Full Body Scanners in Airports, Speech Example

The following is a brief sketch of a straightforward narrative about FBSs. Contained within are several of the components you mentioned in the instructions for your order, used in context to demonstrate how they could be used. Following that information are bullet-points for the same information, presented in smaller pieces so that you can decide how and where to place them in your speech. I see from the file that you uploaded that you are primarily taking a “pro” position in terms of the pros and cons of FBSs so I presented an alternative viewpoint to contrast with the information you presented.

Has anyone here flown on an airplane recently? Have you noticed that airport security seems to get worse by the day? It can take hours to get through security lines, and in many airports passengers must either pass through full-body scanners or submit to pat-downs that can amount to little more than groping from a TSA agent. While the government has tried to assure the American public that full-body scanners are safe and that they do not invade people’s privacy, there is a growing mountain of evidence to the contrary.

One of the greatest concerns that people have about full-body scanners is the fact that they produce images that are, basically, nude pictures of the people being scanned. The images are not nearly as clear as a regular photograph of a nude person, but they are much clearer than many people might realize. When body scanners were first installed in American airports, the TSA said that they were designed to detect non-metal objects, such as explosives or plastic weapons, hidden under people’s clothes. Someone hearing that description might think that the body of the person being scanned would not be clearly visible, but that is not the case.

The TSA also announced that the scanners were not capable of storing or transmitting images, but that is also not true. This lie was exposed a few years ago when a series of body-scan images were posted on the Internet. In the wake of that scandal the TSA pledged that the scanners would never be used in such a manner, but how is anyone to know if every agent will stick to that pledge? What if a celebrity was passing through a scanner? There might be a strong incentive for an agent to keep an image of the scan because it might be worth a lot of money. Or an agent might simply find a particular passenger attractive, and that agent can see that passenger –or any –passenger- completely nude!

Another problem with body scanners that people might be less aware of, but that is potentially far more problematic, is the amount of radiation a passenger is exposed to during a scan. Some studies have shown that body scanners may produce up to 20 times more radiation than initial reports indicated, and some doctors have warned that repeated exposure for people who fly frequently may put them at greater risk for skin cancer.

The worst part of all of this is that it may actually be easy for terrorists to beat the scanners. Scientists who have studied the technology have explained numerous ways that dangerous items can be wrapped in certain materials or worn in certain positions that make them invisible to the scanners. If scanners can be used to keep nude images of unsuspecting travelers, place people at risk for cancers, and don’t even stop terrorists from carrying dangerous items onto airplanes, then what good are they?


Rhetorical questions (presumably to engage the audience’s interest, not to elicit actual responses):

  1. Has anyone here flown recently?
  2. Does airport security seem to be getting worse, and more difficult to get through?
  3. Can anyone recall what airport security used to be like before the 9/11 attacks?

“shocking” information:

Numbers one through four retrieved from:

Watson, Paul Joseph. TSA groping out of control.  8 November 2010. http://www.prisonplanet.com/tsa-groping-out-of-control.html

  1. The TSA first announced that FBSs were actually incapable of storing or transmitting images of screened passengers. This turned out to be completely untrue, as FBSs are designed to perform both actions.
  2. Former head of the Homeland Security Department went on to work for a company that manufactures FBSs, thereby profiting from their use
  3. A TSA supervisor in Miami was attacked and beaten by a TSA agent after the supervisor saw the agent being scanned and then joked about the size of the agent’s “manhood”
  4. Quote from the Prison Planet website:

Despite assurances from the TSA that the scanners do not show the shape of genitalia, sample images from their own website clearly display the outline of the penis. In addition, after nearly a year of authorities lying in claiming that the technology used in airports did not allow the naked images to be saved or transmitted, it emerged that police agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service, who were using the same systems, were storing naked body scanner images. The TSA’s own documents also confirmed that the machines must “allow exporting of image data in real time” and provide a mechanism for “high-speed transfer of image data over the network.”

  1. Jo Margetson, a security agent at London’s Heathrow Airport, sued fellow agent John Laker after he improperly scanned her when she entered a full body scanner. Laker stored the image –an act that scanner manufacturers initially said was impossible- and was then heard to say “I love those gigantic t***s!”

Anonymous. Jo Margetson to sue over ‘naked scanner ogling.’ 6 April 2010. http://www.australianfrequentflyer.com.au/community/travel-news/jo-margetson-sue-over-naked-22529.html

  1. There have been studies that indicate that the amount of radiation that manufacturers claim is used by FBSs is wildly under-reported, and that repeated exposure for frequent flyers could lead to skin cancer. In November of 2011 officials from the European Union banned the use of FBSs pending the outcome of further studies.

Watson, Leon. Airport scanners that ‘strip’ passengers naked are banned over fears they cause cancer. 17 November 2011. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2062608/Naked-airport-scanners-banned-fears-cause-cancer.html

These are just some of the thousands of reports of full-body-scanner abuse at airports around the world as well as the potential dangers they present. Hopefully you will be able to incorporate some or all of this information into your speech. From what I read, it was well-planned and well-constructed, but I agree that it could be “personalized” a bit more. Using the type of information I provided might provoke a greater emotional response in your readers.