TSA officer admits that body scanners are only good for seeing you naked

Today, Politico Magazine published a tell-all expose of the TSA by a former officer. The article ridicules airport security, depicting scanners as futile and humiliating. But if you read between the lines, you can learn useful lessons about how to craft and deploy technology that respects privacy and protects us from the worst in human nature. Surveillance technology isn’t evil. It just has to be well-designed. In fact, what we need is more of it, not less.

There’s been less discussion over the TSA’s full body scanners recently, especially since the TSA’s brief but insanely expensive (with YOUR money!) experiment with the “nudie scanners” went away. However, Politico has a fascinating story from a former TSA agent revealing that much of what you suspect about the TSA is true: they were able to see you naked even as the scanners had little actual value. They do target attractive women and have a rather long list of official sounding “code names” for good looking women so they can alert each other to them while appearing professional. On those nudie scanners, he has the story of the guy who taught them how to use it, who was then asked what he thought of the machines.

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