A person checks a body scan image.

A person checks a body scan image.

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. 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

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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3 Comments
mawestpac

Well, just because a child, its OK to enter air-side of terminal without screening. That’s NO, NO. any child 12 years as passenger must go through securit screen regardless parent permission. I beleive, any child over 12 years old understand purpose of screening.
Now these day, pepole over react to protect own privacy. However, going through airport security screening is common understanding of “Standard Security Procedure”.
If child has some special attention, parents must carry documentation and present to TSA at time of showing ID and boarding pass. Now these days.

This is a strip-search, period. It makes no difference that the technology allows it to be done on an industrial scale, it’s a violation of privacy that ultimately has, at best, no effect on safety. At worst, it exposes frequent fliers to elevated doses of x-ray radiation which may cause more deaths by cancer than the terrorists could ever kill with an airplane.

Body-cavities are not revealed, thus making this simply an exercise in power-mongering voyeurism.

You MUST opt-out of these intrusive searches, and maybe be wanded/patted by a same-sex guard. I Opt’ed Out a few months ago, which gave me the opportunity to officially express my displeasure – the smurf wrote down the reason for my opting-out for their official records (it’s a strip-search, I said). I suggest more people do this.

Plus – do you want your kids showing up to Beavis & Butthead in the back room looking like this:

http://www.rupture.co.uk/Terminal%204.html

THIS IS KIDDIE PORN!

Hasn’t anyone noticed that this looks so much like when the Nazis captured the Jews and put them into the camps? They Jews were all naked! That is what scares me. Our names, nationality, addresses, etc. are also attached to these scans. Am I the only one that feels this way?

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