So let’s say that you haven’t exactly kept up with your New Year’s Resolution of doing 30 – 50 minutes a day on the treadmill, with a little bit of upper body weight lifting every other day. You didn’t think anyone would ever notice, right? Well, if you travel, you’ll now have a new reason to get your butt back on track…and as quickly as possible!
According to, “Sky Harbor International Airport [in Phoenix, AZ] became the country’s first to begin testing a controversial new federal screening system that takes X-rays of passenger’s bodies in an effort to find concealed explosives and other weapons.”
Here are four male and female images which were provided to Yahoo News by American Science and Engineering; they are supposed to show exactly what airport screeners “see” with the new machines. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a larger version of this picture, but you can still see that the details are pretty graphic. Never mind that your “privates” are exposed – look at how out of shape these figures appear!
Photo courtesy of Yahoo News
You know why this screening system is really so controversial? It’s because it will show how lumpy many of us actually are. Do I think people are opposed to a quick means of being screened and avoiding “the pat-down” when they set off the x-ray machine? No. But I also don’t think anyone wants their most intimate curves to be perused by a total stranger, either.
Men might not care as much, but I bet most women shudder at the thought. Even those of us that are in good shape.
But it gets worse! As revealing as the “line drawings above were, they are evidently not nearly as detailed as the real thing will be; these are the actual x-ray pictures…
All I can say is that Susan Hallowell, the director of the Transportation Security Administration’s security laboratory, is a brave woman for allowing herself to be scanned and to have her pictures posted on the internet. I would not be so eager to share my curves (even in this diffused state) with total strangers!
photo courtesy of LiveScience
This quote from the Yahoo News article says it all:
“The more obscure they make the image, the more obscure the contraband, weapons and explosives,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the Technology and Liberty Project at the ACLU in Washington, D.C. “The graphic image is a strip-search. You shouldn’t have to be strip-searched to get on an airplane. Millions of Americans would regard them as pornographic.”
I guess we are supposed to feel better about it, because…
The security officer who works with the passenger going through the screening will never see the images the machine produces. The pictures will be viewed by another officer about 50 feet away who will not see the passenger, the TSA said.
Here’s a shot of some guy…
Never mind the fact that he’s packing a gun – the TSA now also knows that he wears his britches a size too tight.
Passengers who set off the metal detector because they forgot to remove their wedding ring or necklace, and who don’t want to be scanned will still have the likewise attractive option of being felt up patted down by the TSA. But honestly…is this really a choice?
Now don’t get me wrong here – I have always said that nothing would make me happier than walking through the same type X-Ray machines as were featured in Total Recall. But the bones and weapons shown by the scanners in the movie were closer to my idea of what this type of x-ray should reveal.
So my fellow weary travelers, I guess there is only one option for those of us that don’t want to be seen at our worst: get back on that treadmill!
Thanks go to Engadget for reminding me that I wanted to say something about this.