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Airport body scanning: will the American public finally accept?


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.

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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.

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Correspondence to Thomas W. Dillon.

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Dillon, T.W., Thomas, D.S. Airport body scanning: will the American public finally accept?. J Transp Secur 8, 1–16 (2015).

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