Personal privacy loses to passenger safety

Airports instigate strict security regimens over Thanksgiving weekend

By Dahlia Belinsky

Airport security in the United States has people concerned with their privacy, as many flyers will be forced to undergo full body scans or highly invasive pat downs.

People traveling in the US who have set off metal detectors will be asked to enter the full body scanner, which can see through people’s clothing. If travelers refuse the scanner, they will be required to submit themselves for a pat down, reported CNN.

“It’s one thing to have to go through a metal detector. It’s another thing to have to basically submit to an almost-naked picture of yourself,” Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor, said to CNN.

According to a news poll, CBS revealed that, despite complaints, four out of five Americans support the full body x-rays. There are already 400 body-scanning machines installed in 69 airports over the United States.

However, the people receiving pat downs must undergo an invasive hand search, which includes a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer touching the genital region and breasts of the passenger.

“I’m bothered by the level of these pat-downs. I wouldn’t want my wife to be touched in the way that these folks are being touched,” Republican Senator George LeMieux said, according to the BBC. “I think that we have to be focused on safety, but there’s a balance.”

The new security measures have been put in place to stop any non-metallic threats such as weapons and explosives from boarding the plane with the passengers Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said.

“I recognize the invasiveness of [the pat-downs]. I also recognize that the threat is real. The stakes are high, and we must prevail,” John Pistole, TSA chief, said to the BBC.

The enhanced security was brought upon due to the failed bombing of a flight when a man hid explosives in his underwear last December as well as the explosives found in an air cargo from Yemen.

While there are many complaints about the pat-downs, most travelers will not be victim to the controversial measures being taken.

The TSA screens nearly two million passengers daily and few passengers are required to receive a pat-down, according to the TSA blog.

The issue has gotten a lot of attention due to a video of a traveler, John Tyner, refusing to have his groin patted down at an airport in San Diego that has gone viral. “If you touch my junk I am going to have you arrested,” Tyner said to the TSA officer in the video. The video has been posted on YouTube and already has over 800,000 views.

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