Cyberpunk Review » Welcome to the Future-Xray Nudie Pictures From Phoenix!

February 24, 2007

Welcome to the Future-Xray Nudie Pictures From Phoenix!

Xray Screencap


Ok, so the xray photos on display in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona aren’t as revealing as the shot above (although this was a competing option) - in fact they claim that they’ve made the image look more like a cookie cutter, but with the gun still visible. Backscatter technology is now in production in Phoenix, and the move towards a top notch surveillance state has taken a great leap forward.


PHOENIX - The Phoenix airport on Friday became the first in the United States to test new X-ray technology that can see through people’s clothes and show the body’s contours with blush-inducing clarity.

Critics have said the high-resolution images created by the “backscatter” technology are too invasive. But the Transportation Security Administration adjusted the equipment so the pictures can be blurred in certain areas while still detecting concealed weapons.

During the testing, the machine will be used only as a back-up screening measure. Passengers who fail the standard screening with a metal detector will be able to choose between the new device or a pat-down search.


Cool - so the images the attendants see have been blurred to look cookie-cutter-like. Anyone wanna guess at whether or not the actual images can be saved by this machine? In looking at the feature set some of these backscatter machines have, it’s pretty darn clear that saving and analyzing images is a key selling point. Call me crazy, but I’m guessing its just a matter of months before we get a porno website marketing pictures from airports.


Scanner Darkly Screencap


The real issue though is again this issue of security versus privacy. The US government clearly believes that infringements on privacy are minor annoyances at best. They look at individual point decisions to individual problems versus the trend over time. The Transportation Security Administration seems to be taking this approach, but also seems to realize the public is still skeptical to their safety overtures:


“Privacy and security are not mutually exclusive, and backscatter has potential to be a valuable tool in our layered security approach,” said TSA Administrator Kip Hawley. “There will be opportunity for continued public dialogue as we see how this technology works in the airport setting.”


It’s really nice that they want to continue the “dialogue” as if the public might have a role in this decision. The manufacturers of the backscatter technology used in Phoenix, AS&E, is clearly planning to go after border crossings next. The question though is once previous barriers to our privacy are now breached by the authorities, what’s to stop companies from doing similar things? Why wouldn’t they in fact? Isn’t the argument for going forward the same? Should we expect post offices to start scanning their facilities to stop customers and employees from going “postal”? In fact, other than the price of the systems, what stops the use of this technology anywhere?

Oh, and BTW, - Good news, New York and LA, you’re next!


TSA plans to expand the backscatter pilot later this year to JFK and LAX. There will be opportunity for continued public dialogue as we see how the technology works in the airport setting.

This post has been filed under News as Cyberpunk by SFAM.


February 25, 2007

wiredcoma said:

I was actually just reading about this in the newspaper at work today. It’s just one more piece of proof that it’s a little too late for us to save ourselves from privacy invasion. The balls already and has been rolling downhill.

No doubt in my mind that within the next 10-15 years everything will be under extreme surveillance.

[ETM] said:

Actually, while it’s horrible, I’d be glad to see x-ray porn websites appearing soon… it would compromise this technology for good, and bring public backlash.

Mr. Roboto said:

I believe there are x-ray porn sites on the net already, though they use a thermal camera to take pictures “through” women’s clothes.

Backscatter will probably last long enough for frequent fliers to get cancer from the x-rays before it gets pulled.

wiredcoma said:

Mr. Roboto, are you talking about those Sony cams that had night vision options, but when used in daylight could actually penetrate clothing?

I remember hearing about that on Techtv a long time ago, when it was actually techtv… i miss that channel. :(

From what I remember, Sony stopped production of those cams the moment they realized the cams could do that.

wiredcoma said:

Oh, also, the article I read at work yesterday covered a newer version of backscatter that wouldn’t show the human body at all, but produced a cartoonish outlight of the subject being scanned. But it still showed the weapons and objects being held on them.

christopher said:

i think american’s ridiculous puritanical obsession with nudity and the body image is what’s highlighted here. if this image represents the “porn” these images provide then i certainly have no problem with it.

however as mr roboto noted, i am very concerned with the idea that i’ll be bombarded with xrays every time i travel. that concerns me much more than the xray nudity issue.

of course, the ironic thing to me in this picture is i can’t see the gun.

SFAM said:

Christopher, the issue isn’t really the nudity problem, its the increased invasion of privacy that this technology represents. Once upon a time we believed that the individual had a right to a set of things they believed to be personal in nature. Whether or not you find society too puritanical, the issue is more about whether someone wants their body exposed in this way, or more relevant to the discussion - whether or not they even have this choice any more.

We don’t mind listening to phone conversations, don’t mind removing habeas corpus rights, and don’t mind xray invasions of clothing and buildings if the “need” is there. What’s to stop the government from going over houses with a hilo-mounted Xray device to check for drug labs in our houses?

Better yet, make up your own reason - the question remains, given the assaults on privacy in the last few years, what will our society be like another 10-20 years? The fear is that the surveillance state may be in our future. This, not the nudity, is why I posted the above.

An X-Ray machine that can reveal your religion!

January 16, 2008

schrieb said:

I’m not worried about the nudity, the privacy or security. This is radiation. We are already over-radiating ourselves with unnecessary CT’s instead of physician’s doing clinical exams. The Doc’s are worried about being sued. We are receiving added radiation because we are messing up our atmosphere. Now this. Have people forgotten that radiation is dangerous? It’s not a toy. Any unnecessary exposure is like playing craps with your genetics and future generations. I’m an x-ray tech and fully understand the dangers. I’ll take the pat down any day.

January 17, 2008

Mr. No1 said:

“From what I remember, Sony stopped production of those cams the moment they realized the cams could do that.”

I’m “afraid” they didn’t.

January 18, 2008

Mira Firefly said:

As a transgendered individual, I am very nervous about any technology of this nature. That I am transsexual is my own goddamned deal and is none of the TSA’s business. This opens up a wide, gaping hole for discrimination based on the one region of our body we always assumed we could hide - the midsection. Who cares if I get a tattoo (piercing, ritual scarification, the word “SLUT” branded into my back) there, right? Nobody’s going to see it unless I want them to…


Nobody’s going to KNOW that I’m a chick with a dick unless I tell them…


January 26, 2008

StrangeCat said:

in the future you have nothing to hide because you can hide nothing!

October 15, 2008

daz said:

Look on the bright side they will discover something wrong with your body before you do, and will promptly make a doctor’s appointment for you to attend. That’s after they finish laughing?

Leave a comment

~All Related Entries Related This~


All News as Cyberpunk

<<--Back to top

Made with WordPress and the Semiologic CMS | Design by Mesoconcepts