Airport Body Scanners will Store Biometrics

TSA and Homeland Security authorities may be preparing a body scanner bait and switch, by proposing new devices that advocates claim do not see under clothing and do not emit dangerous radiation, yet do store a biometric record of the person using them which would grease the skids for authorities to track individuals in real time.

A video demonstration of the new body scanner proposes that it be used not just in airports, but also banks and retail establishments, apartment blocks and other transport hubs. How long before we’re forced to submit to a body scan to go shopping, cash a check, catch a bus, or simply to enter our own home? This will be the first step towards a truly frightening Minority Report-style electronic prison.

As we reported earlier today, following a nationwide revolt against naked body scanners and new invasive TSA groping procedures, DHS chief Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John Pistole have been forced to meet today with executives from major travel associations who are spearheading the resistance.

Part of the negotiations could revolve around the TSA ad

Introducing biometric scanners will only entrench the notion of Americans being guilty until proven innocent. Indeed, Iscon brags that it has already introduced such devices into U.S. prisons. Furthermore, allied with cutting edge satellite and other surveillance technology, once the government has the biometric blueprint for your whole body it greases the skids for the ultimate Orwellian nightmare, real time tracking of an individual person around the clock.

The fact that such scanners are eventually intended to be used to control access to shopping malls, banks, transport hubs and even apartment blocks, as the makers admit, paves the way for a gargantuan Minority Report-style total surveillance grid.

At the very least this will create a whole new treasure trove of detailed personal information which is completely open to abuse. Unlike mere facial recognition, which can be combated through altering one’s appearance or wearing a disguise, a full body biometric blueprint will allow the authorities to identify you in any situation. You might as well have a microchip implanted in your forehead.

Adopting a new variant of body scanner that is equipped with optional biometric technologies and identity verification techniques, according to Iscon, the company behind the new 1000D whole body scanner. Its makers claim that the device doesn’t fire harmful radiation at the user and that the machine does not display details of naked bodies. However, since both these claims were also made by the TSA and later proven to be completely fraudulent, they should be taken with a hefty pinch of salt.

The new device uses thermo-conductive infrared technology that completes a 360°scan of the human body in 30 seconds, capturing every facet of biometric data. Although the video demonstration claims that the device “does not create any privacy issues,” the fact that the government will have the blanket power to use technology designed to catch criminals on the general public is an obvious violation of privacy.

Even if the immediate health and privacy risks of current airport body scanners are neutralized, allowing the federal government to keep an indefinite record of the biometric identify of your entire body if anything presents a greater threat to liberty than the current body scanner set up. As the scandal surrounding the U.S. Marshals Service, who were forced to admit that they were saving naked body scanner images earlier this year, goes to show, information is being illegally stored despite the assurances of authorities.

The Iscon system represents a one-stop biometric data collection technology that may soon be used in airports, courthouses, and eventually at the local mall and sports arena, depending on the severity of the next terror scare.

The government has a keen interest in collecting and compiling biometric data on citizens. The FBI announced a $1 billion effort to build the world’s largest computer database of peoples’ physical characteristics, a project that would give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad, the Washington Post reported in December of 2007.

The Department of Homeland Security has collected biometrics for years, including the use of iris scans at certain airports under the guise of identity verification of travelers who have passed background checks and want to move through lines quickly. “The department is also looking to apply iris- and face-recognition techniques to other programs,” the Post added.

Napolitano and Pistole may be preparing to present biometric body scanners as the “solution” to the nationwide outrage over TSA groping and naked body scanners, but such a system will only arm Big Sis with yet more power and more information with which to catalogue, track and trace American citizens.


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