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Full Body Scanners Installed In 10 US Airports 454

Lapzilla brings word that airports around the US are beginning to use a new type of body-scanning machine which records pictures of travelers underneath their clothing. The process takes roughly 30 seconds, and the person viewing the pictures is located in a separate room. We've discussed similar scanners in the past. From USAToday: "[Barry Steinhardt, head of the ACLU technology project] said passengers would be alarmed if they saw the image of their body. 'It all seems very clinical and non-threatening -- you go through this portal and don't have any idea what's at the other end,' he said. Passengers scanned in Baltimore said they did not know what the scanner did and were not told why they were directed into the booth. Magazine-sized signs are posted around the checkpoint explaining the scanners, but passengers said they did not notice them."
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Full Body Scanners Installed In 10 US Airports

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  • Gross.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cayenne8 ( 626475 )
      So..what happens if you refuse to do the scanner....and refuse to show ID to avoid being on any lists, but, are perfectly willing for a physical search?
      • Re:Ewwww... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:14AM (#23690871) Homepage Journal
        They physically search you. The scanner isn't mandatory; it's just faster than a physical search and doesn't require you to remove much, if any, clothing.
        • Re:Ewwww... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:48AM (#23691353)
          I get searched manually all the time. The wankers see the scars and can't figure out that I'm not going to rip weapons from the body. I guess they think I'm a T-101 or some crazy s**t like that. Heck, it's not like I'm wearing concealing clothing either, standard shorts and tank top. I figure it's easier for them to wand me when the TSA boy's and girls can see the f**king scars. Winter obviously makes this harder.

          I was in a bike accident a little ways back. I have enough surgical steel in me to beep many place, but it has taught me a couple of things. The first being that many airports obviously turn down the sensitivity during busy times. I've had detectors that I've gone through and set off, not go off. Now if I, with 62 screws, 5 plates, and two pins don't set it off then WTF does? I doubt it's because they remembered me six months later at some busy hub.

          Still, you gave up your freedoms and privacy to be safe, right? I'd feel safer guarded by girl scouts at this point.
        • Fourth amendment?? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by spineboy ( 22918 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @02:58AM (#23691605) Journal
          What ever happened to freedom from unreasonable search and seizures by governmental bodies (TSA)?

          I mean seriously - what has happened - have we slid down the slippery slope, or been boiled to death one degree at a time?

          I'm just waiting for a clothing manufacture to come out with millimeter wave blocking clothes or underwear. Need a little metallic weave in the cloth to do the trick.
          • by The Only Druid ( 587299 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @09:12AM (#23692843)
            You don't have a right to fly; your constitutional right to travel works whether you walk, drive, take a bus or a train, or fly. If you choose to fly, you submit to a different set of security measures than if you walk, drive, etc.

            I fully agree with everyone saying how pointless these devices are, just as with the fluid bans, the taking your shoes off, etc. But just because they're pointless doesn't mean they're unconstitutional; just stupid.
            • Drive, take a train, ride a bike, horse or walk. But when it becomes necessary to do so, so that one may live in the USA, then restrictions on that activity essentially infringe on our rights.
              Obviously some lose this right because they are a menace to others (drunk drivers, etc).

              As someone else pointed out, the TSA is my problem, since it is a governmental agency.
        • Cavity search? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by spineboy ( 22918 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @03:07AM (#23691641) Journal
          I mean - what's to stop a hijacker from hiding a ceramic knife up his rectum? or C4... this and metal detectors wont find it. Can we expect cavity searches next?
          • by Admiral Ag ( 829695 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @04:16AM (#23691869)
            If someone puts a ceramic knife in his rectum, then my bet is that he's so hardcore he can't be stopped.
      • Re:Ewwww... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Verteiron ( 224042 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:14AM (#23690873) Homepage
        Since I'm pretty sure you can't board the plane without showing ID at some point, what will probably happen is you won't fly anywhere that day.

        Unless you look foreign. Then you'll fly down south for a nice vacation somewhere sunny. Like Cuba.
        • Re:Ewwww... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:19AM (#23690911) Homepage Journal
          You can board a plane without ID. However, you have to go through more intensive security measures, and you go into a separate line for that.

          At some very busy airports, this has been occasionally used by seasoned travelers to get through security more quickly. It's a gamble as it depends on how busy the wand screeners are, but sometimes it works.
        • by cdrudge ( 68377 )
          In 2006 I was taking a business trip to Orlando for a training seminar. It's about 1.5 hours before take off and I'm getting ready to go through the security. I take out my boarding pass as well as my license and I realize that my license is not in my wallet. I had already checked my luggage, without showing ID mind you, and I'm starting to panic that I won't get through security. As ask the screener if there is any chance I can even board the plane without the license thinking that I might be able to g
  • Okay, first thing... the woman in the scanner looks like she's trying to keep a hula hoop in motion.

    Second thing:

    The scanners do a good job seeing under clothing but cannot see through plastic or rubber materials that resemble skin, said Peter Siegel, a senior scientist at the California Institute of Technology. "You probably could find very common materials that you could wrap around you that would effectively obscure things," Siegel said.

    Wonder if it would be legal to sell a line of rubberized scan-proof lingerie?

    "Auntie Mandy's No-Scan Panties: The TSA won't see your va-jay-jay today"
    "Bodacious Ta's Rubber Bras: If the TSA wants to see your nipples, make 'em buy you dinner first."
    "Mr. Happy's Super Sleeves: Take a 'tripod' through the TSA scanner."

    - Greg
  • Geez, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:02AM (#23690811) Homepage Journal
    Government-sponsored voyeurism has reached a new low. Who are we protecting ourselves against again?
    • Re:Geez, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:10AM (#23690859)
      Thankfully that 1/3 of the population is overweight. so after the first week of watching 'naked' people, the person watching in the closed room would have to block out everything.
    • Re:Geez, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:26AM (#23690951) Journal

      ....Who are we protecting ourselves against again?
      That is the most sane question to ask. period.

      Where are the threats? Where are the terrorists? Where is the danger? Is there ANYONE on /. that knows where the proven irrefutable answers are?

      These scanners are not necessary in any other country. Not even those that have actual terrorist living there (according to bushco). What is the real reason for these scanners?

      I'm betting that it is to acclimatize the populace to intrusive searches for 'security' reasons.

      Yes, put on the tin foil hat, pass the ammo pal. Only the most ignorant of terrorists would attack with airplanes again. While we are concentrating on making sure grandma is wearing her support hose and not disguised C4, they will be happily planning to poison water supplies or 'assplode' nuclear power stations... well, that is if there ARE any more terrorist plots.

      If you listen to what Bin Laden supposedly said, he has already won. He knew what the neocons had planned for the NWO, and was probably part of it. He played his part.

      Now, take off the tin foil hat and put on the thinking one. What are these scanners protecting us from? Where is the evidence,never mind proof, that we need protection from that? Go ahead, give us a list of things, and cite your original source of information provided as proof of such threats.

      This is an open challenge to anyone. Show me the money!! Prove that such measures are needed. Don't forget to prove how these measures stop airport staff from planting bombs or drugs in someone's luggage. ......

      time passes

      I'm waiting... well?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pipingguy ( 566974 ) *
        I'm betting that it is to acclimatize the populace to intrusive searches for 'security' reasons.

        It has more to do with fear and making money than it has to do with your worry. Not that the former won't lead to the latter.
        • Comment removed (Score:4, Insightful)

          by account_deleted ( 4530225 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:24AM (#23691255)
          Comment removed based on user account deletion
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by kencurry ( 471519 )
            Mods are sleeping this a.m.

            your post hits the nail on the head as to why these otherwise fairly lame methods prevail.

            This is CYA on the part of airport security: "we have the latest in technology, spared no expense, how can we be blamed for what happened?"
          • Re:Geez, (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:30PM (#23694347) Homepage Journal
            I used to have this bamboo forest surrounding my house -- it was really quite impressive. People always asked why it was there, and I'd say, "It keeps the elephants away. You don't see any elephants, do you??"

            And everyone agreed as to how it must work, since there weren't any invading elephants. But one day someone had a different response: "Only the pink ones..."

            It's the same thing with these scanners. They keep the terrorists away -- you don't see any terrorists, do you?? Nope, only the imaginary ones.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Phroggy ( 441 )

        What is the real reason for these scanners?
        I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say...

        Lining the pockets of the people who make the scanners. Manufacturing a device the use of which is mandated by the government can be quite profitable, I imagine.
    • Re:Geez, (Score:5, Funny)

      by mrbluze ( 1034940 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:46AM (#23691037) Journal
      From FTA:

      "Most passengers don't think it's any big deal," Schear said. "They think it's a piece of security they're willing to do."
      Yeah, most people just wish deep down they could walk around the airport naked in the first place.
      • Re:Geez, (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @09:39AM (#23692935)

        "Most passengers don't think it's any big deal," Schear said.

        Unless I misunderstood TFA, most passengers don't actually know what the machine does.

        I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if they instead asked most passengers to step into a little room marked "strip search office" and take all their clothes off, the number of protests would be significant.

  • I don't fly any longer.

    There are other reasons as well, but in a nutshell, the entire process has gone so far downhill I'd rather drive, even all the way across the country.

    • by SoapBox17 ( 1020345 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:16AM (#23690891) Homepage
      It occurred to me recently when they started charging to bring almost any luggage with you at all, that actually they are trying to make flying such a ridiculous process that people will just stop doing it unless they really need to.

      Think about it. The new fees on checked luggage are just going to cause people to push the envelope of carry on bags to the point the boarding/unboarding process is unbearable. Add on to that the 3-1-1, you can't bring liquids with you at all if you can't check baggage and you're not allowed to carry them on. Now they also are going to be looking at basically naked pictures of you as you get on the plane, and, oh yeah, don't forget you are paying a lot of money for this poor treatment, and soon the sodas won't even be free.

      No one in their right mind would fly at all under these circumstances, and that's exactly what they want.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) *

        Add to that the fact that the average airline seat was designed to fit the human body perfectly... by testing the fit against a one-armed, one-legged midget with a fetish for being confined.

      • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:27AM (#23690955) Homepage Journal
        That's not what they want. Fuel has moved from 10% of the airlines' cost to more than half, in some cases. Nearly a dozen airlines have folded in the last few months, and even the largest carriers are getting panicky. If anything, this is more problematic than the post-9/11 jitters, because everyone knew they would subside, but no one knows if this is going to be a bubble or if it's the new standard for oil. As someone who likes to fly 3-5 times a year (and would like to fly more), I'm concerned that what used to be comfortable $300 flights (I'm 5'4") will become crowded $450 flights, and that makes it hard for me to justify the expense.

        The airlines would love to get back to competing on fares while also having a comfortable profit margin. It's just not in the cards right now.
        • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:08AM (#23691161) Homepage Journal

          Yes, well, if they're going to be charging a lot of money for an uncomfortable experience, it doesn't seem very smart to pre-annoy the living heck out of the customers before they even get on the aircraft.

          They don't need to be doing any of this nonsense. They just need to armor the cockpit and plop an air marshal on each flight. That reduces the threat to the less than it used to be; the trigger for all this hysteria was flying the aircraft into extremely high value and heavily populated buildings. So make that impossible and let the rest of us get on with our lives.

          The real problem here is that hysteria is meat and potatoes for political stumping. Politicians have every reason to push this crap around -- it saves them from having to deal with real issues. Like health care, the infrastructure, the national debt, erosion of the constitution... you know, stuff that actually matters. But a huge number of people are gullible and stupid, and that's why this crap will never end, barring total collapse of the government.

          Democracy is flawed from the outset. It allows any two uninformed people to outvote an informed person in a context where informed people are rare. Both in the general public and in the congress. Game rigged to fail, right there.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            It allows any two uninformed people to outvote an informed person
            Like Slashdot.
    • What if you need to go further than that - outside the country?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) *

        Ocean liner. Fine meals, suites, good company, pools, ocean view, time to reflect, luxury in general. When you get where you're going, rent a private vehicle, presuming you're going significantly inshore. Possibly train travel; depends on the country. Trains can be luxurious and fine; or they can be just like aircraft. Research is worth doing before you travel.

        When I compare going on an aircraft to an ocean liner, the aircraft comes off as an experience somewhat akin to a few hours in a hamster cage. Wi

  • by rev_sanchez ( 691443 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:07AM (#23690837)
    Silence of the Lambs style human skin suit. A man needs his privacy.
  • Constitutional law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:14AM (#23690877) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't this fall under the auspices of unreasonable search and seizure? It seems to me this manner of search invades personal privacy for no other reason than everyone is a criminal in the eyes of the TSA.

    I would hope that this matter gets brought up in SCOTUS
    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )
      <Devil's Advocate>You don't want to consent, fine. You don't fly. Flying isn't a guaranteed right and you are more then welcome to drive.</Devil's Advocate>
    • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:35AM (#23690995) Homepage Journal

      Firstly, it's your option to fly, not your right. That other methods are slower and less convenient doesn't matter from this perspective.

      Secondly, you may refuse the scan and instead opt for a physical pat-down search.
  • just say no (Score:5, Informative)

    by drDugan ( 219551 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:15AM (#23690885) Homepage
    I recently saw signs for this when going through LAX - but the serurity point I wnt through did not have them installed yet.

    The sign I read had one line at the bottom that said you could opt/ask not to go through the screening process. It did not say what horrid, annoying or time conuming process was the alternative.

    Like so many other times when dealing with law enforcement, simply say "no, I'd rather not."
  • of our money. Where is the approval process? Who said this was a good thing worth every penny?
  • by D Ninja ( 825055 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:36AM (#23690999)

    ...airports around the US are beginning to use a new type of body-scanning machine which records pictures of travelers underneath their clothing. The process takes roughly 30 seconds, and the person viewing the pictures is located in a separate room.
    So, basically, it's like one of those "private rooms" in a porn shop. Except, the slide show pictures come every thirty seconds and you could get anybody from the hot blonde who is heading to Florida with her friends to...well...this guy [] (possibly NSFW).
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:41AM (#23691027) Homepage

    This isn't an X-ray machine, or even a Z-backscatter machine. It's a millimeter wave device. TSA has a web page [] for the thing. It's not as detailed as a Z-backscatter image.

    Here's the product page for the ProVision scanner. [] It's made by Level 3 Communications.

    This thing was first announced last year, so the story is out of date.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07, 2008 @12:42AM (#23691029)
  • Gotta give those TSA pukes a little thrill. Or maybe I'll go through wearing a wig and a dress. The female screener will REALLY enjoy that. I wonder if anyone ever rubbed one out as the passed through the metal detector?

    I'm just trying to make travel more enjoyable for everybody.
  • Make it fair (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mathkicks ( 895227 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:19AM (#23691229)
    How about the officer watching remotely sits in one of these things so all passengers can look at who is looking at them. I bet they'd get a ton of applications for that job...
  • by FSWKU ( 551325 ) on Saturday June 07, 2008 @01:42AM (#23691331)
    ...and saddening part of the whole mess is this little gem from TFA:

    "Some of this stuff seems a little crazy," Reardon said, "but in this day and age, you have to go along with it."

    This is exactly what they want EVERYONE to think. But the truth of the matter is, no, you DON'T have to go along with it. People need to wake up and stop being a bunch of ignorant sheep in the face of all of this. Refuse the scan, refuse the pat-down, refuse to even fly anymore. Prices are going up and so is the amount of bullshit they make you go through to squeeze yourself into a cramped metal tube with not but a package of stale peanuts as food.

    Really, why is all of this crap even necessary? All it does is create more headache for everyone involved. I'm not saying we need NO security, but this is honestly going completely overboard. Metal detectors? Good idea. Keeps people from bringing certain bad things on planes. X-ray luggage? Also good, for reasons stated above. Air marshalls? I'm not keen on the idea of firearms at 35,000 feet, but someone in law enforcement is a good idea if someone gets a bit drunk or stupid. Re-enforced cockpit doors? Should have been done a long time ago. That's just common sense.

    Beyond that, I don't really see any of it as more than an excuse to spend vast sums of money. Air travel is still one of the safest (albiet nowhere near the most comfortable these days) ways to travel. The only reason incidents get so much media attention is the number of people killed in one event. Wait a couple hours and the number of deaths on the highway will take the lead once again, however. Bombings went out of style in the 80's, and you can forget about any more hijackings. After 9/11, do you REALY think passengers are going to stand for that sort of crap anymore? Not a chance. We're throwing money at phantoms, here. Attacking air travel is pretty much dead these days, but not because of any new security measures. All the same, I think I'll take my chances on the highway. At least nobody is going to attempt coercing me into a full-body scan and cavity search just to get into my car.

    One final aside:
    Wasn't the whole mantra several years back one of "We musn't change our way of life, or THEY will have won."? Now look at us. We allow draconian measures to be passed in the name of "security". We freak like children with imaginary boogeymen under our beds when someone even THINKS the word "terrorist." We happily give up privacy because we are sold on the illusion that it's for our own good and it will only effect those who have nothing to hide. We have become completely paranoid and changed the way we do pretty much anything, out of fear that we will get hit again. I'm sorry, but isn't that the very goal of a terrorist act? To have us do EXACTLY what we have done in the past seven years?

    Society has become so caught up in going apeshit trying to prevent THEM from winning, that the exact opposite effect seems to have occured. Eight years ago, almost nobody had ever heard of the names being tossed about on the news. Now, it's foremost in everyone's mind. Their goal wasn't to savagely murder thousands of people, that was just the tool they chose to use. No, their real goal was to make themselves known, and us frightened. I hate to say it, but they succeeded.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rts008 ( 812749 )
      From US President Franklin Roosevelt's First Inaugural Speech:

      "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

      "Wasn't the whole mantra several years back one of "We musn't change our way of life, or THEY will have won."?"
      Yeah, I remember hearing that often in all of the press conferences, speeches, etc. right after the attacks.

      As a society here, w

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"