Monday, December 20, 2010

Austin Commission Opposes Airport Body Scanners

I am sure that many of you who do not already travel regularly for business are taking to the skies for holiday travel during this time of year. If so, perhaps you already have seen the full-body scanners that have been installed in some airports around the country. Finally, you have the opportunity to see an image of yourself in somewhat of a jumping jack pose as your body is scrutinized for dangerous objects. If you are a resident of Austin and are planning to use the airport of this great city, though, you should know there is an effort to prevent such visuals from ever taking place.

The Austin Airport Advisory Commission unanimously passed a resolution last week opposing the installation of full-body scanners at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. These scanners, already in place at around 70 airports around the country, are scheduled to make an appearance in Austin next year. The Commission is urging the City Council to oppose this new security measure, on the grounds that the practice is questionable in its constitutionality, is overly invasive, and has already been the cause of great embarrassment for travelers in other cities.

While the Austin City Council does not have direct control over decisions that are in the hands of the federal government, its members can appeal to Congressional representatives and share the concerns of local residents.

I am certain that the body scanners will be put up against the Constitution and its legality ultimately determined in our courts. For now, their presence is a fact of life for many who travel by air.

For those of you who have encountered one of these machines, what was your experience like? Whether or not you have flown recently, what are your thoughts on the new security measures being implemented by the Transportation Security Administration?

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