Changes in national security measures taken by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have given rise to a storm of discontent among airline travelers. Seemingly intrusive body scans and enhanced pat downs have caused many to question the lengths that must be taken to ensure safety in the skies.

Last March, the TSA began issuing new machines capable of producing high-quality full-body images, which can detect weapons and other dangerous materials during airport security screenings. According to the TSA, the purpose of the scanners is to help provide a safe traveling experience.

Since the installation of these scanners, people have debated whether they are a necessary precaution or simply invasive. Along with concerns regarding the images there has also been discontent with the way TSA employees have carried out the measures.

While standard procedures are supposed to govern the way employees use the scanners and administer pat downs, reports of misconduct have sprung up.
In 2009, U.S. Marshalls in charge of body scanners at a Florida airport leaked nearly 35,000 images produced by the scanners. While the images did not show anything revealing, the incident did prove that because the photos could be saved and viewed by the public, the system is prone to misuse.

Government teacher Tony Budetti said if the TSA does not respond appropriately to concerns, they will face continued anger from the flying public.
“I just went through security on my way to Tampa and noticed a young child being frisked aggressively,” Budetti said. “I thought common sense had left the building. The system is not working, and poor TSA practice will lead to less cooperation from the public.”

Despite initial resistance, however, a recent Washington-Post-ABC News poll showed 64 percent of Americans support the new scanners. Though half continue to maintain the pat downs go too far. Even so, the TSA maintains the measures are just another step in ensuring public safety.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a recent press release, “Deploying advanced imaging technology at these airports strengthens our ability to protect the traveling public in the face of evolving threats to aviation security.”