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Airport Security Scanners in USA No Longer Show You Naked

So they don’t want to look at my junk anymore?

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No longer do you need to worry about a bunch of 22 year old, under-educated TSA agents making fun of your anatomy as they look upon a rendering of your sprawled-out, naked body on their little screens, as airport security machines in the USA now produce nudity free images. With the use of what has been dubbed “generic imaging” with “Automated Target Recognition software,” the images produced look more like goofy illustrations or claymation than actual people. Showing just your outline, the new images look like this:


As oppose to this:


Apparently, this new imaging technology is able to detect objects on your person based on data obtained from sensors.

From Wired.com:

The Transportation Security Administration is pulling the plug on its nude body scanner program, a decision announced Friday that closes the door to a tumultuous privacy battle with the public scoring a rare victory.

Travelers will continue to go through one of two types of scanners already deployed, but images of naked bodies will no longer be produced. Instead, software will instead show a generic outline of a person.

From Slate.com:

The new breast-, buttock-, and scrotum-free cartoon image is so family-friendly that TSA will show it on a monitor right next to you as you’re scanned. “Passengers are able to view the same outline that the TSA officer sees,” says the TSA press release. No more secrets.

In fact, unless you’re wearing something that triggers the scanner’s threat detection alert, the monitor won’t even show a cartoon image. As TSA’s online spokesman, Blogger Bob, demonstrates, it’ll just show the word “OK.”

Pause for a moment and think about that. The monitor next to you, which supposedly eliminates secrecy by showing you what the TSA officer sees, will show you nothing. And yet, your naked body has just been scanned. So the monitor isn’t showing you what TSA has seen. It’s showing you what the TSA officer is seeing. And those two things are now different, thanks to the new “Automated Target Recognition” software. The job of scrutinizing your naked body has been taken away from human beings and reassigned to computers.

Read our article about backscatter and millimeter wave airport security machines and how to tell them apart.


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Filed under: Air Travel

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3717 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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