After being ordered by a DC circuit court to hold public rulemaking hearings for its Whole Body Imaging scanners more than a year ago, the TSA has finally opened the screening policy for public comment. As of today, the TSA has received more than 600 public comments, and online comments will be accepted through June 24th at 11:59 PM ET — you can file your own comments on the government's Regulations.gov website.
The TSA's full-body scanners have received a critical eye from privacy advocates and the general public; the scanners are said to be an invasion of personal privacy, and ineffective as a security measure to boot. The scanners create images of the front and rear of a person's body, with concealed objects highlighted in black against white skin. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), along with other privacy and civil rights groups, filed a petition with the Department of Homeland Security in 2010, demanding that the TSA conduct "notice-and-comment rulemaking," which it failed to do before deploying the Whole Body Imaging scanners at airports.
"Stop treating our bodies like they are government property."
Many of the comments filed so far highlight security and privacy concerns. "I am completely against the use of AIT," writes Sean Johnson. "It is a violation of my Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches." An anonymous commenter writes that "I fly frequently for work and have been subjected to screenings of various types. I am also a breast cancer survivor and object strongly to the use of advanced imaging technology."
"This practice is invasive, unsafe, and does nothing to increase security," writes another anonymous commenter. "Stop treating our bodies like they are government property."