The Transparent Traveler: The Performance and Culture of Airport Security
Transparency Effects: The Implementation of Full-Body and Biometric Scanners at US Airports
Screening by full-body and biometric scanners provides US citizens and others traveling within the United States and select other nations the opportunity to distinguish themselves from would-be terrorists. Surveillance technologies render passengers’ three-dimensional bodies as flat visual patterns or outlines of human forms and eventually as a generic image of the human form. Biometric capture offers foreign visitors to the US the opportunity to become transparent in the sense of the trusted traveler. The chapter includes an overview of current trusted traveler programs. It analyzes a State Department video that introduces foreign visitors to mandatory biometric capture in which the trusted traveler is visualized as a rudimentary outline of a human figure. The implicit logic of the video’s aesthetics is that the territory and citizens of the United States are already transparent.