JFK yesterday, Kira Ladel of Brooklyn told the Post, "It's a computer—nothing is deleted. Before you know it, we'll all have chips in us. But as long as I get to my destination safely, I'm fine." That's the spirit!