Full Body Scan Airport Video: What TSA Officials See, Plus Tech Explainer

Written by Tom Ewing

What do TSA officials see when you go through the full body scan? Check out this video — plus an explainer on how full body scan airport contraptions work and why LAX and various other airports in New York and elsewhere are replacing them. Plus, an xray scanner image — circa 2007, before privacy algorithms were added to these systems — showing just how revealing a TSA research lab will be in the name of security.

aNewDomain.net — Ever wonder what Transportation Security Officials see when you pass through the full body scanner at the airport? I once asked to see a snapshot of the image. No go. But check out this video. LOL. And here’s a piece from the LA Times on why major airports in Los Angeles and New York are replacing them.  Scroll below the fold for details on how such scanners work, what privacy algorithms are and what the controversy is all about.

Full Body Scan Airport Video Spoof: Xraymau5 Youtube Channel

The most common type of full body scanner you encounter at airports is the millimeter wave scanner. Basically it uses extremely high frequency radio waves to replace strip searches as a way of finding hidden items and weapons under the clothes or in orifices. That’s the active type of millimeter wave scanner. Passive types don’t transmit millimeter waves.

A more controversial type of full body scanner is the backscatter X-ray scanner, which is under fire for its ability to show an essentially nude image when so-called privacy algorithms aren’t enabled. For instance, here’s the backscatter X-ray image of Susan Hallowell from 2007, when she was director of the Transportation Security Administration research lab. Screeners generally don’t see such images at airports these days, thanks to that privacy algorithm. Kudos to Hallowell for putting herself bravely out there in 2007. Here’s a 2007 video from the TSA explaining the system and its rationale. Full body scan airport images went into use on May 15, 2007.

Credit 2007 backscatter X ray security scanner image: Wikimedia Commons

The video above is a joke, of sorts, but it does use similar tech to full body scans. Here’s what the full body scans look like for real.

1 Comment