Jill Rachel Jacobs

Undressed by Rapiscan Secure 1000

His penetrating brown eyes followed me as I made my way down the corridor.

The unrelenting, unbridled glare of a man on a mission aroused a myriad of emotions, as I in turn offered an aloof, but yet alluring glance. Subtlety was not his specialty as he continued to pursue me with a ruthless passion reserved for only that special one. But as fate would have it, the inevitability of our parting soon became apparent. I then exited and boarded my flight.

No, this isn't an excerpt from my latest romance novel, but rather, an excerpt from my latest airport security check-in.

Like it or not, flying the not-so-friendly skies is a whole new ball game with the rules ever changing. No one, least of all me, minds the extra time and scrutiny travelers must endure in order to ensure safety. Long lines, random checks, frisks, strip searches, formerly synonymous with only bachelor parties and police departments, have all become an accepted part of a trip to the airport.

Backed financially by the Federal Aviation Administration, the newest development in aviation security currently under consideration is the holographic imaging radar scanner that generates a 360-degree image of the human form.

In layperson's terms, you're kind of, well, for lack of better term, naked. I'm not speaking metaphorically, but rather, as in "a jaybird." More simply, if airport security personnel start singing "Happy Birthday" and hitting on you, and you're quite certain it's not your birthday, perhaps the confusion stems from the fact you are indeed wearing that drafty suit you were born in.

The scanning machine that has been under development and consideration since the '90s that could revolutionize airport security is better known as "The Rapiscan Secure 1000," and is currently being tested at Florida's Orlando International Airport. But according to Barry Steinhardt, ACLU associate director, "This body-scan technology is nothing more than an electronic strip search. This technology brings an extraordinary potential for abuse."

Those dedicated to the preservation of civil liberties have also expressed concern about the development of scanning machines that emit low levels of radiation and leave nothing to the imagination, while others readily accept the advent of high tech voyeurs as part of the inevitable outcome in the war against terror, bringing new meaning to the old adage, "Is that a gun in your pocket, or is that just your kidney?"

Is it me? Perhaps I'm just shy and prefer those moments of nakedness be reserved for those more-familiar people in my life -- significant others, doctors.

It's also entirely possible that I've been a bit hasty and quick to criticize this newest attempt to provide better security at our airports and have overlooked the obvious secondary benefits that could result from "tell-all" scanning machines at airports.

For those estimated 44 million Americans struggling without health insurance, the invention of the see-through scanner couldn't come soon enough, as passengers will now be able to successfully be screened for explosives while getting a quick scan of their internal organs. Not only is this cost efficient, but also time efficient.

Let's face it, long airport delays are nothing compared to a visit to a doctor's office. My last doctor's appointment lasted almost as long as the recent, never-ending Academy Awards telecast and was almost as costly.

Historically, airport security check-in personnel haven't enjoyed a job of prestige, as employees have endured low pay, inadequate training and jobs that rendered many easily distracted. Interestingly, many Americans, mostly men, are now considering a complete career change, even during these tempestuous economic times. Some are even offering to volunteer to perform the necessary scanning and airport frisks free of charge.

The advent of a see-through scanning system should certainly serve to lessen the recent surge in complaints by passengers, mostly women, who report being sexually harassed and groped by male airport security personnel. Until then, measures are being taken to train workers in how to successfully grope and frisk passengers, without the liability.

Will see-through scanning machines serve to correct the egregious problems of airport security and result in safer, friendlier skies? Or will these transparent high tech voyeurs of the future result in further loss of civil liberties? Search me.

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