back to article 'Virtual strip search' arrives at JFK and LAX

The US Transport Security Administration (TSA) has celebrated the successful trial of 'see through clothes' scanners by ordering 30 more of the millimeter wave devices for Los Angeles and JFK International airports this spring. The scanners, which produce a whole, naked, body image, have been in use at Phoenix Sky Harbor …


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  1. Chris
    Paris Hilton

    I for one welcome this new technology.....

    For when some goofball behind the machine laughs at my little todger, I can sue for millions and retire.

    Thank you good ol' US of A.

    Ooops forgot to check anonymous.

    Paris cus she takes whatever she gets.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I look forward... cell phone videos of parades of naked passengers popping up on youtube.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. John Macintyre
    Black Helicopters

    sounds ok for now but...

    I can see this going through the beta testing, eventually getting accepted as this 'seconday scan' process, then all of a sudden (having had approval at that base of testing) it becomes the only test, ie they replace the normal metal detectors with those machines and they become the norm. It wouldn't be surprising coming from today's governments.

  5. Andy Neale


    ..thats two short people in a raincoat scuppered then..

  6. Ash


    a) Accept photos being taken by the Pervinator.

    b) Refuse and have a pat down.

    c) Refuse (and have a sun tan / long beard) and be strip / cavity searched, your suitcase removed from the hold, cut to pieces by Customs, and handed back minus a couple of the more expensive items it contained, have your laptop computer impounded for 6 weeks while they try and figure out why it presents you with a "boot:" prompt instead of showing a Windows xp logo, and spend 2 months at Guantanamo Bay Holiday Resort for Melanin ty.

    d) *Don't go to America.*

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    But where are the pics...

    I was expecting some sort of proof that this technology works!

    More importantly, could someone perhaps hack this technology to show a random naked image of some celebrity every time somebody gets scanned?!

    Paris because you dont need a fancy machine to see her naked...

  8. Matt


    Doesn't Heathrow have this type of thing? (well, not hand held, but the same images are produced).

    I was "randomly" selected to have one of these scans done a while back - summer 2006 if I remember correctly. Out of curiosity I asked the guy could I see the image - and then immediately regretted doing so - it was quite a shock to see how flabby I really am! These things are not flattering at all!

    It did nicely blur out my face though, so I could deny everything!

  9. Lee T.

    Heavy petting eh?

    I put on my robe and wizard hat...

  10. Richard
    Paris Hilton

    Well I don't know about you...

    ...but I fully expect to see people fluffing themselves prior to hopping in the scanner, so as to avoid tiny tackle related ridicule from the oglers in their 'remote location'.

    Paris because a few snaps of her would do the trick instead.

  11. Richard Austin

    Sounds ok...

    I for one wouldn't mind this at all. I would much prefer this to the adding of my personal details to a DNA database, profiling etc etc.

    I don't believe in losing liberty in the name of security - some pills we have to swallow to be allowed so called freedom, but I don't believe that a beefed up x-ray is a bad thing for ensuring air traffic safety. I would rather have a man sat next to me who we know can't be carrying a gun, than one who we can identify by his DNA but can't tell if he is carrying a weapon in his jaxi.

  12. JC
    Paris Hilton

    These invasive measures need to stop.

    So they think it's safe, without years of studies on effect. They'll pose the alternatives of it being implied that you must be up to no good if you don't consent to being bombared with radiation.

    If we dont' all grow large warts over ourselves, they'll increase the frequency of these scans, eventually it's likely we'll all be scanned multiple times just to enter an airport and board a plane, get off again, then repeat for the return trip home. Who are millions of people going to sue if this turns out to not be so safe? Which airline will be able to cough up millions per person for millions of people?

    Yeah, you can be pat down instead, but we can be reasonably sure the lazy bastards doing it would rather be on their bums, will make the experience such that you'd prefer to be scanned next time instead.

    Some things just aren't worth the one shot in a million a terrorist might slip through some checkpoint. Inch by inch we crawl towards a militant state, and won't be able to turn back beyond a certain point. They only get away with it because the dead don't tell any tales, your grandfather won't be able to speak about the freedoms he had that you don't once he is gone.

    Paris, because our generation gets internet porn in exchange.

  13. alyn

    The americans get the best jobs

    Firsit it was examiniing genital piercings, now full-body scans

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution

    So, I just have to hide my contraband on my child.

    Or would scanning a child with this system be immune from any child porn legislation?

  15. Richard
    Thumb Down


    I gather you have to take your outer garments (coats etc) off for this thing to work.

    So the X-rays get through your clothes and underwear but apparently not through your skin, even though if a person was wearing leather trousers (as an example) it would presumably see through them, yet leather (cow's skin) is thicker than human skin.

    Something doesn't add up here ...

  16. GettinSadda

    Two problems

    You say:

    "as little as 10 seconds" and have "potential peak throughput levels of over 400 people an hour".

    Which matches the ProVisions website, however if you click "View Video" if changes the claim to:

    "Generates scans in as little as 2 seconds. Potential peak throughput of 600 people an hour"

    Can we believe any of their claims if they can't even get the speed of the machine right?

  17. GettinSadda

    Second problem...

    And also, if the scans are happening in 2 seconds with a production line like system (as per metal detectors at the moment) but the scans are being viewed in a remote location by someone who has no access to what the person actually looks like. What happens if the scan shows a weapon? There seems to be a good chance that the terrorist has left the scanning area, or at least got himself lost in the crowd, before the problem can be flagged up.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Given the way these machines work, I'd be deeply tempted to add some suitably reflective material (i.e. tinfoil) in the inner layer of a jacket/T-shirt to deliver messages that could only be read by the machine operators.

    Something like a large biohazard symbol.

    Or an appropriate rude sign.

    Or a message, maybe 'If you can read this, you must be TSA. So you can f*ck off'.

    Possibly even a modesty shield in the form of the outline of a large cock.

    Though I suspect fear of the possible outcome - TSA aren't exactly known for being bright, or having a sense of humour - would prevent me actually going through with this.

    So Plan B is to just dodge the whole thing, and avoid the USA completely.

  19. Mark Broadhurst

    TSA claims a 79 per cent acceptance rate

    Or in real terms 21 percent were given a choice and 79 percent either didnt want to avoid a fuss or didnt fancy having a cavity search or eating bullets

  20. Anonymous Coward

    This is Spinal Tap

    "After bassist Derek Smalls is stopped at an airport X-ray machine, it's revealed that his impressive manhood is the result of a cucumber being inserted into his leather pants. "

    I seriously doubt that TSA donkeys have any sense of humour developed enough to find that funny...

  21. David Cornes
    Paris Hilton


    Would it detect Bluetooth enabled love eggs?

    Paris 'cos I bet she's got some good toys.

  22. Mark

    Save them the trouble

    Go through the line stark bollock naked.

  23. Steven Hunter


    "I seriously doubt that TSA donkeys have any sense of humour developed enough to find that funny..."

    They are prohibited by law from having a sense of humor (or even humour), have been since the 70s I think. Seriously, haven't you ever read any of the signs in the airport before?

  24. GrahamT

    Just say no

    Do they care if foreigners are inconvenienced, humiliated and irradiated? I think not.

    Last time I went to the US, my (new) suitcase was totalled (little note inside saying US customs wouldn't pay for the damage) and didn't make my connection. I had to run for my connccting flight with my shoes and belt in hand, even though I had allowed 3 hours for the connection time. Similar coming back to Blighty.

    It was only after I got back home that I realised I had left my pocket knife in my hand baggage and it had gone through three sets of US and one UK "security" without being detected.

    I have not been to America since, and I don't intend to go there again. I don't think either of us have missed each other, Though the money I and my employers would have spent might have helped their economy slightly.

  25. E

    Adolf would LOVE this!

    Figure it out.

  26. Steve

    The real test

    of how private this is and what quality pictures it can produce is to send a busload of the playboy playmates to catch on a plane.

  27. E


    Faraday cage codpiece or condom. Long black Faraday cage trench coat.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll show you mine if you show me yours

    Ther's a straightforward way to make this massively more acceptable to the travelling public: the hall where this invasion of privacy occurs should be festooned with the PerviScanned images of everyone responsible for inflicting it on *you*, from the President, through the Homeland Security bods, the directors of the airport, down to the operators / viewers of the machinery.

    I'll show you mine if you show me yours. Seriously. Otherwise, your sad little country can go **** itself.

  29. Ben Jury
    Thumb Down

    As if the queues aren't long enough...

    So it takes an hour to scan one plane full of people?!

    Another reason not to go the USA.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Just Stay Away from the USA

    Best thing you'all can do is just don't come to the USA. Seriously, don't come here for vacations or business at all. Insist that your USian business partners come to you if you need a FTF meeting. I don't think it'll change anything here, but save yourselves from our insanity.

    It's obvious we've lost our minds and are not a civilized country anymore. We've ditched our Constitution and the rule of law for a Theocratic Kleptocracy that makes Zimbabwe look like a paragon of democratic enlightenment. Sadly, that's just they way most USians want it.

    AC because THEY are watching.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ GettinSadda

    'Can we believe any of their claims if they can't even get the speed of the machine right?'

    The lower throughput is down to them needing to do a price-check when the Pervatron scanner thinks you're a Sainsbury's own-brand oven-ready badger.

  32. ImaGnuber


    The proliferation of these devices should encourage fitness and lower resistance to public nudity. Not much point in hiding anything when every store clerk can have an ogle (obviously I'm looking a little way down the highway of dreams).

    And people get tired of my enthusiasm regarding human inventiveness. Well now you'll see that I was right. So there!

    The icon showing someone discarding their clothing.

  33. Kurt Guntheroth

    it's just gotta be hackable

    I would think that there must be a way to spoof the machine. Gun in a bag of jello taped to your tummy or in your mastectomy bra, flat knife under neoprene wrap, that sort of thing. The guards will figure it out in a week. It'll be on the internet in a month, and the Queda will be using it in a year. L3 will have their pork by then, and we'll all be left waiting even longer in line because the metal detector is faster than the mm weve machine.

    It's all a way to save energy, by making flying so uncomfortable and spooky that nobody will do it any longer.

  34. Hollerith

    can't see through skin

    I don't want to get down to anatomical details, but anyone who has read the Modesty Blaise novel 'Last Day in Limbo' knows that a woman could still smuggle aboard a weapon of, well, about 8 inches long, even when scanned by the Pervinator.

    Gentlemen could do something similar if they were willing to walk gingerly for The Cause.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Visit the USA

    sure, ill go via cuba, then mexico, and over the border by land.

    if need be i'll wear EMF proof under-clothes as well.

    along with the tee-shirt with the logo 'I luv fidel'

    seriously i have no intention of ever going there, Siberia seems like so much more like a fun place to visit, and on the way back i could stop off at chenobyl to get my decades worth of irradiation, and some cool pics, and maybe the odd hot particle, just to wind up the DHS on the way back into blighty.

    mines the tin-foil lined one with the glowing sleeves.....

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @I'll show you mine if you show me yours

    2 years ago I had to fly to Stuttgart. On the way back, I went through security and into departures. When they announced the flight, there was second security check to get to that particular gate.

    There was a another x-ray machine and a man with a hand scanner. As they were asking everyone to empty their pockets etc. I emptied mine before getting to the gate and put it all in my jacket which went through the scanner.

    However, the man with the scanner patted the front of my trousers and told me to empty my pockets. When I responded that my pockets were empty, he insisted in a louder voice that I empty my pockets. I informed him that what he could feel was not in my pocket; I could take it out, but it might upset the ladies. (2 older women were watching and thought this highly amusing, in the way that ladies of that age do).

    Unfortunately Herr Schphincter didn't find it so amusing and called the armed police (one of whom was a woman). Fortunately, she did have a sense of humour and got the queue moving again.

    She gave me quite a smile too! (probably feeling sorry for me!!)

  37. Elfoad Regfoad

    never again

    "d) *Don't go to America.*"

    that would be my preferred solution! reasons:

    a) it's a hell-hole without history nor future!

    b) you can get the whole benefit of US cuisine at any mcdonalds branch in any country.. if you feel you must..

    c) we have fat girls here too so you're not going to miss out on anything there!

  38. Dave Bell

    Not quite porn, but...

    ...quite a while ago there used to be swimsuits with a metalised surface. Unfortunately, it tended to come off the unlying fabric if it got wet. The advertising pictures are still floating around on the web,

    But unless the durability problem has been solved, I suppose we're stuck with chainmail.

    ObCerebus: The scars will heal eventually.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    more business for plastic surgeons

    I would've chosen not to visit America. But coming back to think of it. I think I'll just get myself a f***ing monstrous c*ck. See what they think about that!

    Oh look! he's got a double-barrel shotgun down the side of his pants!

    Hmm... hopefully they won't shoot first - check later.

  40. Steven Knox


    .'..scans can be generated in "as little as 10 seconds" and have "potential peak throughput levels of over 400 people an hour"...'

    10 seconds per scan is 6 scans per minute or 360 scans per hour = well UNDER 400 people per hour (10% is certainly statistically significant). Are they expecting people to double up? Actually, that could be fun -- see what poses you and your (travelling) partner can do (fully clothed, of course) in the booth!

    If you go by the page for the video video mentioned above, 2 seconds per scan is 30 scans per minute or 1800 scans per hour = WAY ABOVE 600 people per hour. Perhaps in this case they're assuming that the operators/passengers are too slow?

  41. James Butler
    Thumb Up

    Not all bad

    I think the reason people prefer being scanned to being patted down is the simple fact that they get to avoid contact with security personnel. In addition, the images aren't detailed enough to illustrate which size condom you would need, and facial features are fuzzed in the newest version (not the backscatter version, which can't detail the face, anyway), so relative anonymity is assured. If a non-organic element is detected, the scannee is still within the scanner (not the backscatter one), so you're not going anywhere. Personally, I would prefer to be scanned rather than submit to an inefficient frisking by TSA hacks.

    There's not much chance of avoiding this type of technology as time goes by, and these implementations seem to be more efficient and more successful than relying on humans to do the searching. I find that comforting.

    The TSA has been around for less than a decade (since just after 9/11/2001), and, when left to their own devices, have proven to be somewhat less than professional. Read this disturbing collection of TSA gaffes for a few details:

  42. Graham Marsden

    What? Has nobody done the....

    ... obligatory "Airplane" security scanner reference yet?



  43. Ishkandar

    @Mark Re.Go through the line stark bollock naked.

    Then they'll charge you with a public order offence for carrying and displaying a WMD (Weapon of Mass Disgust), namely your bod !!

  44. Steve

    I have seen this trialing in Sydney


    I saw a laptop running Windows, I was both scared and sad. I totally see the YouTube video one way or another.

  45. Tim Brown


    Not only do they see your naughty bits which are all squished by your undergarments, but they zap away your chances of breeding...

    Two for the price of one folks!

  46. James O'Brien

    @all of you but mostly for James Butler

    Mr. Butler You are now my hero. . .You clued me into the most amazingly funny thing in a while.

    From the article

    "Now the TSA, at Congress's behest, is creating the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II), which will assign a "threat level" to every person who flies within the United States. "

    Heh I just scored 999999 and got 4 free body cavity searches as a new prize for getting the highest score :)

    On a side note those of you know know me here are are in other countries with good beer Im still looking for a sponsor. At this rate we wont have any free. . .oh who am I kidding we dont have any as it is over here. Please dont leave me in the land of Budweis. . .erm piss beer :)

  47. Vaughn Tiebolt

    Will not be able to detect 15cm spray canisters

    that are hidden in the rectal area.

  48. Andrew Meredith
    Black Helicopters

    Its a ploy by ...

    ... the paramilitary wing of the UK Tourist Board !!

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