Skip to main content

Airport body scanning: will the American public finally accept?

Abstract

The rising concern about security and safety when traveling has been accompanied by an increased concern in the need for privacy. Expectations of privacy center around the right of the individual to determine what information is shared, the right of the individual to know what data is disclosed and collected and the legitimacy of the government to monitor and evaluate a citizen’s activities. This paper examines the legal privacy issues and the attitudes toward body scanning. Through the use of a survey, attitudes of air travelers were evaluated in terms of their responses to issues of body scanning acceptability, saving body scanned images, and protecting modesty of the traveler when scanning body images. Findings show that most of the U.S. population is accepting of full-body scanning when modesty measures are utilized. Though care should be taken when minority populations, both race and religion, are engaged in the full-body scanning process at an airport.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Abeyratne R (2010) Full body scanners at airports–the balance between privacy and state responsibility. J Transp Secur 3(2):73–85

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Alreck PL, Settle RB (1995) The survey research handbook: guidelines and strategies for conducting a survey, 2nd edn. McGraw Hill, New York

    Google Scholar 

  3. Andriessen H, van Gulijk, C, Ale B (2012) Human factors in layers of defense in airport security. 11th International Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management Conference and the Annual European Safety and Reliability Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 25–29 June 2012

  4. Electronic Privacy Information Center (2010a) Petition to NSA to stop use of whole body scanners. http://epic.org/privacy/airtravel/backscatter/petition_042110.pdf

  5. Electronic Privacy Information Center (2010b) Petition to Transportation Security Administration seeking records on radiation and health impacts of scanners, http://epic.org/privacy/body_scanners/Body_Scan_Rad_Appeal.pdf

  6. Frimpong A (2011) Introduction of full body image scanners at the airports: a delicate balance of protecting privacy and ensuring national security. J Transp Secur 4:221–229

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Hofer F, Wetter OE (2012) Operational and human factors issues of new airport security technology-two case studies. J Transp Secur 5:277–291

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Jacobson S, Lee A, Nikolev A (2009) Designing for flexibility in aviation security systems. J Transp Secur 2:1–8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Kane Robin, Kair Lee (2011) Testimony at “TSA Oversight Part 1: Whole Body Imaging” hearing of the National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives; p. 2–4

  10. Lee A, Nikolev A, Jacobson S (2008) Protecting air transportation: a survey of operations research applications to aviation security. J Transp Secur 1:160–184

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Lord S, Nunes-Vaz R, Filinkov A, Crane G (2010) Airport front-of-house vulnerabilities and mitigation options. J Transp Secur 3:149–177

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Mitchener-Nissen T, Bowers K, Chetty K (2012) Public attitudes to airport security: the case of whole body scanners. Secur J 25:229–243

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Redfern v. Napolitano (2013), 727 F. 3d 77

  14. Rosen Jeffrey (2010) “The TSA is invasive, annoying-and unconstitutional ” Washington Post, Nov. 28, p. 6 of printout)

  15. Rotenberg Marc (2010) “An Assessment of Checkpoint Security: Are Our Airports Keeping Passengers Safe?” Testimony on airport security before the House Committee on Homeland Security. http://homeland.house.gov/Hearings/index.asp?ID=242

  16. Stewart MG, Mueller J (2014) Cost-benefit analysis of airport security: are airports too safe? J Air Transp Manag 35:19–28

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Straub DW (1989) Validating instruments in MIS research. MIS Q 13(2):147–166

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Udall Sen Tom (2011) Letter to colleagues on FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act. http://tomudall.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=762

  19. van Boekhold J, Faghri A, Li M (2014) Evaluating the security screening checkpoints for domestic flights using a general microscopic simulation model. J Transp Secur 7:45–67

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Veisten V, Flugel S, Bjornskau T (2011) Public’s trade-off between a new risk-based airport screening and asserted terror risk impact: a stated choice survey from Norway. J Transp Tech 1:11–20

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This research was partially founded by the Ken & Amy Kiser Family Endowment for Faculty Support in the College of Business at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Thomas W. Dillon.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dillon, T.W., Thomas, D.S. Airport body scanning: will the American public finally accept?. J Transp Secur 8, 1–16 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12198-014-0151-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Airport
  • Body scanning
  • 4th amendment
  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Religion
  • Transportation
  • Saved images
  • Protecting modesty