Boycott Airport Bodyscanners?

Via elephant journal
on Jan 6, 2010
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Say “Cheese!”

Violate Privacy or Protect against Terrorism? Is there a Middle Way?

say cheese

Update: Judging by this Reuters video, seems there’s no violation. But this video really seems to show more detail being exposed.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ~ Ben Franklin.

Airport Body Scanners, already getting installed, are being touted as a reasonably un-invasive means to virtually strip search airline passengers. But there’s fears they’re radioactive, that they “tear apart” DNA, and that they’re a bit…perverse—showing private parts and ghostly naked bodies.

boycott airport bodyscanners body scannersbodyscanners

Excerpt and image below via Bild:


The German government is seriously considering installing the machines following the US attack, which saw Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab try to blow up a plane with explosives he had smuggled on board in his underwear.

Although he failed when other passengers overpowered him, experts say the scanners would help prevent a repeat by identifying hidden weapons and explosives.

How does the scanner work?

With the best-known model, passengers are flooded with microwaves which are reflected by the body and then analysed to produce a pale image.

A scan – which produces a low humming – takes about six seconds and an analysis can be made in 30 seconds.

How intimate are the pictures?

Security advisor Hans-Detlef Dau (54, Hamburg), who sells the scanner, said: “Unlike with a complete X-ray examination, the rays do not go deeply under the skin. They see only the things which lie over it, so bladed weapons and firearms as well as ceramics.

“Beyond that, they show intimate piercings, catheters and the form of breasts and penises.

“But newer devices can automatically distort intimate areas in the picture.”

What remains hidden?

Dau added: “Things which lie under the skin cannot be seen.

“So for instance implants, cardiac pacemakers, artificial joints, tumours, tampons or coils.

“Scars are at most difficult to recognise, tattoos cannot be at all.”

Pregnancy cannot be recognised either...for the rest, go to Bild, it’s a good summation.

naked body scanner privacy boycott

So, they’re an invasion of our privacy. But privacy is a sacrifice we have to make in times of war, right?

“He who trades liberty for security deserves neither, and will lose both.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

It’s a tough balance: fight terrorism? Protect our freedoms, our rights? Can we do both?


If only we had Superman (or Superboy) to protect us.

bodyscanner body scanner

The Boycott Bodyscanners group says:

Please sign the International Boycott of Body Scanners (IBBS)

With thanks for the heads up on the Facebook boycott group (photoshopped photos, below) to Evan Ravitz.
bodyscanners boycott
“A group of ppl book a cheap flight. like a $99 Jet Blue. Then when we are about to go thru the body scanners refuse.. take off all of our clothes and unfurl a soft material banner and hold it up for a cameraman stationed nearby who will film to catch airport security reactions etc. This is a bold protest, and possibly dangerous. But a stunt like this will garner national attention. Especially if we can get groups to do it all over the country.”


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22 Responses to “Boycott Airport Bodyscanners?”

  1. I'm sure they can figure ways to do both–protect our privacy (genitalia, etc) and expose hidden stuff. Let's hope so.

  2. NellaLou says:

    What ever happened to those "puffer" machines that were supposed to detect explosives? Oh yes they didn't work.

    Another interesting take at Mother Jones

  3. Andrew A. says:

    Just another good reason to not fork over money to the polluting airline industry. It is yet more window-dressing, there to impress the gullible without doing much of anything substantive to accomplish the stated mission.

    Now, where is our high-speed train system?

  4. Thank you so much, Jamie. Far more readers come through this page than our page, so it's helpful to have some discussion here of the intelligent, detailed, passionate kind we were having over on our FB Page. Really appreciate it.

  5. DMKT says:

    Ever hear that old saying about the road to hell being lined with good intentions?

  6. My point really was that you have a choice about whether you go down that road at all. Choose not to.

  7. DMKT says:

    Another excellent article – and thought provoking (hopefully) for those who see no problem or invasion of privacy because the "screening" keeps them safe.

    ~ and TimesNewRoman is entirely right, it is my choice. I choose to refuse.

  8. You don't have a choice to fly, considering it's far and above the fastest way to get just about anywhere, particularly overseas. That said, I'm fine with them protecting our safety at expense of our privacy (and private bits, we searched for images and yes, what we found were just about all of females, surprise)…if indeed these are safe, which xrays aren't, and if they're effective, which blogs (like Gawker) have already pointed out that they aren't. For example, Al Queda etc could easily insert something up someone's rectum, and it wouldn't show up.

    That Ben Franklin quote bears reading, and rereading.

  9. Oh, and if we were less inept on the front end (screening), that gent wouldn't have made it on the flight in the first place. And this 8 year old wouldn't be hassled every time he tries to fly.… We're inept. Overreaction is classic behavior of the lazy and inept.

  10. The ACLU's view is surprisingly even on subject of bodyscanners:

  11. Via my pal Brett Greene:
    Government lied about citizens privacy issues? Surprised? -Airport Scanners Can Store, Transmit Images

  12. Via my friend David E:
    Written before the Christmas day fiasco that thrust these scanners into the mainstream awareness, this short post is worth a read.

  13. Andres Reul says:

    excellent internet site lplease generate more often

  14. cris says:

    Thats Cheech Marin in that photo! has anyone on Elephant Journal done military service time???

  15. Jay Tomlinson says:

    Everyone should just wear their bombs on the outside, has anyone thought to suggest that ?

  16. Jane says:

    We must be rather bored as a nation if the best thing we can find to get upset about is being seen pseudo-naked by some TSA agents. Aren't there more important things to protest going on in the world?

  17. Mike St. Germain says:

    I wonder how many people that are all for these scanners would be all for allowing me to carry a firearm aboard the plane? You know, so I can feel safer.

  18. jcrows says:

    Don't "touch my junk" John Tyner full video

  19. elephantjournal says:

    They don't find anything hid up their butts, either.