Airport Body Scanners May Replace Your Naked Body With A Generic Avatar, Eventually

Bloomberg reports that one of the big companies behind airport full-body scanners has released a software update that replaces your misshapen nakedness with a generically proportioned, nondescript avatar. The software then indicates on the avatar where you should be searched.

In addition to protecting citizens from having to virtually disrobe for a stranger, it would remove the need to have a security person sealed off in a room somewhere to view the scans privately.

There’s no timescale on when this could be rolled out. However, the Transportation Security Administration told Bloomberg that “testing is currently underway” and that it would implement the update as it added new scanners to more airports.

“Airport `Naked Image’ Scanners in U.S. May Get Privacy Upgrades” [Bloomberg] (Thanks to Jerry!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Rocket says:

    Can we customize our avatars before we fly?

  2. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Misshapened nakedness? Speak for yourself Walters.

  3. smo0 says:

    OMG I have the best idea…

    make all of the avatars look like voodoo dolls.. with “perforated” lines over sections of areas that need to be search…


  4. humphrmi says:

    I thought this might happen, after there were revelations a few weeks ago that these devices can indeed save images, despite prior TSA assurances otherwise. So now, what with federal lawsuits pending against the TSA, they have to come up with a more “privacy friendly” plan, or risk losing their precious electronic nudie pic generators.

    • verdegrrl says:

      And then there is the question of whether they will have the option of switching between the avatar scan, and the fully nude scan they use now? So the avatar version might exist, but get used selectively.

  5. jvanbrecht says:

    Can I use my warcraft avatar :) oh wait.. I quit that game..

    I want to use my Modern Warfare 2 avatar, do I have to check my sniper rifle, and hand gun with my luggage :)

    Jokes aside.. this whole body scanner issue is retarded… if someone really wants to see my naked outline, let them, its their money thats going to be spent on therapy…

  6. Murph1908 says:

    This doesn’t fix one major issue that is a concern for many.

    There still is a primary image that is translated to the new avatar form. So the original nekkid image still exists, and could still be saved and accessed by techs.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Right. All it will take is a password (freely passed around the TSA office) to change the avatar to the real thing. Of course, no one would ever abuse this feature. And no one is saving these images. Next: you tube videos of naked scans.

    • fs2k2isfun says:

      And it doesn’t solve the health concerns.

    • Framling says:

      Not necessarily. Depending on how the actual scanner operates, I can think of algorithms that would perform a mapping without actually ever holding a true image in memory.

  7. AllanG54 says:

    I wonder if the guys and/or gals screening the people get a supply of barf bags as part of their equipment.

  8. areaman says:

    I like how the assholes that built the full-body scanners and at TSA have to alienate everyone first before they decide they need to make a change.

    Now if they can get their “stories” straight about saving and storing naked images.

  9. thewritejerry says:

    Well, this may or may not take care of the whole “that dude just snapped a personal pic of my package” concern (see Murph1908’s comment about the avatar being the second stage of the process after a real image is displayed for the “may not” worry).

    But I’m still worried about the whole radiation mutating my package thing. I just cannot trust the two sources that say that radiation from these machines is negligible: the government and the manufacturer.

    Guess I’ll stick with the Feel Me Up Real Slow line…

  10. YamiNoSenshi says:

    So the machine tell them where on the doll to touch you?

  11. evnmorlo says:

    Meanwhile the next terrorist plan progresses freely. Only thing that would top 9/11, at least until the WTC is rebuilt, is a ground-based nuclear bomb. And it’s not going to be smuggled into the US in someone’s underwear. Alternatively, simultaneous conventional car bombs would prove effective against the car-centric US, since the one thing we’re missing is vehicle checkpoints where the occasional family’s minivan is lit up by guards. Then, Allah willing, the USA will invade Somalia and North Korea

    • sir_eccles says:

      Now I understand why the WTC hasn’t been re-built! It’s all part of foiling the terrorist’s plans!

      • Conformist138 says:

        Kindergarten logic: If I don’t restack the blocks, there won’t be anything for the bully to knock over. Freedom!

      • Conformist138 says:

        Kindergarten logic: If I don’t restack the blocks, there won’t be anything for the bully to knock over. Freedom!

    • Arcaeris says:

      Good call, since we’ve all seen how much damage one car bomb can do at Oklahoma City. A bunch of them, say even only one or two every block, in some place like NYC would be serious damage.

  12. nbs2 says:

    So, not only do we still have the kiddie porn that is used to generate the avatar (as mentioned above), but we are still dodging the radiation question.

  13. s25843 says:

    They showed this off in Boston in July with a huge press showing with all the typical TSA crap

  14. thekevinmonster says:

    Is it just me, or is this like treating a zit by covering it up with makeup?

  15. scoosdad says:

    If they do this, it would be awesome if after you go through security, you could line up at a counter and see all the recent avatar images displayed up on monitors. You can buy a copy of your photo as a souvenir if you’re so inclined, just like the photo booth after a particularly exciting amusement park or water park ride.

    “Hey, I had my eyes closed there… let’s do it again!”

  16. skapig says:

    I’d feel better already…except that I’m a software guy and have a clue how these kinds of things work.

  17. Promethean Sky says:

    “Show me on the diagram where to touch you.”

  18. TuxedoCartman says:

    I’m going to start popping Viagra and putting a gun-shaped object in my pants before going to the airport. Seriously, if I should be made to feel that uncomfortable for something that’s a joke anymore, I want both the guy on the other side of that scanner AND the lackey who has to feel me up to be equally as uncomfortable.