A Virtual Strip Search?

The European Union has voted to block the installation of new scanners that allow airport security personnel to see through clothing

7 November 2008

The European Union has voted to block the installation of new scanners in Europe that allow airport security personnel to see through passengers' clothes to detect concealed objects, though their bodies are blurred. The scanners were already being used in several airports around the world. Critics say the scanner is the equivalent of a virtual strip search and could make travelers feel violated. But after the machines were installed in an airport in Amsterdam last year, airport officials said they had few complaints from travelers and that most didn’t mind because security lines moved faster.

How would you feel about having to go through this scanner?


Responses to August's Question

Office Cyberslacking: No Big Deal?

According to a survey of 1024 people published in the June issue of CyberPsychology and Behavior, surfing the Web and checking personal e-mail at work might be more common—and beneficial––than most people think. Time on the Internet can help employees balance job and personal responsibilities; once personal matters are taken care of, they can focus on their work, according to the researchers. Installing filters to block employee access to Web sites and e-mail services could have a negative effect, causing low job satisfaction and decreased productivity.

Do you agree with the results of this study?


No Off Switch

I agree with the survey results. I cannot enter my workplace and switch off my personal issues or responsibilities. We are social beings. Reading personal e-mail doesn’t take long, and once I’ve done it, I feel more focused on my job.

Gustavo Cerda-Villafana
Salamanca, Mexico


It Evens Out

One of the things I love about my job is that I can check personal e-mail and occasionally do personal research at my desk. Officially, the company frowns on it, but I usually leave late every day, so I never shortchange the company on time.

Calen Moerman
Sioux City, Iowa


All Work and No Play

Employees get paid to do their job, not to take care of personal chores. Most people refrain from doing job-related work at home; one works in the office, and then goes home to rest. It’s so easy to take advantage of office hours with personal conversations and e-mail, but not as easy to cheat at home with office matters. The only way handling personal matters could benefit everyone would be if they were dealt with during an official hour-long break during the workday.

Ona Ata


Balancing Work and Home

Productivity and morale are affected positively by allowing the personal use of office computers. The result is that people can interweave personal and work activities. With more people working from home, it becomes vital to permit—and even encourage—multitasking that includes personal activities.

Mike Omaha


Not Enough Time in the Day

I spend almost 12 hours a day working and commuting, so how else would I be able to manage personal matters? One of the primary reasons I left my previous employer for an equivalent job was because newly installed filters prevented me from accessing Web sites that help me keep my life in order and clear my mind for more productive work. At my current job, I have fewer reasons to leave work to take care of personal tasks, and I even voluntarily log in sometimes to work from home.

Alan Chou
San Jose, Calif.


In an Emergency Only

Certainly, employees get paid to work. But if there’s an emergency such as when a family member is ill, some use of the Internet to stay in touch with that person could be reassuring and enable the employee to concentrate on the job.

Dave Waddoup
Knoxville, Tenn.

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