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Expanded use of body scanners slammed by ACLU

Muriel Kane

It was announced on Friday that the Transportation Security Administration plans to extend the use of full body scanners to eleven additional airports in the United States over the next two years.

The American Civil Liberties Union immediatelycondemned the plan as a grave infringement on civil liberties.

The ACLU's Laura W. Murphy issued a statement warning of the risks in "these invasive search techniques" and suggesting that "It is far from clear whether this technology would have been able to foil the attempted Christmas Day attack and every resource we put into using these machines is a resource not spent on intelligence analysis or other law enforcement activity."

The potential of the scanners to infringe on individual freedoms was highlighted earlier this week when a Muslim woman was prevented from boarding a flight from England to Pakistan after she had been chosen at random to pass through a recently-installed scanner but refused to comply.

Muslims are concerned that the scanners, which provide a distinct though grainy outline of the passenger's genitals, violate Islamic prohibitions against being seen naked. The Fiqh Council of North America issued a fatwa against them in February.