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Centretown News Online
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Safety should trump privacy concerns in air travel
Friday, 08 February 2013
By Kyra Springer
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Security organizations are challenged with figuring out the best way to keep people safe when they travel. Often, the methods employed are considered an invasion of privacy.

This is the case with the so-called “naked” full body scanners in airports. These scanners produce a three-dimensional outline of a person’s naked body.

The American Transportation Security Administration will be removing the scanners by June.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority said in January that it is considering removing the scanners from Canada, but has set no timeline.

The scanners only came to Canada in 2009 and only certain passengers singled out before a flight have to go through them. In Canada, passengers asked to go through the scanner can opt instead for a physical search.

Regardless of the effectiveness of these machines, the issue is that they are being removed solely for privacy reasons, according to the TSA.

While people do have a right to privacy, flying is a privilege and privacy has to be compromised for national security.

Fourth-year Manhattanville College student Jessica Kehoe travels back and forth between her school in New York and her home in Ottawa and she says she is comfortable with the precautions in airports, including the full-body scanners — devices she's walked through many times when leaving the United States.

“I don’t think it’s an invasion of privacy because the images are for the enhanced safety of the other passengers, pilots and flight attendants,” she says.

“I honestly feel safer when I see the body scanners because it’s just an extra measure that can be used so 9/11 tragedies don’t

happen again.”

It is important to protect people when they fly. Once on the plane, emergency procedures to protect people become difficult to implement if someone is able to smuggle something dangerous inside.

Kehoe says security officers give the option between a physical search or the body

scanner machine.

“In all the times I have flown, I have never seen someone deny or put up a fuss over the body scanner,” says Kehoe.

“I feel that people who fly understand the risks and obviously from past events know how important safety is, not only to themselves, but to others.”

Air travel, because of the requisite safety precautions, can be a hassle and some people may find the rules and safety methods

overly cautious.

But if security protocols begin relaxing safety measures in the interest of privacy or comfort, the risk of an emergency increases.

The security measures are meant to protect people, not simply hassle them or make them feel uncomfortable.

People who fly will have to understand that the practices are not there without reason and should not be removed unless they are causing more harm than benefits.

Last Updated ( Friday, 22 February 2013 )
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