Co-Ed Naked Airport Security: X-Ray Scanners Strip Search Passengers

By Nina Bai | October 23, 2008 6:18 pm

scannerIf you’re flying to Australia anytime soon, be prepared to show a lot of skin at the airport. From now until the end of November, Melbourne airport is testing out new X-ray scanners that can see through clothing and leave little to the imagination. The scanners may soon replace pat downs with “virtual strip searches,” which officials say will save time at security check points. For the trial period, only passengers who volunteer will be scanned.

The full-body scanners use low-energy X-rays that reflect off skin to provide chalky images of naked bodies. They will reveal any hidden objects, even nonmetal ones that would be bypassed by traditional metal detectors.

But is it really necessary to see everything? Apparently, yes. Cheryl Johnson, general manager of the Office of Transport Security, says they decided not to blur out genitals or breasts because it would “severely limit the detection capabilities.” They will, however, blur out people’s faces. Johnson also assures passengers that the images will not be saved and that the security officer examining the images will be located in a private area (supposedly so they won’t be able to compare X-ray images with the real thing).

Not surprisingly, many are not happy with the idea of a peep show at check-in. The European Commission has been pushing to add these scanners to its airports but the European Parliament (the legislative body of the EU) voted today to put the measure on hold for further study.

Related Content:

DISCOVER: No-Touch Pat Down
80beats: Peeling Scotch Tape Powers X-Ray Machine

Image: flickr/ redjar

MORE ABOUT: security, X-rays
  • Full Body Xray

    Thankfully they voted to put this on hold till further investigations on privacy and health have been completed.

    Its a great idea to combat terrorism but the full body xray just violates a persons human rights on all levels!

  • The Living

    Full Body, I’d like to be alive rather than be blown up thank you very much.

  • Mr Bob

    I would like one of the scanners to built into the next version of iphone…. come on Steve Jobs get with the times….


    Well.. i dont reckon this a smart idea at all, this is surely a unethical thing. Security at the stake of human respect must not be executed. regards.

  • Rich

    First time I’ve flown since before 9/11 (Alb to Stl) and agreed readily for the scan. No big deal, isn’t like I will be on the net. The observers (security) are professionals and highly trained.
    I felt safe. I feel all passengers AND crews should be required to be scanned in such manner. One never knows who or when one is going off the deep end. Implulsive, suicidal, mass murderer or planned I don’t know you.

  • Xydtipaht

    SCAN SCAN SCAN away. Yes, I will gladly show my eggs and sausage to fly free of fear.

    You, dudes with stupid civil liberties bulls**t. You want to discuss all that s**t when you are roasting in a giant flying metal coffin on your way to hell…bon voyage!!!!

    I will say again in plain English “Let then see your privates = safe flight. Be a CL & F freak, don’t scan = live in fear of being blown up.”

    Be a MAN, grab your balls, smile and walk on through.

    PS: Besides if me naked excites the security people, Yahooooooo.

  • niner

    Wow, the cowardice of some is shocking.


  • Lisa

    Worthy of note AND crew – we have a far greater risk of having the flight crew be food poisoned by unscanned ground and catering crews than we do of having our planes turn into a “giant flying metal coffin”

    Israel has a excellent record at their airports with not a scanner in sight.

    Just another way of selling the fear at an outrageous financial cost to the taxpayers. Not buying, if you are that scared of getting on a plane stay home – we don’t need your scanners perving at us or our children.

    Naked images of children are child pornography whether they are stored or not. And I have yet to hear anyone state that the images are not stored there OR SENT ANYWHERE ELSE TO BE STORED!

    Paranoid? Why yes I am thank you for asking! I’m also sick of politicians lying to me and trying to scare me out of my rights!

  • GeneralInfo

    The problem is that all it provides is a FEELING of security, not real security. So far, there is not one past airline-related terrorism incident that would specifically have been caught by these scanners.

    Experts evaluating them say they would not have cuaght the underwear bomber. They would not catch anything inside body cavities or under the skin. They would not even have prevented the 9/11 hijackings. The ‘weapons’ those individuals used were actually ALLOWED on planes back then and airport security KNEW they had them and let them on anyway.

    These scanners may make you FEEL safe, but they have not actually increased security at all. (Ranks right up there with TSA never actually catching any actual criminals/terrorists/suspect, etc.) So far, they only have caught little old ladies, nuns, and men that object to being groped…people like that..

  • benny350


  • Pingback: mavrodim()


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.

See More

Collapse bottom bar