Some folks might have no problem having their privacy violated to fly on a plane, but how about a child? Do you know who the TSA agent is viewing those partly-nude images of your child? What if you are not even there with your child?
Recently a 12 year old girl was put through the scanner without her parents consent at Tampa International Airport (the same location where I avoided the scanners). As the girl describes, going into the body scanner happened quickly and she was not aware what the machine was.
The girl was traveling with her friend and her friend’s parents back to her home in Baltimore.Â The St. Petersburg Times was able to get a phone interview with the 12-year old passenger about her experience:
“Okay, I was coming home to Baltimore, Md., from Siesta Key, Fla., and I was with my friend and her parents and I was going to this airport security check.
I put my bag through, and they pulled me aside and told me to go over here. I thought it was some high-tech scan and I walked right through it and this lady said ‘”Hold on, you can’t just walk through this thing. Put your feet on the yellow footsteps and make a triangle above your head.” I guess it was so they could see my whole body.
I heard a beep and she said, ‘Okay you can leave.’
I heard one of the guards say ‘affirmative on the female,’ and I knew they were talking about me. And that made me worried.
I couldn’t see my friend and her dad, and I was really worried that I was separated from them. I was trying to look happy when I saw them but inside I was really scared.”
I think the parents might be overreacting a bit, they took their daughter to a doctor to have her checked out, but I think there are some important things to consider with this instance. I am more concerned with someone’s child being scanned against their will, since the child does not know what is going on with the body scanners. Heck, most adults don’t know what is going on with the body scanners, but at least they are old enough to be aware of what the body scanners are.
“Our daughter was scared and didn’t understand what was happening,” said Michelle Nemphos, the mother of the girl. “In essence they conducted a strip search on a 12-year-old girl without her parents present to advocate for her.”
Yes, there are little signs showing what the body scanner does, but is that enough? The images it shows are small and passengers do not understand these machines are optional. Even if you think body scanners are a good idea, do you think children should be scanned as well?
Thanks Sam for pointing out this story!Image: Mirror.co.uk