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Proceedings Paper

An ethics of body scanners: requirements and future challenges from an ethical point of view
Author(s): Benjamin Rampp; Andreas F. X. Wolkenstein; Regina Ammicht Quinn
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Paper Abstract

At the moment, body scanners based on terahertz and millimeter-wave technologies are implemented at airports around the world. Thus, challenges of acceptance and acceptability become pressing. In this context, we present the results of an ethical research project on the development and implementation of body scanners. We will show which requirements concerning the system, its developers, and its users should be met in order that the scanners can be acceptable from an ethical point of view. These requirements involve, among others, questions of privacy, health, data protection, and security processes. A special ethical challenge for body scanners, however, still remains: Automatic anonymization processes are based on the assumption of "normal" bodies. Certain groups of persons with "deviant bodies" (e.g. persons with hidden disabilities, persons with aberrant sex characteristics, etc.) are affected in a special way: Their deviation from the standard (for instance their disability) is socially hidden, but eventually exposed by body scanners, even (and even more) if the produced pictures are anonymized. Here, we address the question how the possible discrimination against and exclusion of people with "deviant bodies" could be mitigated or prevented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 May 2011
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 8022, Passive Millimeter-Wave Imaging Technology XIV, 80220Q (26 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.883249
Show Author Affiliations
Benjamin Rampp, Tübingen Univ. (Germany)
Andreas F. X. Wolkenstein, Tübingen Univ. (Germany)
Regina Ammicht Quinn, Tübingen Univ. (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8022:
Passive Millimeter-Wave Imaging Technology XIV
David A. Wikner; Arttu R. Luukanen, Editor(s)

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