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Travelers file complaints over TSA body scanners

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Jaikumar Vijayan
Business Week
March 9, 2010

Documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) shows complaints have been lodged with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) over the use of whole body scanners at U.S. airports.

More than two dozen complaints were filed by travelers who were subjected to whole body scans over the past year or so, and were included in a document obtained by EPIC as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

The 51 pages of documents show that travelers were often not fully informed about the scans or what the process involved. Some complained about a lack of instructions or signage regarding the scanning machines, while others said they were not informed about a pat down alternative available to those who don’t want to be scanned. Travelers also expressed concern about their privacy being invaded, of feeling humiliated, of radiation risks to pregnant women and of children being subjected to the scans.

The letters belie the TSA’s claims about the disclosure policies related to the use of the technology and of the general level of concern related to its use, said Ginger McCall, staff counsel at EPIC. “The TSA has been reassuring people that travelers will be made aware of what these machines are and of the alternatives that are available,” McCall said. The complaints suggest otherwise and appear to show less support for the technology than the TSA has let on, she said.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 5:40 am





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