Been to the airport lately? Have you experienced a full-body scanner, the latest tool in the anti-terrorist arsenal? You step into a booth and, in the twinkling of a leering eye, you’re rendered naked as the day you were born. Officials assure us that “essential” parts of the anatomy will be modestly covered from the professional looker’s discerning glance, but because the last wanna-be bomber hid explosives in his underwear, that seems doubtful. The purpose of the full-body scanner, we’re told, is precisely that: to get a head-to-toe glimpse beneath people’s clothing without the time-consuming, litigation-prone hassle of a strip search.
What bothers people the most about this process? The idea that some stranger will see naked bits of our flesh? That the veil of privacy we desperately want to hold onto is literally stripped away? That we have no choice in the matter (if we want to fly, we have to subject ourselves to this invasive machine)?
All of us, even the most gregarious and...
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