The “backscatter” superman x-ray vision machine is out for a test run in Phoenix, Arizona. What the x-ray vision machine does, basically, is that it sees through your clothes. It can’t see through skin, however, so you will still be able to smuggle objects onto airplanes in your bodily orifices.
Some people who don’t like the x-ray vision machine (terrorists!) complain that it is invasive. Actually, I can see where they are coming from. I guess that if I wanted people in the airport to see me naked, I would just walk through the airport naked.
The x-ray vision machine fans (Fatherland Security) have set the machine to blur images in sensitive areas. I guess that means that they won’t be able to tell if you wax your pubes, but they’ll probably be looking to see if you have a tattoo on your tit or a piece of dynamite sticking out of your butt.
Thus far, passengers cannot be forced to reveal themselves to the x-ray vision machine. Only those who are picked out for further screening are being offered the opportunity. And they can choose to go for the old-fashioned pat-down search instead.
Fatherland Security claims that the x-ray vision machine can neither store nor transmit the images of nudity it creates. But the Associated Press tells us –
The TSA said that the security officer who works with the passenger going through the screening will never see the image the machine produces. The images will be viewed by another officer who will be about 50 feet away and won’t see the passenger.
Maybe I am just technologically retarded, but that sounds like some sort of image transmission to me.
The test run at Sky Harbor International Airport* is expected to last for up to 90 days. If Fatherland Security is happy with the x-ray vision machine, and they seem to be so far, then they will most likely leave it in place. LAX and JFK could have them too by the end of this year.
And someday the x-ray vision machine won’t be voluntary anymore and then it will be primary rather than secondary. But for now, no one at the airport is going to be seeing through my clothes – I’d prefer to be touched up, please.
* totally naff name; it’s real though