March 16, 2011

Effective or not, there's a cost to TSA scanners

Steven Horwitz

Senior Affiliated Scholar

The House Committee for Oversight and Government Reform is holding a hearing today on the effectiveness of the TSA body scanners, but more important than the actual effectiveness of the scanners is how people change their behavior because of the machines.

To the degree that TSA procedures raise the psychic cost of flying, either by increasing the wait time at security or by making people very uncomfortable with see-through scanning or being fondled by a TSA agent, it will induce them to look for alternative methods of travel.

Rather than continuing to spend money and time defending machines that other countries, such as Israel, consider to be ineffective, the TSA should turn to different solutions.

It’s time to dump the scanners and get serious about airport security, protect our privacy, and actually save some lives in the process.