Government agencies now store nude pictures of you.
Well, if you travel on the major airlines out of some major airports, they do.
When the Transportation Security Administration began using full-body scanning at select airports — with devices such as the backscatter X-ray machine, which can show every lovely and unlovely fold (if not freckle) on your body — officials rushed to defend their practice of peering at us under our clothing. It was only for our safety. Besides, the images were made only for immediate viewing. They weren’t even stored.
Why, they couldn’t be stored!
We learned this week how wrong that was. The U.S. Marshals Service has been secretly storing thousands and thousands of the images. Furthermore, specifications for some devices even require that they send the images over networks.
Once again, government folk have lied to us.
There’s no evidence that anyone’s been blackmailed based on the images. But you have to think of privacy dangers in the fourth dimension, time. Can we trust people in future governments with our intimate details as unforeseen crises come to the fore? As new personnel gain access to the archives? As tomorrow’s politicians pledge (and routinely break) their oaths of office?
We wear clothing to select who will see us naked. Taking that prerogative away, in the name of security, and giving it to people we do not know?
That’s transparently foolish. And unsafe.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.