This—border entry and exit checkpoints with thermoscan controls—is how your airport will look in a few years. If you are lucky. Swine Flu or not, this is our future. Or maybe it'll be even worse:
See, while the Swine Flu may have not been as bad as originally thought, the fact is that it's better to be overly protective than sorry. Or at least, that's what governments think.
It's just like anti-terrorist airport controls. These were increased to stupid levels after September 11 with measures like arbitrary limits on liquids, "Please Remove Laptop From Bag" rules, and the now-classic "Please Remove Your Shoes and Coat"—measures that only add hassle without actually increasing security. Not only they have been bypassed and rendered useless in countless occasions, but there are dozens of security breakpoints around airports everywhere that can be used by the bad guys to do bad things, even now.
We got those measures and everyone gladly accepted them, getting back to sleep into this false dream of total safety, all thanks to this daily airport security show and tell.
The same will happen with medical controls. Thermal scanners and cybersniffers capable of detecting viruses and germs designed to do the same thing: Give everyone a false sense of health safety.
It will be false because, until the technology is truly omniscient and really can detect the tiniest amount of any virus in any stage of development, the barrier will never be real. And even then, there will be other entry points for the virus. You just can't put barriers in the air. You can try to contain, but at the end is a battle we are going to lose. At least for the time being.
Right now the fact is that, no matter how many controls we put in airports, if there's a real outbreak of something really really nasty, with no cure whatsoever, we are fucked. Big time.
In the meantime, we will all get to re-enact that airport checkpoint scene from Total Recall every time we go on a trip. I can't wait. [Boston.com]