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Airport Security: More Body Scanners, More Controversy

May 13, 2010 | Posted in: Passengers,Security

airport security body scanners controversy

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says 300+ body scanners are on the way to an airport near you, so – get used to it.

Or get used to a patdown – your choice when it comes to going through these body imaging machines (you may remember, I went through an airport body scan machine and, no complaints here).

Meanwhile, the controversy continues – including an ugly episode of alleged workplace violence involving TSA employees; check it out in, “Security Update: More TSA Body Scan Machines Coming to an Airport Near You”.

10 Responses to “Airport Security: More Body Scanners, More Controversy”

  1. Steve says:

    As part of the gargantuan fraud being peddled by the corporate media in service of the government’s agenda to subject everyone to degrading naked body scans in airports, apologists for the devices claimed that people’s genitals would be blurred out to save embarrassment.

    This has now proven to be a fraudulent con designed to keep people in the dark about the fact that the body scanners DO produce crisp images of your naked body and they DO allow TSA thugs to see intricate details of your genitals.

    A report from October 2008, when the naked body scanners were first being introduced at Melbourne Airport in Australia, detailed how the X-ray backscatter devices don’t work properly unless the genitals of people going through them are visible.

    “It will show the private parts of people, but what we’ve decided is that we’re not going to blur those out, because it severely limits the detection capabilities,” said Office of Transport Security manager Cheryl Johnson.

    “It is possible to see genitals and breasts while they’re going through the machine,” she admitted.

    In addition, London Guardian journalist Helen Carter writes today that the scanners produce an image which make “genitals eerily visible,” after she attended a trial run at Manchester Airport earlier this week.

    The aggressive campaign on behalf of governments and the media to sell the public on invasive body scanners has been accompanied by the reassurance that the devices do not show details of genitals, an obvious attempt to counter the fact that the machines do represent a virtual strip search as well as violating laws against child pornography.

    Images accompanying articles about the scanners, as well as TV news reports, blurred out sensitive areas, creating the impression that this is also what officials in airports saw, misleading the public into thinking that their private parts would not be on public display.

    Since it’s already been admitted by security officials, as well as personally witnessed recently by newspaper reporters, that the scanners do indeed provide detailed pictures of people’s sexual organs, are Americans going to accept thugs in uniforms staring at their genitals, or are people finally going to say enough is enough and start boycotting the airlines as well as conducting mass protests in resistance to this complete abomination against basic human dignity?

  2. PedestrianMe says:

    Rick, you have to admit they’re a lot slower than metal detectors.

    I fly once a week out of the A gates at SFO, where the body scanner has been used for over a year. The line gets backed up tremendously and the only relief is when they shepherd people through the older detector.

    This is an issue worth some worry, especially if you fly frequently.

  3. Rick Seaney says:


    It can be slower, but not as slow as a patdown.


  4. I travel a lot for business. As an American citizen, I feel that these body scan machines at airports are just plain wrong. I call them the “see you naked” machines. In any other location in the U.S. outside of an airport, a policeman has to have a warrant for a strip search (or probable cause). At the Indianapolis Airport 18 months ago, I was chosen “at random” to go through this machine though I set off no alarms and complied with all the usual security procedures. I had three options: Either get the “baton” treatment, go through the machine, or not get on a plane that day. These machines are humiliating. You are treated like an arrested criminal and asked to “pose” in stances that are normally only required of an arrested individual. This Pandora’s box is now open as these machines are being quickly integrated into airport “security” systems throughout the country. They should be illegal but time and time again, walking inside an airport means you no longer have civil rights. Ben Franklin said it best, “when you give up your freedom for your security, you give up both your security and freedom.”

  5. SteveS says:

    I just returned from Mexico (via Dallas) and had the joy of being scanned. I personally see nothing particularly “offensive” about the process – if some uniformed thug (not my words) wants to get a cheap thrill then so be it. However, the process itself was substantially longer than the usual metal-detector walk-through. Sure, maybe only a minute or so in total (while the operator waited for the green light from the backroom boys), but if you multiply that by the number of folks going through in a busy period, all I can see are major delays.

    Frankly, I’m constantly reminded that all this rubbish simply proves that the terrorists have already won the war on terror, and Americans are now less “free” than they were before. From a personal perspective, I suggest severely curtailing the TSA’s ridiculous “initiatives” and reverting to the good old days of metal detectors and eye-balling suspicious folks for special treatment. It works brilliantly in Israel – why not here?

    One reason – political correctness. Otherwise known as stupidity and panic-mongering to keep 1000s in work doing unnecessary and ineffective tasks that only result in making the whole population’s lives just that little bit more miserable. Sounds like a grand plan.

  6. Rick Seaney says:


    I’d kind of like to go back to the “pre-hijacking” era – when we didn’t even have to bother with metal detectors; but alas, the world has changed.

    Thanks for writing,

  7. Stev says:

    The answer for you Refusniks:
    Leather !

    If you get leather underwear (which are perfectly legal),
    the scanner cannot penetrate it. If they fit tightly, you will look like a woman (with nothing up top). The TSA guys would go WTF?

    Leather blouses for women are cool also and woork equally well.

    Check out:

    Remember it must be real leather, the thicker the better. The Rapiscan cannot see through more than 0.1″ of skin (or leather).

  8. Itan2Much says:

    My wife and I just got back to Maui from Seattle last week. While waiting at the Hawaiian Airlines Gate, ALL adult males in the area were body searched by 3-4 TSA agents. There was one female agent, but she did not do any searches. Interesting that only the men were searched. I don’t have a problem with it, but I certainly have a problem with women getting a pass; at least on this trip. Do they not think a female could be carrying something lethal???

  9. Rick Seaney says:


    We only have to look at the example of Jihad Jane to know that TSA folks are aware that women can be potential threats – see http://rickseaney.com/2010/03/12/two-words-why-tsa-security-doesnt-focus-on-profiling/

    I know nothing about your particular situation – perhaps the TSA actions were the result of some kind of tip? – more important, what does your wife have to say about “getting a pass”?


  10. Rick Seaney says:


    Leather underwear? I can think of worse things than undergoing the body scan, and donning leather underwear may be one of them…


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