More full-body scanners? The better to see you naked


Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced last week that they have ordered another 150 whole-body scanners with stimulus money to add to their scanner arsenal that strips passengers naked. If I sound a bit negative about the idea, you are hearing me correctly. There is no need to have passengers march through security naked. The controls already in place are doing their job. Real security is a series of layers — the airport security checkpoint is one of the last.

Back in the early 2000s, after the attack on the 9/11 World Trade Center and the institution of enhanced security checks at airport security posts, my friends and I used to joke about walking through security naked. Today, it clearly is no longer a joke.

The Transportation Security Administration said this week that it plans to expand its controversial “whole body imaging” program, which takes a black-and-white image of people’s naked bodies at airport security checkpoints. Critics have likened it to “digital strip searches.”

TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird said the agency plans to buy an additional 150 such imaging units with stimulus funds …

In fact, these new machines have already been rendered obsolete by terrorists who are packing explosives up their anus. Don’t laugh. This technique has already been tested with lethal effect in the assassination a Saudi prince. The whole-body scanners can not detect that kind of hidden explosive. I only worry about TSA’s coming anus-scanning system. I’m sure it is in the works.

If we must, to temporarily satisfy the insatiable quest for full disclosure, these machines can be used for secondary screening. The U.S. House of Representatives have already sounded off loudly and clearly about their disagreement with TSA when it comes to using these full-body virtual strip machines as the primary screening systems at out nation’s airports.

Earlier this month, TSA arranged for me to see one of these whole-body scanners in operation at Washington-Regan Airport. It was of the millimeter wave type and is in operation at the bank of gates that serves US Airways among other airlines.

There are a series of signs that alert travelers of the pending whole-body scanning operation and a note that allows passengers to opt-out of the full-body scan with the agreement to a physical pat-down search. Otherwise, no flying from that bank of gates.

Other gate areas do not force passengers to choose between being virtually stripped naked or facing a physical pat-down search. At the main American Airlines gates and Delta Air Lines gates normal tried-and-true metal detectors still are the main machinery of security.

I went through the whole-body scan and was later was brought into back room where the TSA officer is watching the scanning results. Honestly, the duty that these “watchers” have seems to be pretty innocuous and boring — watching hundreds of passengers on their screen.

I was interested in just how detailed the image was of passengers passing through these machines. I know that the face of each passenger is obsured, but I had no idea of the detail shown on these scanners.

For my demo, the scanned body image was set to rotate completely about every four or five seconds. Though the model was clearly a woman, I couldn’t really get a good look at any details. So, I asked to have the image stopped in order to examine the detail.

The TSA spokesperson, ironically, said that they would rather not stop the rotating figure in deference to the privacy of the TSA model who was in the scanner.

I suggested that they stop the machine with the figure facing away from me so that the image wouldn’t be stopped in the full-frontal position. The spokesperson agreed and had the image stopped with a rear view.

I got my good look. I saw wrinkles around elbows and her knees. I could see the small clasps on used to fasten the woman’s bra. I could see the stitching along the edge of the bra. Suffice it to say, the images were detailed, very detailed.

The demonstration showed how easily passengers could be convinced to walk through these scanners even though they really had no idea of how explicit the images are rendered. When faced with a physical pat-down or a short stand in the full-body scanner, the scanner seem to be the lesser of two evils. However, most have no idea of the detail revealed by the millimeter wave technology.

Foreign visitors are already subjected to full fingerprinting when visiting the U.S. and the Department of Homeland Security is rumored to be planning to do iris scans as well on visitors. Once we go down this road, there is no limit to the indignities visitors and citizens will be expected to endure.

Using our current airport security mindset, today, it will be walking through security being stripped naked by x-ray technology. Next, we may be bending over and …

That might get U.S. passengers a bit more concerned and lead to louder protests.

  • Marlin Yoder

    Why do we get so hung up on nudity? I am not a very large fan of the TSA and some of their tactics, but nudity come on, big deal. If it’s get’s me through quicker that’s great, I’d strip down all the way if I have to, get over it.

  • Joe


    You’ve written a series of complaints about these scanners, becoming less and less convincing as you become more shrill. Please quit conflating your own prudery with issues of national security. While your statement is accurate that the scanners are the last in a series of defenses, that is absolutely no reason to deny ourselves the best technology at that final line of defense.

    And you acknowledge that terrorists smuggle explosives in their anuses, and simultaneously express dread of a technology being developed that will protect us from that threat. You clearly have body issues that make it impossible for you to serve as a responsible spokesperson on scanner technology issues.

    Just accept the fact that you’ve lost this battle and move on. And maybe take some comfort in the fact that lives WILL be saved because your view were ignored.

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  • Frank

    Joe November 27, 2009 at 7:09 pm
    Please quit conflating your own prudery with issues of national security. While your statement is accurate that the scanners are the last in a series of defenses, that is absolutely no reason to deny ourselves the best technology at that final line of defense.


    I applaud the TSA for adding additional machines. They’re highly effective and clearly shows any and all items hidden on one’s body.. While the metal detector does just that, checks for metal items on the body. Isnt that what the liquid ban is all about, the terrorists thought, they’re checking for METAL devices, let’s outsmart them and kill them with LIQUIDS.
    so, lets OUTSMART THEM and let NO HIDDEN ITEMS on the body get through.

  • Frank

    Joe November 27, 2009 at 7:09 pm



  • Em Hoop

    As Charlie pointed out:
    In fact, these new machines have already been rendered obsolete by terrorists who are packing explosives up their anus. Don’t laugh. This technique has already been tested with lethal effect in the assassination a Saudi prince. The whole-body scanners can not detect that kind of hidden explosive. I only worry about TSA’s coming anus-scanning system. I’m sure it is in the works.”

    These scanners can NOT detect everything, according to Charlie. Prudery is least of our concerns….. the fact that we will accept this kind of invasion of our privacy is one more step in giving over absolute control of our lives to others. Others who, given the passage of time, might not have the best interests of American citizens in mind. Think China’s Re-Education Program, Soviet Union, WWII Germany, Columbia, Cuba, Somalia…… How much of ourselves are we willing to give away, body and soul……?????
    In the future, there might not be a democracy, nor Constitutional rights, nor privacy. Think George Orwell.
    The lack of imagination, rank innocence, and naivete among many Americans is breathtaking.
    Thanks, Charlie, for the clarity and prescience of your report.

  • Joe


    You, like Charlie, are confusing two issues: (1) what the government knows about you and (2) what the government can control about your behavior.

    Just as Charlie says about the scanners, hiding information is (if anything) a LAST line of defense. Inappropriate governmental control — such as that which happens in some parts of the world today, and which has happened in the U.S. in the past — is something we fight through visibility, not through secrecy.

    George Orwell was an excellent writer — but you need to keep in mind that he was a science fiction writer. Your political views need to be informed by substantive debate, not by science fiction.

    We all need to be vigilant in making certain that no one at any level abuses their access to such information, setting in place technical safeguards and zero-tolerance punishments for misbehavior. But denying ourselves adequate national security because of unfounded fears (based on a work of science fiction) is reckless in the extreme.

    But if you really fear your government so much that you’re afraid for a government worker to see a security scan that penetrates your clothes, perhaps this isn’t the right country for you.

    As a left-wing liberal, I’m often accused (falsely) of hating my country. It sounds like I have a lot more respect for the institution than you do.

  • Hapgood

    Nobody seems to be addressing the real “security” problem with the virtual strip search. Currently, we can walk through a metal detector with a wallet in a pocket, or a security pouch with money and documents hidden under clothing. As long as all metal is removed, there’s no problem.

    With the scanner, that has to be “divested.” And it has to be placed on conveyor belt, either in full view of everyone or (if we’ve planned for it) in a carry-on. Either way, these all-important identity documents have to be placed where we no longer have control or sight of them. Thus, this “improvement” has increased passengers’ vulnerability to the loss or theft of identity documents, credit cards, and money. This is a far more common threat than terrorism, but it’s apparently something none of the “experts” at TSA headquarters considered when they decided to force this intrusive search on every passenger.

    I have written about this on the TSA blog. The only response from anyone connected with the TSA was a recommendation to ask the officer for help in maintaining visual contact with the items during the screening. If you ask nicely enough, if the checkpoint isn’t crowded, and if the officer feels like helping, you might get some assistance. But they’re under no obligation to help in any way, and of course if a wallet is stolen during the screening the TSA is in no way responsible.

    I also addressed this concern to the TSA’s “Got Feedback.” So far I have received no response. And I expect no response, since the TSA seems to operate under the assumption that “security” is exclusively about the terrorist threat. Any other threats to passengers’ security are not the TSA’s problem.

    I know that nudity and privacy are the main things that people object to with these scanners. But depriving passengers of the ability to protect their valuables during the screening is, to me, the real problem. And it’s exacerbated by the TSA’s complete lack of concern. Congress should put a stop to the TSA’s juggernaut until they’ve addressed this problem.

  • Hapgood

    A few other issues raised here deserve comment. The first is that I think everyone, on both sides of the issue, will agree that these scanners represent a new level of intrusiveness. They are an adjustment of the balance between security and privacy. Supporters insist that we should just accept that “the battle” for privacy has been lost, and also accept on faith the TSA’s claims that “lives will be saved.”

    But should citizens of what is supposedly a free society simply allow the TSA to strip search them, the way prisoners are routinely strip searched? Are we supposed to refrain from questioning anything that our government does to us in the name of “security,” out of some patriotic obligation? Does “victory” in the Global War On Terror require our country to increasingly resemble the former East Germany?

    That’s why I think that implementing such a major adjustment should occur only after Congress has publicly debated the actual benefits and costs. They need to determine whether the claimed security enhancement actually justifies the intrusiveness and cost. And they need to authorize the scanners through a public law before the TSA is allowed to roll them out.

    Instead, some people are happy to let the unaccountable TSA bureaucrats make the decision in secret, and implement it through secret rules. I’m sorry, but I don’t find that acceptable. The TSA has a long and sorry track record of ineptitude, ineffectiveness, and inconsistency. They have an equally long and sorry track record of ignorance and contempt for basic rights and liberties. That all strongly suggests that we should not trust them to make this decision on their own.

    And finally Joe and Frank, on what basis do you believe that “lives will be saved”? What we can see of the TSA every day doesn’t inspire much confidence in their ability to use the technology they now deploy. What makes you think that those hidden officers viewing the endless boring parade of naked bodies will be effective at finding harmful items? It may well turn out to be another costly hassle whose theoretical benefits are squandered by the well-known inconsistency of “officers.” If future terrorists indeed get around the strip search by secreting contraband in their fundaments, will you be cheerleading the TSA’s plan to have officers administer DREs on all passengers?

    In summary, there really needs to be a thorough cost-benefit analysis of this intrusive and costly technology. But that’s not happening. Instead, we have an unaccountable, out of control TSA determined to use their accustomed blank check to foist it on the public as they see fit. And they’re very happy to have people like Joe and Frank who have pure and simple faith in the TSA, and who insist that we should just thankfully accept everything the TSA does.

    I think that if Americans ever do accept Joe and Frank’s advice, and decide to stop questioning or challenging the TSA because it’s not worthwhile, we will have surrendered what makes America worth protecting and thereby lost the Global War On Terror.

  • Lyngengr

    For those of you anus-fearing folks, let me just point out that ANY explosive will NOT detonate unless you also have some way to set it off. Usually this is done with blasting caps and either a fuse or other types of wires. Just watch Mythbusters to see how inert modern explosives are. They’ve thrown C4 into a fire, put it into a microwave, and it didn’t explode. So, I’m not too concerned about people sticking explosives up their body cavities, what I would be concerned is any form of wires or fuse coming out of said cavity. From the description that Charlie provides, this new technology gives the screeners the capability to detect such tell-tale signatures. As for me, if a new technology allows me to avoid taking off my shoes, emptying my pockets, removing my belt, watch, and jacket, and then putting all that back on again, I’m all for it. What would really be effective is this body scanner coupled with an air analyzer to detect trace amounts of unusual substances on a person. I know this “sniffing” technology has been tried and I believe it has been stopped because it wasn’t working. But that’s no reason not to do it, just perfect the process.

  • frank

    But United States private sector intelligence group Stratfor said the terrorist adopted the novel tactic of concealing an improvised explosive device (IED) in his anal cavity. This is a technique more often used by drug mules.

    Australian Strategic Policy Institute national security policy director Dr Carl Ungerer said this was still a bomb but one delivered by a different method.

    “It does pose real issues for airline security if the bomb is inside the person,” he said.

    “That’s why perhaps there is now going to be a real push for these scanning type machines.”

    Stratfor said it was unknown how the Saudi terrorist detonated the bomb, although it appeared to have been by some sort of remote control as protruding wires would have been detected by security searches.

    It said he had been in custody for some 30 hours before meeting the prince, supposedly to renounce terrorism and repent, and the device had likely been in place the entire time.

    *****article found online relating to this story****

    obsolete or not? Not sure with the above comments

  • Mary Cleve

    Full body scanners = child pornography.
    How do you really make sure that the person looking at the images is not a pedophile? Oh, and if the person looking at the images is female, that doesn’t mean anything. There are plenty of female pedophiles out there and remember that most pedophiles never get caught. Only the careless ones end up on the evening news.

  • Hapgood

    Lyngengr: “As for me, if a new technology allows me to avoid taking off my shoes, emptying my pockets, removing my belt, watch, and jacket, and then putting all that back on again, I’m all for it.”

    Actually, the scanners do nothing of the sort. You still have to empty your pockets and “divest” everything that would impede the view of your naked skin. The TSA wants us to believe, as you apparently do, that the scanner offers passengers some kind of improved convenience in addition to improved security. In reality, it’s an ADDITIONAL hassle that offers no improvement in convenience (and questionable improvement in security, which we’re supposed to accept on faith). And it has the additional “benefit” of requiring passengers to empty pockets of wallets and identity papers, exposing them to an “improved” risk of theft that the TSA apparently prefers to ignore.

    The scanner is a “convenience” only to the extent that it’s an alternative to a friendly grope from Buster the Officer. Buster doesn’t want to grope you any more than you want to be groped, and he thus has every reason to make the groping unpleasant enough so you’ll “choose” the scan the next time you fly.

    The TSA obviously knows that many people are uncomfortable with a scanner that amounts to a virtual strip search. Yes, Joe, Americans are prudes. So they’re deploying more than the usual amount of spin and misinformation to get people to embrace the scanners without full awareness of what they actually are and what they actually represent.

    The TSA knows that it would be easiest for them if we would be like Joe and Frank, and willingly put aside our discomfort and concerns after being assured that it’s necessary and inevitable part of protecting us from unspeakable evil. But ultimately that doesn’t matter. The TSA leaders held their secret meeting in which they decided that they’re going to strip search and/or grope all passengers. They issued the classified rules to implement it, used the “stimulus” blank check to fund it, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. If the answer to the screener’s favorite question “Do you want to fly today?” is “yes,” you’d better resign yourself to being strip searched like a prisoner.

    So much for the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” The TSA has decided that’s no longer viable for the Age of Terror, so they’ve replaced it with a land of sheep waiting in their stockinged feet to be strip searched. That’s the new symbol of America in the Age of Terror.

  • Keith

    @Mary Cleve

    This has actually come up in the UK, and I believe they are discussing a law preventing the scanners from being used on anyone under the age of 18, as the scanning equipment is, in fact, producing child pornography.

  • Em Hoop

    Funny that you, too, should be accused of hating your country. I’ve got plenty of jingoists in my family and I never discuss politics with the right wing friends I want to keep. Sad state of affairs–divide and conquer. But it’s being done to us, you can count on it.

    I point out that my views are formed –not from science fiction–but from my family history and my study of the German treatment of Jews during my childhood. Re-read my post and you’ll see you are cherry picking. The incremental tactics used to lead the Jews to the railroad cars like sheep to the slaughter were the tactics now being used in Palestine and now in the USA itself-starting with travel restrictions and barricades around govt. buildings. Creating a “them” and “us” situation is a political strategy and the TSA people out there in the airports are the frontline pawns in the play.

    Incremental loads of humiliation and control create a psychological acceptance of ever harsher treatment, to the point where many people will give in to anything, no matter how unreasonable and/or vile. Even to climbing on those trains to certain death. The Jews who rebelled fought back–usually to the death. But they went out with a free spirit, having done their best to resist. What they had to resist started with simple regulations and orders that led to ever more rigid and vicious orders. And too many people accepting those orders.
    Here’s your comment –and trivialization:
    “We all need to be vigilant in making certain that no one at any level abuses their access to such information, setting in place technical safeguards and zero-tolerance punishments for misbehavior. But denying ourselves adequate national security because of unfounded fears (based on a work of science fiction) is reckless in the extreme.”

    As I said, I don’t base my “unfounded fears” as you call them, on any science fiction. But on my observations of the changes in travel and my many years of studying history and the human condition. It is worth adding that science fiction writers have often been the leaders in science, their ideas the foundation of the progress made by the scientific and political/givernmental establishment.

    Every time I pack for a trip, I have to thoroughly search my bags and pockets for any items that might trip me up in the “security” lines. It’s a real pain, but I’m now used to it. What will I get used to next?

    Obviously, were I a TSA person, I wouldn’t want to be the one who let a bomber get on a plane. So these people have my empathy. But the people who control the people who control the people who control TSA folks are the ones I fear. I don’t know who they are, nor what their true goals are. My endpoint always is that whoever they are, the controllers will succeed because too many people accept secrecy. Transparency is non-existent in the chain of command, apparently, from some of what I read on this site about travelers experiences. ( Fiction? Unlikely.) There seems to be no end to the run-arounds travelers get when trying to resolve problems encountered in TSA lines or long waits on the tarmac. Or sorting out who is responsible for some parts of flights, but not others. Who the H is in charge?
    Except transparency is expected of travelers to a ridiculous extent. Especially when some decision-makers are dumb enough to believe they can control every d*mn thing inside the terminal, while leaving the airport perimeter unprotected. They can’t even keep track of the immigrant/criminal records of airport employees. And laptops with serious security information disappear from airports, according to news stories I read. In a political atmosphere poisoned by right wing propagandists who have led us to “the party of no” and other machinations that create political divides and discontents, I don’t know who to trust, and the circle of those I do, shrinks by the day.

    Call me reckless, but don’t think I would deny adequate national security. I just don’t want my country turned into an armed camp–it was creepy seeing soldiers with dogs and large firepower arms in the airport after 9/11.
    Nor do I want to have to go through full body scanners to go from Boston to Charlotte. Isn’t it bad enough we accept without a whimper search and seizure without a warrant? “Show me your papers” orders without cause? Worse can happen. Whether you believe it or not.

  • frank

    Hapgood November 28, 2009 at 10:14 pm
    In reality, it’s an ADDITIONAL hassle that offers no improvement in convenience (and questionable improvement in security, which we’re supposed to accept on faith).

    Mark my words, the next threat to US aviation will be bio-terrorism. We need to “see” what people are carrying on their bodies, as well as what they are carrying onto the plane and checking into it’s cargo bins.
    Yeah, Hapgood, let’s keep using that 1960’s technology for METAL devices. apparently, to you, that makes us safe enough.

  • bea

    The Nazis also required victims to strip before entering the ovens so government agents could view their naked bodies.
    Thanks for a properly critical column, Charlie. Abolish the absurd and tyrannical TSA.

  • Karen C.

    All this emphasis on air travel as though that’s the only method terrorists would think of using to attack us. What are we doing to protect our electrical grid? Ever lose electricity for a period of time — you can’t do anything! I think we’re shutting the barn door once the horse got out and not thinking of, or spending our money to protect, where the next attack will come.

    And, yes, I consider it an invasion of my privacy to take off my shoes and coat just to walk through the airport scanners, let alone walk through a total-body scanner. The terrorists have made it so that I get to be treated like a criminal every time I fly. Plus, what is the TSA bureaucracy costing us these days?

  • Hapgood

    EmHoop: “But the people who control the people who control the people who control TSA folks are the ones I fear. I don’t know who they are, nor what their true goals are. My endpoint always is that whoever they are, the controllers will succeed because too many people accept secrecy.”

    The true goals actually aren’t as frightening as you might think. Like all bureaucrats, their goal is nothing more the continual expansion of their empire, and the elimination of impediments to that expansion. The TSA enjoys special circumstances that offer unusual opportunities to do that. Because they’re “fighting the Global War on Terror,” the TSA has a blank check to operate in secrecy, along with exemption from the oversight, transparency, and accountability requirements that normally apply to government agencies. Those requirements exist specifically because decades ago Congress learned the hard way that secrecy and locked doors invite abuse, waste, ineffectiveness, and incompetence.

    But because the TSA is “fighting the Global War on Terror,” many people (including members of Congress) choose to ignore the high likelihood that abuse, waste, ineffectiveness, and incompetence are flourishing behind the TSA’s curtain of secrecy. Some people prefer to have blind faith in the TSA’s ability to provide effective protection against the terrorist threat. They’re somehow reassured by all the intrusion and loss of privacy, even though they can see how inconsistently and mindlessly it’s applied. Presumably, if it’s that much of a hassle for travelers, it obviously must be effective protection against terrorists!

    So they accept the TSA. They don’t think about what it’s costing (in dollars and liberty), or whether we’re actually getting anything for that cost. They just Believe, and of course defend it from those who dare to challenge that Belief. They have faith when there’s clearly no reason for faith; they trust when there’s clearly no basis for trust. And of course that’s just what helps the TSA’s leaders to further their goal of expanding their empire, irrespective of whether that expansion actually provides any useful protection from terrorism. They aren’t specifically looking to turn the country in a fascist direction, but if civil liberties and privacy get in the way, they’ll certainly do what they can to remove those impediments.

    The TSA is nothing more than an out of control bureaucracy. The Right should strenuously object to that, along with the Big Government Intrusion and Cost they constantly complain about. The Left should just as strenuously object to the intrusion and erosion of civil liberties. Those who aren’t promoting a political ideology should be questioning whether all those hassles are doing any good. But because the TSA is “fighting the Global War on Terror,” they’re somehow exempt from the complaints and questions. 9/11 (or more specifically, our Leaders’ reaction to it) has made us One Nation Under Fear. And Fear makes us meekly and unquestioningly accept stripping naked as a prerequisite to flying. Fear makes us Believe that inconsistently applied rules about shoes and liquids will somehow wish away the bad guys. And Fear allows the TSA to further its goal of expanding its empire, free of the restrictions meant to restrain that normal tendency of bureaucrats.

  • Naked Lemmings

    Thanks Charlie for your tenacity. I am still amazed at how many people will surrender their human rights in the name of fear. The TSA is feeling drunk with power, and will continue as long as they keep receiving stimulus money and folks like Frank and Joe are all too willing to roll over and bear their bung holes.

  • Joe

    No fin’g way am I exposing my balls and body to ANY amount of radiation.

    I also don’t want some skanky lowlife check out out my shlong.

    If the TSA forces this on consumers, I , along with MILLIONS of other flyers, will STOP FLYING.

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  • Hapgood

    Joe, just to set the record straight, the strip search scanner doesn’t use x-rays. I uses millimeter waves, which are basically radio signals that are not known to harm male gonads. The scanners pose no health or safety risk.

    However, the “skanky lowlife” is another matter entirely. But I suspect the TSA leadership are on their knees thanking Allah for answering their prayers with the latest “underwear bomber.” The strip search scanner very likely would have detected the bomb (assuming the screeners are doing their job properly when they “check out your shlong,” which is a rather dodgy assumption). That argument should be sufficient to immediately demolish all concerns about privacy, and perhaps even secure funding from Congress to get the scanners more widely deployed. I don’t think the TSA’s PR flaks could have come up with any better way to get the public clamoring to be strip searched before every flight.

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  • Tomas Estrada-palma

    Don’t kid yourselves. You will be totally naked like this unsuspecting young woman:

    If you see this woman please tell her she is naked on the Internet.

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  • Joe

    Saying that full body scanners is necessity is a FALSEHOOD.
    It’s against privacy rights!
    And radiation waves can brake DNA
    If TSA wants to protect people against terrorist, why is not using other technology for example EMD bracelets??
    Is safe, cheap, no pornography involved.
    Why TSA doesn’t use EMD bracelet?
    Probably as usually, if we do not know why, hidden money are behind.

  • Joe Darling

    It’s all part of preparing people psychologically for the loss of their last personal freedoms. You personal space is now ‘legitimately’ invaded. You computer can be examined and the hard drive copied when you go through airports. If you have anything on it that is liable to criminal convictions, like some undisclosed tax matter, you will be prosecuted the TSA say. Adult porn is not illegal on your laptop if you are transporting it through airports. I don’t want my wife or my daughters to appear nude in front of some man, call me old fashioned but my family will not be using air transport. If everyone boycotted these machines then it would make it harder to implement the NEXT step in enslavement. Do you really need to fly? Really?

  • Kate

    Do we really need to fly? Yes. If you only have a 1 week vacation, you don’t have time to drive across the country. I’d love to drive, but I’ve never had time to do that. I have to fly to my vacation destination, vacation, fly back go to work. So yes, we do need to fly. However, I don’t want someone in a back room getting a look at my fat pudgy ugly naked body and laughing and making jokes and calling in his buddies to get a look at that ugly broad, then talking about it over beers that night. They say the guy in the back room doesn’t see faces, but we know guys don’t even bother looking at a woman’s face, they just need the neck down. How do we know that guy in the viewing room isn’t getting his rocks off with an endless stream of naked bodies on the screen? As for not allowing recording devices into the viewing room… Is that security officer going thru this strip naked machine to make sure he isn’t carrying something on him? Because you KNOW that some guy’s going to get something into that room just in case someone famous goes thru and they can get a pic. How long before those photos show up on the front page of the National Enquirer? I base this on the case of some guy in charge of the security cameras in an office building that used the overhead camers to look down women’s shirts. So what’s to keep some guy from having a lot of fun with a strip naked machine? They say it’s for my protection, but to quote the King of Siam, “Might they not protect me out of all I own.”

  • Hapgood

    “I’d love to drive, but I’ve never had time to do that. I have to fly to my vacation destination, vacation, fly back go to work. So yes, we do need to fly.”

    No, you don’t need to fly! Buy a guidebook that covers your home town, state, or region. Spend some time reading it, and then plan a memorable vacation that does not require flying. I can almost guarantee that there are any number of wonderful places within a day’s journey from your home, if you’d only take a little time to find out about them. And it’s a whole lot of fun to do that!

    I can understand why so many of us are brainwashed to believe that we need to fly. For many years flying was a simple, convenient, and even enjoyable way to quickly go just about anywhere in the world. The result is that we have come to unthinkingly associate a vacation with flying. And we have become completely blind to the treasures that are in our own neighborhoods. But those days are gone forever. Now that flying has become a form of torture, it’s time to open our eyes and rethink our notions of vacationing.

    Yes, there are times when we have no choice. If a trip involves business or far-flung family, enduring air travel is indeed a necessity. But when there is a choice, an ENJOYABLE mixture of research and creativity will surely reveal a plethora of great places to visit that are accessible by car, train, bus, boat, bicycle, or foot.

    There seems to be nothing we can do about what airlines and the TSA increasingly inflict on us. It’s an unchangeable reality of economics and politics over which we have no control. The one and only thing we can do is to follow Nancy Reagan’s advice and “just say no” to flying. Give it a try. You may find you enjoy your vacation a whole lot more when it doesn’t begin and end with an ordeal!

  • Mark

    We don’t need naked body scanners to find explosives. The govenment lies about everything they do. They probably save the images to sell to perverts
    at a big profit. It wouldn’t surprise me. In fact, they even admitted to saving
    images. More control, that’s all it is. It never ends. Soon, it will be DNA samples when you walk through security. Wake up people.
    We have a right to movement as human beings. Without being dehumanized
    in the process.