We have talked about backscatter machines here before. You think when you go the airport that you have some protection against being randomly scanned where the operator of a machine can't SEE YOU UNDER YOUR CLOTHING (why do those old X-ray Johnson Smith glasses come to mind?). Nope.
This picture from Boing Boing shows the machine out in the open turning around and randomly AIMING AT PEOPLE SCANNING THEM.
I snapped this photo of a passive millimeter wave scan machine set up in the main entrance hall at Denver International Airport on Friday evening. The machine was swiveling back and forth, searching people who didn't even know they were being scanned. I'm sure some of the people scanned weren't passengers; they were simply coming to pick up or drop off friends and relatives.
I wanted to see if they would scan my 11-year-old daughter as she walked by so I walked over to the desk with the computer monitor on it. I got a peek at the monitor for a second or two before one of the bald guys to the left of the TSA agent jumped in front of me and said I wasn't allowed to look. I couldn't tell which person was undressed on the monitor.
If federal agents set up this system at a shopping mall, would people care?
Now, the whole idea of the old backscatter was that IF TSA thought you were suspicious and you woudn't submit to a body search (gosh, I can't even believe I'm typing stuff like this!) you would then have to go to a private room and allow some anonymous operator in a back room to see you naked in case you were hiding something under your clothing; naturally you could get some metal plates to put in front of your hoo-hoos to hide them from whoever that person is that is watching you.
Why does ANYONE want to fly? Where are the protests against this?
Here's from an article about this in USATODAY from October 2007
Travelers at the city's Sky Harbor International Airport will receive body scans from a machine the Transportation Security Administration is testing to see if it can be used throughout the USA. The millimeter-wave machine uses similar technology to a controversial X-ray scanner, called backscatter, that the TSA delayed for several years because of privacy concerns.
The new machine, which resembles a large phone booth, bounces harmless radio waves off travelers as they stand inside for several seconds with their arms raised. It produces black-and-white computer images that clearly show the outlines of people's undergarments.
Like its backscatter predecessor, the new machine raises privacy concerns. American Civil Liberties Union privacy expert Barry Steinhardt said the test could pave the way for the machines to be used in arenas and schools. "It's conditioning Americans to the use of these invasive technologies," he said....
The scanning process takes about a minute and will be used in Phoenix only on passengers pulled aside for extra screening at one airport checkpoint. Those passengers will choose between being scanned by the machine, which uses extremely high-frequency millimeter waves, or being patted down by a screener. "It avoids a pat-down, which a lot of people find distasteful," TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe said.
Yeah. Because they don't like being treated like a friggin CRIMINAL.
The TSA test will determine how well the ProVision machine, made by government contractor L-3 Communications, finds weapons and whether it can operate quickly enough to replace metal detectors at checkpoints. Similar machines are used at courthouse entrances in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, and at airports in Amsterdam, Madrid and Moscow.
Now let's just go back and think again about that dang machine that Boing Boing points out is IN THE OPEN and AIMING at people. Anybody besides me think this is not just intrusive but unconstitutional and begging for a lawsuit?