The Corner

Less Privacy, More Efficiency!

I’m not a big fan of the whole body-scan idea. But it doesn’t terrify me either.

We keep hearing how we have to trade privacy for security. “No we don’t!” says the always helpful ACLU. “Yes we do!” say some security experts. “Maybe we do, maybe we don’t,” say others.

It’s all terribly tedious and it misses a very basic point: We already trade privacy, a lot of privacy, for security. There’s nothing new there. Complete strangers rifle through your personal property everytime you get on a plane. They pat-down your body. Make you take off your shoes and your belt. The body scan would be yet another indignity, but the U.S.S. Indignity set sail a long time ago.

Meanwhile, here’s an idea I’ve heard virtually no one discuss: Trading some additional privacy for some %$#@&*! improved efficiency! 

The ACLU and others have cleverly framed the trade-offs wrong. Anyone who flies regularly will tell you, the hellishness of airline travel is not primarily derived from the outrage of lost privacy, it’s derived from the outrage of inefficient, time-consuming idiocy. I would gladly trade the privacy invasion that would come with those body scanners in Total Recall in exchange for the ability to casually walk into the boarding area.

I suspect I am not alone.

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