If you are a person with piercings below the neck, you may want to give some thought to just how public or private those piercings really are to you. Does your family know about your piercings? Do your co-workers know about your piercings? If you were traveling with your family or with colleagues, would you feel alright if they learned of your piercings? And if they don't know about them, how do you think they'd feel if they suddenly learned about them?
Although they are not wide-spread at the start of 2010, it is apparent from recent events in airline travel that full-body scanners are going to come into operation at major world airports by the end of the year. Using a variation on X-ray technology, the scanners provide a view of the human body as it appears beneath the clothes. Although this methodology is being touted as a good deterrent to terrorism, it raises a serious number of issues in regards to personal privacy.
The UK has enacted legislation stating that the scanners may not be used on persons under the age of 18, as to do so would violate the country's child pornography laws due to the amount of body detail revealed. If you are a adult who needs to wear incontinence aids or a woman wearing a menstrual pad, those items are revealed. For women, the size and shape of the breasts is explicitly made clear. And if you have body piercings, those rings or barbells would be visible whether they were made of metal or acrylic.
Despite reassurances about privacy, new reports about the scanners seem to be surfacing regularly. They can in fact store and transmit the images they take. Technicians are supposed to work alone and without cell phones or other recording devices to prevent any images from being joked about with others, or copied, but if you have a sole person working alone in a room, there's no way to guarantee what may happen. And the scanners have also been said to not be able to detect material hidden internally, or even within the folds of skin and body fat on a person of size. In a demonstration on German TV, a scanner saw the subject's cellphone, but entirely didn't detect the bomb-making components!
At present the only option available to a body scan is a full-body pat-down search. So, for those with body piercings, the choice becomes which is more invasive or acceptable: having a stranger look at an image of your naked body or having a stranger touch you all over?