Would you prefer to be seen nekkid or groped by the TSA?

Yet another reason why I may never fly on an airplane again. They’re deploying more of those millimeter wave scanners that allow agents to see through your clothes to make sure those are actually your tits and not a couple of shapely clumps of plastic explosives:

Do You Have Any Naked Pictures Of Your Mother? The TSA Does – The Consumerist

While it allows the security screeners — looking at the images in a separate room — to clearly see the passenger’s sexual organs as well as other details of their bodies, the passenger’s face is blurred, TSA said in a statement on its website.

The scan only takes seconds and is to replace the physical pat-downs of people that is currently widespread in airports.

TSA began introducing the body scanners in airports in April, first in the Phoenix, Arizona terminal.

The installation is picking up this month, with machines in place or planned for airports in Washington (Reagan National and Baltimore-Washington International), Dallas, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Miami and Detroit.

[…] “People have no idea how graphic the images are,” Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology and liberty program at the American Civil Liberties Union, told AFP.

The ACLU said in a statement that passengers expecting privacy underneath their clothing “should not be required to display highly personal details of their bodies such as evidence of mastectomies, colostomy appliances, penile implants, catheter tubes and the size of their breasts or genitals as a pre-requisite to boarding a plane.”

Besides masking their faces, the TSA says on its website, the images made “will not be printed stored or transmitted.”

“Once the transportation security officer has viewed the image and resolved anomalies, the image is erased from the screen permanently. The officer is unable to print, export, store or transmit the image.”

Lara Uselding, a TSA spokeswoman, added that passengers are not obliged to accept the new machines.

“The passengers can choose between the body imaging and the pat-down,” she told AFP.

Assuming we believe the TSA is telling the truth about the images existing only long enough for someone to get a good look at your goodies, and I’m not at all inclined to believe that’s true, this does nothing to stop someone with a camera phone, or just a camera, from taking pictures of the screen itself. And someone eventually will given the quality of some of the folks working as screeners for the TSA.

It’s isn’t so much a sense of vanity or modesty that makes me unwilling to have someone stare at my nekkid form on a screen so much as it being a matter of principle. There are plenty of people that I’ve shown my naked body to in a professional capacity that are probably wishing they could unsee what has been seen, but I shouldn’t have to be virtually disrobed, or groped as an alternative, just to travel someplace via airplane. The presumption shouldn’t be that I’m a terrorist without some reason to back it up.

This kind of shit, more than anything the terrorists will ever do, is what is going to cause more airlines to go belly up as people decide it’s just not worth the hassle. Especially after some idiot TSA screener decides to snap some pics and upload them to the Internet.

17 thoughts on “Would you prefer to be seen nekkid or groped by the TSA?

  1. This is a perfect example of why the terrorists won a long time ago. Its another infringement of our freedom to stop a threat that doesn’t exist.

  2. I have a thing for older women, and they seem to have a thing for me, so….

    If she’s cute for 50, hook me up.

  3. Joy! I get to fly out of Dallas to Hawaii in late June, and then got a transfer in LA coming back… 9 other family members and friends will be flying, what do you think the odds of one of us getting “scanned” being?

    How are those being scanned “randomly” chosen? I’d lay money down that should this go nationwide there would be new story about abuse of the system within a year.

  4. Anybody know where I can get a tatoo that is made of ink that will show up on those scanners they use? Lead paint maybe? I’m thinking “Go fuck yourself TSA” would be a good start, though you’d almost assuredly miss your flight if you didn’t end up on the bad list.

  5. i was about to respond with, “i’d liked be groped by naked TSA employees,” but then i remembered what they generally looked like last time i was in an airport, so i’ll pretend like i didn’t even think that.

  6. walkerparkhill, simply google image search: Millimeter wave TSA.  That should come up with some sample images.  Wouldn’t necessarily do that search during work depending on how strict your employers are.

  7. Not too worried about the tech here, or about people seeing me like that – though I could understand why people would be, personally.

    More worried about the government breaking the laws on privacy just because it can and because McCain feels he “has to” do so too, apparently.

  8. There’s a thread on Consumerist about this.  Technically speaking, the system does not have recording capability, and employees are forbidden to bring in outside crap into the viewing room.  But, that is all theoretical. 

    I found it amusing that several people on that thread were bitching about how they’d have to record the images to use in court if you’re caught with a weapon.  You’re in a box, they don’t let you out until you’re cleared.  If you have something suspicious, they search you and find it.  No need to record anything. 

    Right now I’m more concerned about the warrant-less searches of electronics and the seemingly accusatory nature of them.  Not to mention to general freak-out over liquids and gels.  I like to wash my hair and brush my teeth, thank you very much.

  9. LOL Bog Brother! I like the idea, but I’m sure that will get you the “TERRORIST” treatment. But it would be funny to do, especially if it was on the ass.

  10. Assuming we believe the TSA is telling the truth about the images existing only long enough for someone to get a good look at your goodies, and I’m not at all inclined to believe that’s true,

    That’s how it is the the X-ray machines.  But, as you said, somebody could simply take pics of the screen with a camera phone.

  11. Not to mention to general freak-out over liquids and gels.  I like to wash my hair and brush my teeth, thank you very much.

    Yes, but you don’t need to bring them in your carry on luggage to wash your hair and brush your teeth in-flight do you? If you put it in your checked luggage there is no freak out.

  12. Yes, but you don’t need to bring them in your carry on luggage to wash your hair and brush your teeth in-flight do you? If you put it in your checked luggage there is no freak out.

    What about those looking to not have to deal with checked baggage on a short business trip or a weekend get away?

    What are the regulations if you carry multiple 3 oz bottles of the same liquid? Would the TSA shit a brick freak out if you pulled out 2 gallon sized backs stuffed with 3 oz bottles of gels and liquids?

  13. Wow, I’m a dumb ass… the ‘u’ html is underline not strikeout…  Whoops. My bad.

  14. Yes, but you don’t need to bring them in your carry on luggage to wash your hair and brush your teeth in-flight do you? If you put it in your checked luggage there is no freak out.

    As long as they don’t lose my checked bags.

    I had the whole pack my shit into one carry-on down pat.  I haven’t flown since the gel thing started, so I haven’t looked into detail on what’s allowed.  Being that they keep changing it up, I’ll wait until the next time I need to pack for a flight and figure it out then.

  15. Anybody know where I can get a tatoo that is made of ink that will show up on those scanners they use? Lead paint maybe? I’m thinking “Go fuck yourself TSA” would be a good start, though you’d almost assuredly miss your flight if you didn’t end up on the bad list.

    BB, you are my lunch box hero today.  I laughed so loud that my husband came upstairs to find out what was so funny.

    I was thinking of taking the suggestion to heart, but then I thought of what my whiter-shade-of-pale “programmer’s tan” will probably do to radiation of any sort, and it wasn’t an issue any more…  wink

  16. Just more security theater by our government. There is truly a reason why the TSA is the most hated government agency even over the IRS.

    Working for a gov’t agency I can assure everyone that the gov’t will not follow its own privacy practices. Most agencys have no understanding of their own rules. My boss has officially told me that HIPPA does not apply to me or my job because I work in Information Technologies. When HIPPA clearly deals with how IT workers interact with Personal Healthcare data. It is the same with the Airports.

    There rooms will not be secured. And there will be hell to pay with a union the first time someone tells an employee that they are not allowed to have a cellphone in the screening room.

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