Lawmakers in New Jersey Attempt to Ban Full Body Scanners

by Libby Zay 
Posted Nov 15th 2010 06:06 PMUpdated Nov 15th 2010 06:14 PM

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A group of lawmakers in New Jersey is moving to end the use of full body scanners currently at use in Newark Liberty International Airport. Associated Press is reporting a resolution was announced on Monday seeking prohibition of the controversial screening procedure. The group represented both political parties as well as both houses of the legislature.

"Enough is enough," Republican State Senator Michael J. Doherty told Newark's Star-Ledger. "We believe there are constitutional violations taking place. We believe there are violations of New Jersey state law taking place."

Newark began operating the airport's first full body scanners last month. The machine takes a digital snapshot of a person's body that follows the contours of the body, allowing airport security screeners to check for weapons and other prohibited items. There are currently over 300 machines in use at other airports across the country.

Critics of the body scanners say they are ineffective, invasive and pose health risks. The Star-Ledger reported Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the American Civil Liberty Union of New Jersey, equated the scanners to a "virtual strip-search," adding they had questionable effectiveness.


Over the weekend, a cell phone video was posted on YouTube by a man who first refused a body scan screening and then objected to a body scan as an alternative at San Diego International Airport. The video, taken by John Tyner, 31, has already garnered nearly 250,000 views and almost 5,000 comments on the author's personal blog.

Another man, Brian Sodegren, has asked fellow travelers to come together in a potential revolt against the Transportation Security Administration, dubbed "National Opt-Out Day." Sodegren is urging anyone flying on November 24th-the day before Thanksgiving and one of the busiest travel days of the year-to opt out of body scanners at airport and instead subject themselves to body pat downs in full view of other travelers.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has strictly defended the security policies and procedures, asking that the public be patient and insisting each step is an important part of a layered security approach.

Photo: Transportation Security Administration

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