There is absolutely nothing wrong with full-body scanners. In fact, the more we innovate and introduce new security technologies, the more we can stay one step ahead of terrorists.
But there are major problems with the way the Department of Homeland Security, through the Transportation Security Administration, is handling security at airports.
Requiring more and more passengers to choose (a) a full-body scan or (b) an aggressive pat-down as part of routine screening (also called primary inspection) sends a message that everyone is a terrorist risk when, in fact, almost everyone is an innocent traveler.
Many Americans have legitimate (and some not-so-legitimate) concerns about full-body scans. As such, robust deployment of full-body scans inevitably has led to more opt-outs, which means more folks are choosing pat-downs. Let’s be honest, these pat-downs could make the least modest among us blush. It can’t be very comfortable for the poor TSA officer either.
This is a big reason that the TSA now finds itself in a public relations nightmare. Homeland security should not be the stuff of Saturday Night Live. “Don’t Touch My Junk” should not be a national catchphrase. So why is the government making flying more and more … icky?