War profiteers, unsatisfied with plain old war profiteering, now want to see you naked.

Dude, have you seen these new Whole Body Imaging™ machines at the airports? I was at the Atlanta airport on my way back to New York last month when I found myself wandering past what looked like an upright tanning bed or that thing the guy in Star Trek stands in before he tells someone named Scotty to beam him up (I’d know what that thing’s called, but I’m not a dork). I don’t really know what I thought it was, maybe some kind of bomb material detector or something, but holy shit am I glad I didn’t get sent through it. Unbeknownst to me — and probably to the guy ahead of me who did get sent through it — it’s the 2009 version of those X-ray glasses they used to sell to pervert 12-year-olds in the back of Mad.

What these newfangled contraptions do, apparently, is offer the TSA agent a naked image of the person standing inside the unit. Peep this one:

That’s a pretty clear picture, isn’t it? I can see this woman’s privates, man! I don’t know about you, but I’m not all that stoked about the idea of some random TSA jackass seeing me naked, even if the photo does look less like me than it does an image that belongs in a Tool video.

Needless to say, I’ve found a few problems with this device.

  1. I’ve yet to see an article or news feature about these new machines that explains to me what they’re going to find that a regular metal detector couldn’t. In the photo above, all I see is a gun and a cell phone or some shit. A metal detector would pick both up. They claim that this device allows the TSA to see everything one has on one’s person, including items as small and thin as a receipt. Uh, OK. I wasn’t aware that paper was illegal. I suppose these machines might make it possible for us to keep our money clips, cell phones, beepers (I really want a beeper), pens, coins, burritos, etc. in our pockets, but I haven’t heard any mention of anything like that. As it stands, we’ll still have to empty our pockets and send all our shit through the regular X-ray unit, and then walk through this new machine, which will alert the TSA to the fact that we forgot to leave our Glocks at home, Glocks that a regular metal detector would pick up. (I saw that stupid Clint Eastwood movie, too, but is anyone really rolling through airport security with a custom-made wooden gun? And if so, where the fuck are they keeping the metal bullets?) And another thing. How is this thing going to speed the line up? As of now, we’ve got the choice to either stand in this fucker for like a minute while it X-rays us and transmits the photo to the TSA dude, or to go through a frisk. It takes way longer than the metal detector either way. The whole thing is stupid. I think I smell a few Homeland Security officials with ties to L-3 Communications.
  2. Last time I checked, you needed to establish reasonable suspicion before strip searching someone. Am I to understand that, because I want to get on an airplane, the TSA thinks it’s reasonable to suspect that I plan to kill someone? I already put up with having strangers see everything in my luggage, going through a metal detector, having my shit searched, removing my shoes and walking around barefoot where a bunch of suits with athlete’s foot have just been standing barefoot, and all types of other annoying shit. That’s about enough. If the TSA can’t figure out whether I’ve got a gun or a knife without strip searching me, then maybe the TSA’s too stupid to trust with our security. Oh yeah.
  3. This shit can’t be good for your health. They claim it’s got 1/10,000 of the radiation of a cell phone (not that I think a cell phone isn’t bad for one’s health), but I’m sure that’s bullshit. I mean, really, where does the burden of proof lie here? Not with me. I say it’s bad for you until these motherfuckers prove otherwise. See you in 50 years.
  4. Is the TSA really asking me to believe that the cretins who work for them won’t use these new machines to get a peek at the… uh… “areas my bathing suit covers”? Sure, there’s one guy who decides who goes through the machine and another guy who looks at the screen, but the idea that they’d make an agreement to send the chicks with big boobs through isn’t exactly beyond the realm of the things I can imagine (remember, I invented unicorns). And I never even thought of this, but the Esquire mentioned LAX and the number of celebrities that roll through there in the average month. As if some $9-an-hour TSA agent with a camera phone couldn’t snap off a naked shot of a celebrity and sell it (or a shot of anyone else, for that matter, for personal use or whatever). Not that I give a shit about the plight of our poor celebrities or anything, but still. Privacy and shit.
  5. This device has greater negative effects for women than for men, which would really be a big deal if there was an Equal Rights Amendment (but it’s cool for now since we still don’t qualify as human and thus don’t warrant equal rights or protection). There is a greater risk that this machine will result in an invasion of privacy for women, and that the images that result will be misused (not that there is a proper use for them). Sorry, dude, but if you want to create a culture in which our bodies are seen as nothing but sex objects, then you don’t get to claim there’s no pervy intent when you sneakily try to look at us naked.

This shit ain’t cool, dude. We’re already living in a situation in which we’ve got to accept being filmed, having our photos taken, and being listened in on constantly, but I’m not ready to let strangers see me naked every time I fly for basically no reason other than to make a profit for some corporate war crimial.

36 thoughts on “War profiteers, unsatisfied with plain old war profiteering, now want to see you naked.

  1. “This shit can’t be good for your health. They claim it’s got 1/10,000 of the radiation of a cell phone, but I’m sure that’s bullshit. It has to be.”

    I’d strongly disagree with you on that. But not much else.


  2. In response to point 1: might they also be able to see condoms full of heroin inside one’s lower intestine, thereby furthering the War on Drugs which has Dubious Connections to Terrorists?

    Just a thought, not a justification. What a bunch of freaky bullshit. I don’t fly. I’ll take the god damn 3-day train trip over the way they treat you on airlines. I couldn’t stand it the few times I flew pre-War on Terror.


      1. Oh, totally. It’s just that you seemed, in point 1, to be asking what these machines could pick up that a metal detector couldn’t, and there’s your answer: drugs.

        Like I said, I’m not saying that they’re right in implying, with the manufacture of these things, that there’s a need for basically strip-searching everyone who walks through an airport. I’m just saying that it’ll be useful in multiple ideological wars, and therefore more marketable, which is not a good thing since it’s poised to be an egregious infringement on people’s right to privacy.


        1. It can see things on you, but it’s not going to be able to see INSIDE you, is it? It could pick up on stuff under your clothes, but on your skin. Nothing under that would be seen, would it?


  3. See, I’ve been frisked before by a large sweaty female security guard at the airport, and having someone you don’t know palm your vag and tits for arbitrary reasons really sucks. The premise that now any security guard gets to see naughty bits in digital form (i.e. easily transmissible and reproduced by perverts) scares the shit out of me.

    Knowing how stupid our legal system is, perhaps they’ll start charing female children who go through this thing with the distribution of child pornography when their picture is forwarded to every pedophile on the TSA’s mailing list.

    Katie’s right too. The only thing that this would pick up that an x-ray couldn’t is drugs. Considering what a cluster-fuck class/race war that is, my guess is that they’re just going to send everyone that looks poor, isn’t white, or has big tits through the scanner for either jollies or their own bigotries.

    I really can’t think of a good reason to install these. Not a single one.


    1. Well, you would hope that they’d use these things simply as a replacement for physical strip searches, but it seems unlikely.


  4. I’ve been illegally strip searched. I’ve had my home illegally searched.

    They are both fucking shitty and fucking stupid (oh sure, I get searched by a policeWOMAN, but there’s like five policeMEN standing around and WATCHING) – I leave for Amsterdam in less than week and now I will have this kind of shit to contend with?

    I imagine as they’re already using thermal image scanning (or whatever the fuck it is) over here, it won’t be long till this takes up too.

    If I wasn’t 100% confident in the fact that this trip would be awesome and if I didn’t hate where I lived so much I would refuse to go.

    And dude, Tool was the first thing that popped into my mind upon seeing those pictures. Then, who the fuck carries a gun around ON THEM?! But then again – I do live in Australia.

    The other thing that popped into mind was that god awful bit from the Ali G movie when he’s “reviewing” the womens applications for England by “fit or not fit”, why do I get the feeling that this might end up being used in that way too?

    Over here at the moment, they’re bringing in fingerprint scanners (although, they are allegedly random number generators, not finger print scanners!) at night clubs for “safety reasons” which is a load of shit, because the state government is also pushing for legislation to prevent anyone with a criminal record entering a liscenced premises (which is ANYWHERE they sell booze, even a cafe) which is exactly what those scanners are a pre-emptive for.

    Fucking horse apples, I say.


    1. I work minimum wage in a shop. They are about to start using fingerprint scanning to log when we arrive and leave, so nobody else can log us in and out. And of course, you lose 15 mins pay if you are 1 second late.


      Also just because you mention them and people here might be interested to know this, I have some friends who are police. One recently told me the term “policewoman” is no longer officially used (in England) because it has too many sexual connotations. It’s “female” or “male” police officer. I can’t even get my head around what that says.


      1. I was more putting emphasis while on they think they’re treating you with respect by letting a female do the searching, the fact is, they still have a bunch of blokes standing around (more or less) fucking gawking.

        That disturbs me also.


      2. Why is it important at all whether the police officer is male or female? IMO, there shouldn’t be gendered speech at all.
        In Germany it’s worse, every word is gendered, but in English some are too and the overall speech is gendered


        1. Because when you’re already being ILLEGALLY searched and have a woman rifling through YOUR bra, YOUR underwear, YOUR cunt and then having a group of FIVE men around standing and GAWKING at you, it does make a shit load of difference.


          1. I don’t know why I’m not allowed to answer this, you can’t allow me stand there like I got her wrong when I didn’t. I just said that I was talking bout the grammer thing.
            Also, I want the two things explained, please, just once:
            how the shaming of the body can disappear if we don’t fight against it and if you thing Arab women should wear burqua just for the reason that men gawk at them if they don’t
            and whether when photographies of naked children are porn, wouldn’t normal naked children be as well, I mean children get seen by thousands of people and you just can’t change this unless you tell even children to hold their hands over their pubic area.
            Please, 92, just once let things pass through that are not your opinion, just once.


            1. Jesus Christ, calm down. I don’t think Arab women should wear burqua (and last time I checked, Arab women don’t). I am well aware that the shame attached to nudity that results from the opprobrium Judeo-Christian nonsense attaches to sex is a problem, but I don’t think the solution is to play into it, which is exactly what we do when we objectify ourselves via porn and stripping: remind everyone that our bodies are only sex. As of now, that’s the way people see things, and I don’t think the solution is for me to allow a violation of my civil rights. Think about what you are saying for a minute, for fuck’s sake. You think my acquiescing to having my rights violated is somehow a feminist act? Come on.

              And I let things through that I disagree with all the time. See my comments sections for ample evidence, and if you don’t believe me, ask some pro-porn and pro-BDSM bloggers what they think of my comment policy. What I don’t let through are comments that repeat tired old anti-feminist bingo arguments that do nothing to further the discussion and only serve to insult me and my readers. Guess what, Liselotte? Just because I don’t agree with you does not give you the right to call me a prude or anti-sex or unfeminist or whatever other asinine nonsense I’ve read in the comments of yours that I’ve deleted. Read my comment policy.


    2. I should probably also add that last time I went through the states (2004/5) I had all of my stuff gone through, was questioned why I as a then 15 year old girl needed to be on the pill and was told that if I refused to give them my fingerprint I could turn around and go home.

      So this is while loathsome, not all that surprising. Very sadly.


  5. That is extremely violating. I am horrified.

    At some point we have to make decisions about privacy vs public safety and that particular device is way on the wrong side of the divide for me.

    I mean, let’s say I was into butt plugs or intra-vaginal stimulation or something… It is none of anyone’s business what is lodged in my cavities, unless I am a public menace. I am picturing a website or a tv program in the future, dedicated to viewing images taken with this device.

    And as for the fingerprint scanning :O

    *crawls back into cave in the hills*


  6. To the person whose comment I accidentally deleted:

    1 – Who cares if these companies create jobs with machines that are violations of our rights? Haliburton creates jobs, but Haliburton is guilty of war profiteering. Blackwater creates jobs, but Blackwater is guilty of war profiteering and human rights violations (and several crimes). The health insurance industry creates jobs, but it does so at the expense of our health. Sorry, but profit and “job creation” are not more important than civil rights, human rights, etc.

    2 – The idea that 9-11 would not have happened with these machines in place is absurd. You can opt out of going through this machine and get frisked. I can think of a few places right off where I could hide a boxcutter that would keep a security guard from detecting it in a pat down. But who cares? If you think it’s appropriate for the government to ask us to submit to what amounts to an unwarranted and illegal strip search, then we’re never going to come to an agreement. There has to be a limit to the impositions government places on us, and there has to be a better way to handle airport security. See the Atlantic article above. And let’s not forget that you were allowed to bring boxcutters on flights before 9-11.

    PS – If you think I’m just a whiner because I don’t want strangers seeing me naked, then I’m willing to bet you’re male and haven’t had to deal with a lifetime of being sexually objectified. Just saying.


    1. Excellent, excellent posts. I’m sick to death of all the idiot sheeple who are willing to literally be stripped of their Constitutional rights…thereby stripping myself, my husband and children of the same. ABSOLUTELY women are more likely to be abused by this violation of our most fundamental rights to privacy…our naked bodies. Shit–you’d think that the extreme degradation and sexual exploitation of internet porn, strip clubs and other smut outlets would be enough. But oh no! We’ve got to see women and men (and children) who aren’t willing to sacrifice their humanity for money. And isn’t it awesome that the taxpayer is PAYING for these evil machines which strip them of their dignity, clothing and rights??!! Friggin’ awesome Dude!


  7. Augh! This is skeevy and unconstitutional on SO many levels!

    I’ll take the train from now on, or a boat to get overseas, if these horrible contraptions become a requirement.



  8. Hmmm…presumably you could get clothes made out of substances that were opaque to whatever it was it uses to scan you.


  9. Oh–for those who say, “I’ll just take the bus, the train, etc.,” No dears…they already have these things at some courthouses. How long until they’re at the train station? The bus depot? The grocery store? The mall? The football stadium? Your child’s school? Don’t think for a minute that these wonderful “safety” devices are or will be only for those wanting to fly instead of drive/sail across the country or oceans.

    I read about a woman soldier who came back to the US and had to work at the local courthouse daily w/one of the strip-search machines. And there were several of her male former soldier buddies…monitoring the machine. She literally had to get naked before these men she knew daily…just to do her job. How wrong is that??? Wake up sheeple…before it’s too late.


  10. Late comment, I know, but this thing has resurged since the (terribly – convenient) pre-christmas almost-terrorist incident, and sales of these machines to airports everywhere has skyrocketed. Oddly enough, the inventory was already there – as if they KNEW they’d be needed…

    An important point about these sample images is that they are not really accurate. Any media samples you see have a privacy filter switched on. They cannot actually publish the images that security people will be viewing, as these images are so graphic, they subvent mainstream publications’ content guidelines.


  11. Lizor: wait, are you saying that the things security guards will look at are MORE invasive than the sample photos that ND posted? (Please, say it isn’t so…) If so, then they really could get sold to tabloids, with a little hacking or bribery. And then the tabloid could edit in a weapon, and have something like “[celebrity] tries to crash plane into [ex]’s summer home!” and include photos. (Joking…I hope.)


  12. I hope everyone’s seen the incident where the Indian actor went through one of these in the UK and several of the women working for “security” theater had photocopies of his naked body scan that they actually had him sign. So much for “we don’t keep/copy these images,” and all the other lies the public is being fed about these Constitutionally illegal strip search scans.


  13. That’s right GXB – I know someone who is involved in monitoring this stuff. The media has yet to include that fact in any of their coverage (that I have seen).

    For example, there are no nipples in the image above and the pubic area looks more like Barbie than any woman I know.

    Also, for the poster above who brought up drugs carried inside the body – the machines don’t see internal organs, so won’t catch a bag of white powder up your butt or in your stomach, etc.


  14. This machine removes the need for a strip search( which can take up to 1 – 1 1/2 hour, and replaces it with a 30 second scan! They only put you through this machine for the same reasons they would strip search you. you can of cause opt for the Strip Search instead if you want several people to watch you undress, examine you, then send you on your way. the basic metal detector can be fooled, but 4.5 million years of evolution have made our Eyes very good indeed. I dont do anything ileagal, so have no fear of this machine, i want a Camera on every street, then if i get attacked, the police could track my attacker anywhere, and arrest him in minuets. The only people who are opposed to this kind of Tech are peadophiles, thiefs and rapist. LONG LIVE 1984, and if you dont get the refrence then you are a retard!!!
    God bless the system.


  15. Oh Christ on a stick. I’ll bite.

    Bob, the machine does not “remove the need for a strip search”. It does not show the contents of internal cavities. Get it???

    “The only people who are opposed to this kind of Tech are peadophiles, thiefs and rapist.” ??

    I promise you, Bob, the machine does not alarm when a peadophile walks through it.

    Just so you know, Bob, you cannot identify a thief, rapist or child molester by looking at them naked, which is what these machines do. They simply allow security personnel to look at you naked and they are being quietly installed in airports all over Canada.

    The people who are concerned about that are concerned about the erosion of their privacy. To lump informed and concerned citizens in with sexual predators indicates that it’s likely you are projecting in that penultimate sentence of your silly post.

    As for “They only put you through this machine for the same reasons they would strip search you.”, I was going through security (I travel a lot and know enough to remove all metal, my shoes, etc before I pass through the detector) and was asked to step into one of those machines. There was no cause to strip-search me. I refused to step into the machine and was patted down by a female security guard instead.

    Next time try informing yourself before you mouth off and demonstrate your ignorance to all and sundry, and quit taking up space with your asinine comments.


  16. @ kristina – oh yeah, right … show off, refer too, exaggerate about, obsess about, brag about, grasp at, fiddle with, build effigies to … I can’t be bothered to go on.

    But you’re right, how could I possibly forget?


  17. Word is that they call it “the dick measurer” around airports.

    A politician from Utah is against them because its pornographic- maybe the right will inadvertently get something good done.

    I have heard Israel has the best security- you have to talk to someone and they are trained in spotting inconsistencies and behavior patterns. I haven’t looked into it much so it could be bullshit.


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