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TSA Scanners Are "Strip Searches"

Our society has an expectation of privacy, especially of our bodies. This is why we wear clothing in public, why we break laws when we expose our bodies without clothing, and why TV stations are subjected to large fines for displaying nude bodies.  Our teachers do not teach in the nude, our government does not make a government job contingent on working without clothes, and we have voyeurism laws against strangers viewing one naked without one’s permission. 

Furthermore, we teach our children to “not let strangers touch you” from an early age.  Also, we do not share nude pictures of our children with strangers. There are laws against unwanted touching by strangers, especially touching of a sexual nature.  Again, there is a well-established custom and expectation of privacy for ourselves and especially for our children.

Meanwhile, the TSA has tried to make strip search scanners a mandatory tool of airport screenings. The strip search scanners completely violate our expectations of privacy and customs and are applied to travelers who are not under arrest or even under the remotest suspicion.  The TSA website describes the strip search scanners ( ) as “..advanced imaging technology..screens passengers..for..threats..concealed under a passengers’ clothing.” The TSA clearly is performing a search after removing your clothing, and in fact, they are “..highly confident in its detection capability.” 

Let there be no doubt about the intrusiveness of the strip search.

The intrusive strip searches used by the TSA are not even allowed for police. The police may perform strip searches on prisoners, or in certain circumstances on people under arrest. There is some debate, even within the courts, on what offenses and in what conditions police may strip search people under arrest. For example, people under arrest for jaywalking, failure to pay a parking ticket, and other misdemeanors may not necessarily be strip searched.  One would think that a non-law enforcement agency could not use methods,  which are prohibited to police, on people who are not under arrest.

Although actual high-resolution photos have not been released, a sample low-resolution photograph is shown above from the EPIC vs DHS lawsuit discovery (