TSA Airport Security
Privacy is one of the key ethical concerns posed by use of x-ray scanners for the purpose of security in airports. As much as they offer paramount exposure of illegal items such as bomb making material, weapons and drugs, they also tend to be inappropriate because they expose people’s nakedness. Privacy is one of the human rights listed inherent to all citizens in the united states and the united kingdom hence a problem since no one can skip searches especially after the terrorist attacks in 2001. Since the machines are hand operated, they allow the government employees assigned to them a view of naked bodies which include private matters such as prosthetics such as breast and testicles implants. Failure to comply, the same employees are mandated to haul one to jail.
The transport security administrations could look for a better and more viable solution that does not expose people and violate their right to privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) advocates for the “Puffer”. This is a machine with the ability of detecting chemical particles that might be embedded on an individual’s body. This machine is also able to evaluate whether or not any chemical particles present on a person’s body are harmful. It works by simply blowing puffs of air that is chemically sensitive around the individual (Bragdon, 2008). Though expensive in terms of purchase and maintenance, it does not violate human rights like that of privacy and gets the job done. This could be considered a no touch pat down. This is a technology that had been tried before by the TSA but abandoned since it proved to be expensive. However, the government should consider the violation of ethical matters which should be first hand as compared to expenditure.
Ethical principles should apply in these matters as much as financial implications. Respect for people’s rights and dignity should be observed regardless of the need to observe security (American Psychology Association). The less revealing technology should be used since the dignity of all individuals should be accorded with respect. Individuals have the right to confidentiality, privacy, and dignity which is opposite of what the x-ray scanners offer.
Technologies such as Millimeter wave technology transmits rays to an individual which bounce back creating a detailed image of the body (Guerrier, 2016). Since these machines are operated by humans, they prey on the dignity of passengers who feel like someone is watching them while they are naked (Seidenstat & Splane, 2009). There have been few cases of the data gathered being used by security personnel for pornography purposes. This is an outright violation of the ethical principle that governs human dignity.
A thorough pat down could also be used instead of the invasive scanners. This would be conducted by same sex security personnel such that women handle women and men handle men (Tiroshi & Birnhack, 2013). This would reduce the cases of complaints of violation of rights since some passengers complain of inappropriate pat-downs. The government should also put in place a rule that prohibits indecency on the side of security personnel (Kleinig et.al, 2011). Such includes penalties in case passengers complain too much about a particular security personnel. The issue of privacy and protecting the dignity of passengers has been much ignored by the TSA who are more focused on security than human rights. It is therefore in order for the TSA to consider using different methods which make passengers less uncomfortable.
American Psychological Association. Ethical Principles of psychologists and Code of Conduct. Retrieved from; http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/
Bragdon, C. R. (2008). Transportation security. Amsterdam: BH/Elsevier.
Guerrier, C. (2016). Security and privacy in the digital era.
Tiroshi Y. & Birnhack M. (2013) Naked in front of the Machine: Does Airport Scanning Violate Privacy? Retrieved from; http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/students/groups/oslj/files/2013/12/18-Tirosh-Birnhack.pdf
The Christian Science Monitor. (2009) Airport Security: Two Alternatives to Full-body Scanners. Retrieved from: https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2009/1231/Airport-security-two-alternatives-to-full-body-scanners
Klitou, D. (n.d.). Privacy-Invading Technologies and Privacy by Design [recurso electrónico]: Safeguarding Privacy, Liberty and Security in the 21st Century.
Kleinig, J., Mameli, P., Miller, S., Salane, D., & Schwartz, A. (2011). Security and privacy: Global standards for ethical identity management in contemporary liberal democratic states. Acton, A.C.T: ANU E Press.
Seidenstat, P., & Splane, F. X. (2009). Protecting airline passengers in the age of terrorism. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger Security International.