Are Body Scanners the Answer? Readers Respond

Transportation Security Administration

Earlier this month we spoke to Jon Allen, a TSA spokesman, to get the low-down on the controversial full body scanners that will be popping up at airports around the country this year. We presented the facts and then we asked you, real travelers, what you thought about the machines. We heard from hundreds of readers, and while many thought the machines were an invasion of privacy, most people agreed they're worth the discomfort. Here, some comments from both sides:

The AOL Travel team visited Dulles International Airport to find out what travelers really thought of body scanners and the increased airport security.

For Airport Body Scanners:

I believe that the airport body scans offer a logical solution to the embarrassment one might feel to a full pat down.
I am encouraged to know that finally something is being implemented to make travelers safer. I also think that everyone who is in a public environment has the responsibility to guard against an incident by becoming alert to any suspicious activity they may notice and reporting it to airport security or other law authority.

As an American I'm free to make the choice to fly or not, to scan or not.
I don't see a problem with the body scan. I'm certainly not thrilled with being displayed almost naked to a stranger but if it means the difference of flying safe with friends and family, it's a small cost to pay to arrive safely. We don't live in a perfect world. There is no perfect solution. Deal with it.

I welcome the expanded use of body scanners at the nation's airports and hope that we can have foreign airports use them as well.
First and foremost is the safety of the traveling public and if that means we have to give up some privacy rights, so be it. Privacy means nothing if you are blown up at 30,000 feet.

I think they are a great idea as long as they are truly effective.
Those people crying foul because they feel their privacy is being violated are the ones that I would be concerned about. What do they feel they need to hide? After all that has happened with scares related to terrorist activities, people should be grateful that new technologies are being introduced that have our safety in mind. People just need to grow up and stop the whining.

I believe security comes first!
So you don't want to be scanned. The guy behind you has an explosive device and gets past security. The plane goes down. On the autopsy table all investigators can now see you. Are you embarrassed now? I believe security comes first! Plus, a scan is faster. If you're modest, stay home. -Retired Pilot, who still has to go through security in order to fly.

Violation of privacy should not even be an issue for discussion.
It has no merit when compared to the perilous devastation that can be inflicted upon innocent people. This must be a legal requirement for every passenger, crew member, baggage handler and anyone with access to the aircraft (cleaning crew, caterers, and maintenance personnel).

I feel if this needs to be done and helps security on airplanes, then let's do it.
What's the big deal, when your life is at stake while others are trying to kill you?

I think we can cooperate and still be comfortable.
Just as there are Men's rooms and Ladies Rest rooms, I think if the screening is mandatory, it should be viewed by men and female security personnel respectively. I believe it would make women more comfortable to know their privacy is being considered and they are not on display, yet, effectively cooperating to secure our skies.

If it's safe, I don't have a problem.
I wouldn't hesitate at all to be scanned. I think it's a good idea. It sounds safe and fast. I have a joint replacement and sometimes it takes a while to get a woman to search me. If it's safe, I don't have a problem.

I don't fly often, I don't even like flying, but safety is everything.
I do not feel as if the scanners are an invasion of privacy. They are viewed remotely and the face is blurred. I will admit that if the person viewing the scan was within eyesight I would be a little embarrassed but I would still allow it. Why would anyone object to them if they have nothing to hide?

Against Airport Body Scanners:

The government is obsessively trying to counteract prior bombings or bombing attempts.
US Security procedures are a combination of an insult to intelligence and theater of the absurd. Maybe they need a time machine. They should be hiring the best: Israeli experts. Nothing is 100 percent safe but those guys really "get" it.

They're a huge invasion of privacy.
The machines will most likely be operated by the usual bottom-of-the-barrel staff they handle security nowadays. What will they do the next time they foul up? Massive cavity searches?

I understand the idea but really think it is a total disregard of a person's right to privacy.
Why should anyone have a right to view a person in this way? There are so many things already in place and people find a way to get around them. Unfortunately for all of us, this world is coming to things like this. Is there an age limit? I would never want my child viewed like this! Way too far.

This is another expensive farce to placate passengers.

These rules require people to give up privacy and dignity, all in the name of safety.
I feel the airport scanners are a terrible violation of privacy. There are laws in place to protect the dignity of every human being from abuse or harassment, because that is a basic human right of every individual. Now we have a "Big Brother" who is elected making new rules that require people to give up privacy and dignity all in the name of safety! So now, if you want to ride in a plane you are required to have a pat down or be scanned while airport staff and strangers are given extensive and intrusive powers. We are told for now it is not mandatory but we know full well it's one step before they don't give us a choice.

I will not fly unless critical.
Big invasion of privacy. There are already policies and procedures are in place. Everyone needs to do their job effectively.

Clearly a violation of privacy and a knee-jerk reaction to a threat that should have otherwise been stopped.

I would never allow it.
They need to do their security background checks, not body scans. That is such an invasion of personal privacy.

As far as I'm concerned, Al Qaeda has won.
I always tell my nursing students if you are going to complain about something, you had better have at least one alternative to suggest, or you come off as a petty whiner. Frankly, I have none, but I dislike the scanners - and I don't care who sees A but cannot see B - because they invade privacy. Americans who wish to use quick transportation to go great distances must now sacrifice all modesty and privacy.

I am very modest.
This is terrible. I don't undress in front of either my daughters, grand daughters, or my own sisters. I am very concerned also about women from countries who are culturally very modest that they wear scarves and long dresses even veils. This will make travel impossible for them. This is so wrong.

The scanners in no way make me feel secure or safe, just the opposite.
They are not only an invasion of privacy but strips one of their dignity. If they become the preferred method of airport security, many will no longer choose to fly. The response by our country to terrorism has not stopped the terrorists but has instead done the opposite, by treating U.S. citizens as potential terrorists. We are hassled and inconvenienced and subjected to humiliating procedures. Sounds like the terrorists are winning their war without having to do too much.

Note: User comments have been edited for clarity and length.

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