TSA Body Scan of 12-Year-Old Girl Outrages Parents
The parents of a young girl who was subjected to a full body scan by Transportation Security Administration officials have called foul. TSA personnel at Tampa International Airport separated the girl from her traveling party and scanned her body for weapons. The parents have interviewed lawyers and spoken with their pediatrician about the potential harmful effects – physical and emotional – of the scan.
- Body scan lets TSA see everything (and we mean everything)
- TSA screens everyone, regardless of age
- Adult in charge of child was unaware of pat-down option
Raising Concerns over Body Scans of Minors
The TSA started using the scanning units recently as part of ongoing security upgrades post 9/11. The scans immediately sparked controversy because they produce a detailed, graphic image of the person’s body. The ACLU voiced particular concern over an adult viewing such an image of a child. The United Kingdom prohibits scanning persons under 18 years of age. Although parents can elect to have their child searched by hand, the adults in this girl’s party didn’t know this. The TSA’s website on traveling with children states that it will never separate parents from their children. It says nothing about taking full body scans of children.
When you travel by air you will have to give up some privacy rights in the interest of safety. In ordinary circumstances you or your belongings cannot be searched without a warrant or some form of probable cause. This protection applies to a lesser degree to administrative searches, like those at airports or schools.
The scanners have also created some concern over radiation risks. TSA calls the scan safer than using a cell phone. As for any emotional harm that might come from the process, TSA promises to approach your children gently and treat them with respect.
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