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Chaffetz Wants to Protect His Family’s Privacy

January 16, 2010

An interesting piece penned in this week’s “My Turn” in Newsweek, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) argues against full body scans.  Repeatedly citing concern for his family’s privacy, he feels that whole-body-imaging (WBI) scanners are too invasive.

I don’t want to let the government, or anyone else, peer through my family’s clothing before we board a flight. None of us should have to.

WBI Scanner, Courtesy of Newsweek

Before I get to the actual issue of WBI scanners, I have to point out that this Congressman–who wants the House of Representatives to overturn DC’s marriage equality–values his family’s right to privacy, but does not believe that families lead by a same sex couple deserves rights and privacy.  Also, I bet he doesn’t believe in a constitutional right to privacy.

On the actual issue of WBI scanners, I really just find this pretty ridiculous–and bizarre coming from the right.  His concern rings rather childish too me:

But if we could all see the full-size images that TSA screeners see, many would think twice about surrendering privacy. The images leave little to the imagination, exposing passengers’ bodies in sufficient detail for screeners to count the change in our pockets and see beads of sweat on our backs—not to mention intimate, gender-specific details.

Does he imagine TSA agents sitting and giggling at genitalia?  Probably after the first hour of seeing the silhouettes of the human body the novelty will wear off.  And if it doesn’t?  Worst case scenario, some immature TSA agent is giggling at you.  You support extending parts of the Patriot Act, but WBI are invasive?

Ok, so he has a position–what’s his alternative?

In the wake of the failed attack, some say we have to choose between security and civil liberties. We don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Promising new technologies may provide the tools we need. For example, Dutch officials recently announced they would employ WBI scanners that use new software that protects passenger privacy by producing a cartoonlike image of the body.

Well cartoonish images are certainly the more mature option here.

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