Jonathan Corbett is on a mission against the Transportation Security Administration. The blogger and activist has been staunchly opposing efforts to implement advanced imaging technology ever since it was introduced to the nation’s airports in 2007, going so far as to file lawsuit over his beliefs. At issue is the agency’s use of the technology, which many claim is no more effective than a magnetometer but that can potentially see sensitive anatomy.
Mr. Corbett keeps a well detailed blog of his fight over at tsaoutofourpants.wordpress.com, and to illustrate his position he claims to have discovered a manner in which to defeat the 3D scanners. By keeping metal objects at one’s sides, Corbett suggests, scanners blend metallic areas into the dark contrasting background, making it difficult for readers to see any hidden objects in profile. To test the theory he takes a small metal case through a scanner in a special side pocket of his own design.
Whether the method or his theories hold any water is still up for debate. While the video shows Mr. Corbett harmlessly passing through security, it doesn’t verify that the process can’t see from other perspectives or that a chance TSA agent may have been not paying attention. If there is a problem with the system, however, we’re glad that someone pointed it out.
In Germany, a “fleshmob” of semi-naked activists from the Pirate Party staged a body scanner protest at the Berlin-Tegel Airport, reports Discover magazine. German authorities plan to begin using “Nacktscanners,” or AIT (Advanced Imaging Technology), which uses high frequency radio waves to produce images of a passenger’s naked body, across the country within the next two years.
Here and elsewhere abroad, the TSA and its international partners are increasingly employing body scanners as an airport security measure, so items like explosives, weapons, or drugs can be detected beneath a passenger’s clothing. The use of the scanners has become a subject of much public controversy, ever since the would-be “underwear bomber” was thwarted at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Dec. 25 of last year. Many passengers feel that the use of full-body scanners is a violation of their privacy.
Wired states that the German protesters scrawled comments such as, “Be a good citizen–drop your pants,” and “prosthetic [with arrow pointing to the wearer’s leg],” on their bodies. One flesh-toned-clothed woman bore a sign reading, “pixelated,” referring to the option modest passengers have to request a scanner be programmed to produce a blurred image of their body.
For more information on your rights as an air traveler, Reddit has created Fly with Dignity, a “site-based initiative to inform the public.” Want to personally protest body scanners? National Opt-Out Day is November 24th.