Joe Beda
I'm flying tomorrow and I'm not sure of my approach to these new scanners. Ug.
Meh. Don't worry about the health issues; the amount of X-ray they put out is about the same as the amount you get from flying at cruising altitude for 1-2 minutes. And the airport check-in process already strips you of all dignity, this is but a small step. - Tudor Bosman
Yeah -- I'm not worried about the health stuff. I did a little bit of research and came to the same conclusion. The whole "seeing you naked" thing really irks me but I can't imagine that the operator will get much out of it considering they see a gazillion people a day. - Joe Beda
Apparently the backscatter image (with your face blurred) is sent to an operator in a different room who can signal to the operator "on the ground" whether you should be subjected to additional screening or not. No one sees both your face and your naked scan; it's one or the other. - Tudor Bosman
I think you can ask to skip it. That's what I did. It's not that I mind being seeing naked -- I just enjoy the nice pat-down they provide instead :) - Paul Buchheit
You should just strip naked right there as a protest. :) - Private Sanjeev
Yeah, I'm sure they'd love that and wouldn't send me to jail or anything. That's what I love about the airport really -- it's the great sense of humor everyone there has ;) - Paul Buchheit
Do these scanners reflect anything? You might be able to find some type of paint marker that it reflects, and write “HEY!” on your body underneath your clothing. - Amit Patel
Paul: of course they have a sense of humor! :) - Tudor Bosman
I had a chance to watch this full body scanner in action on Friday and it's a comedy. When flying, in order to reduce the number of items to take off by one I always wear my stretch belt with a plastic buckle. It turnes out these plastic buckles set off these new scanners. TSA workers are well aware of the nuisance and apparently hate the delay such false alarms cause. So, after seeing the buckle, they asked me to walk through a standard metal detector frame instead! Security FAIL. - eugenio
Plastic buckles might be de rigeur. The TSA is making the "pat down" so invasive most people will rather go through the machines. - Private Sanjeev
@Sanjeev, great article! - Simon
Tudor, X-ray exposure isn't the worry. It's Terahertz waves: I opted out of the scanners for that reason when I flew to my brother's wedding this year. - Bruce Lewis
Also, I am withdrawing my comment not to worry about health issues. Backscatter X-ray machines do deliver a significantly lower dose, but that dose is disproportionately delivered to the skin. A number of UCSF professors have written a "Letter of Concern" about this to Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. PDF link: - Tudor Bosman