Security and privacy are coming increasingly into conflict, but security, no surprise, is winning. Witness the new body scanners that are being installed on the Los Angeles’ subway, the first such installation in the U.S
In Homeland Security reports that “The machines scan for metallic and non-metallic objects on a person’s body, can detect suspicious items from 30 feet (9 meters) away and have the capability of scanning more than 2,000 passengers per hour.”
“We’re dealing with persistent threats to our transportation systems in our country,” said Transportation Security Administration Administrator David Pekoske. “Our job is to ensure security in the transportation systems so that a terrorist incident does not happen on our watch.”
The scanners will be looking for explosive vests or, say, assault rifles. “We’re not necessarily looking for smaller weapons that don’t have the ability to inflict mass casualties,” says an LA subways spokesman.
“Signs will be posted at stations warning passengers they are subject to body scanner screening. The screening process is voluntary, but customers who choose not to be screened won’t be able to ride on the subway.”
Security can mean surrendering privacy on the subway, but, as we parroted in school, safety comes first.