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TSA Rolling Out 'Gingerbread Man' Scanners at Select Airports

August 12, 2011 at 1:50 PM | by | ()

TSA has finally begun deploying the Gingerbread Man scanners that we started telling you about last February. The scanners detect suspicious objects and project them onto androgynous, human-shaped cutouts, the upshot being that they're as effective as current full-body scanners but without all the "having people see you naked" discomfort.

Reports are surfacing that the scanners have already been deployed to BWI and TPA.

The same rules apply to these scanners as to previous full-body scanners, which is to say that you get pulled aside if the machines detect a suspicious object or you refuse screening. But we expect, at the very least, that less people will opt out of scanning now that their actual images aren't being viewed by some unknown agent in some locked room.

We still think there's an argument to be made that TSA should have started with this kind of technology, and that the agency was swayed into wasting money in part by scanner lobbyists who flooded DC. It seems difficult to defend spending billions and billions of dollars, and changing airports' security protocols over and over, for machines that were only going to be used for a couple of years. Someone should have said "it's likely that these will create a huge public backlash, and that we'll have to almost immediately replace them, and so maybe we should skip ahead to something we'll be able to use."

But why dwell on the past, when we could be focusing on the positives? Some day, right here in America, people will be able to walk through airports without having to suffer intrusive and potentially humiliating security checks. Sure that seems like a dream today, because who could possibly imagine a country where average citizens aren't searched like criminals just because they want to get on an airplane? But some day it just might happen.

[Photo: Flying With Fish]

Archived Comments:

May be a gingerbread man....

But it won't stop the brain cancer

Scanner Lies

The scanner safety has been questioned by many academic and scientific groups and the images are far more graphic than TSA will admit. A lawsuit revealed that TSA has stored these images and TSA acknowledged this. So there are thousands of nude images of passengers being stored in computers without their knowledge. Denver TSA Area Director Pat Ahlstrom said of the scans "They were graphic, no doubt about it." This from someone who has seen these images firsthand. So the TSA story about these being "chalk outlines" is clearly a lie being used to pacify travelers. TSA fails to mention that this only applies to the L3 MMW scanners and is not available on the Rapi-Scan x-ray scanners which will continue to produce nude images. Nor is there any proof that the naked image won't still be displayed in a back room instead of a cartoon version. TSA has also neglected to inform passengers that most of these very graphic nude images are viewed by male screeners. TSA has difficulty attracting female screeners and those tare put into service at the checkpoint to conduct pat downs. Travelers prefer to ignore the fact that their wives and daughters naked bodies are being ogled by male screeners. It is sickening that so many people are willing to allow a government agency to sexually assault their children a just to fly. http://www.travelunderground.org/index.php?threads/master-lists-of-tsa-abuses-crimes.317/