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Virtual Nudity at Airports

Recently, I had the pleasure of flying from the new terminal at the San Jose Airport. The building is quite nice from the inside and even has some cool futuristic moving statues. With all the good stuff comes also a set of virtual nudity machines at the security screening point. The virtual nudity machines also known as backscatter x-ray screening promise increased privacy since the naked images of passengers are viewed at a remote location and there is no requirement of a physical examination. As the sign states these machines are optional but whoever refuses must subject themselves to a thorough physical pat down. I already had one really bad experience with the virtual nudity machines at another airport - I was told I was not allowed to wear my watch or any necklaces. Well, this time I chose the metal detector and walked through without any further hassles. However, I had the pleasure of watching every single person who was shepherded through the virtual nudity machines being patted down. One woman had her breast touched - perhaps she dared to wear an underwire bra? The next guy got patted down around his legs. His offense was a chap stick hidden in his pocket. What really amused me was the guy after him who was patted down because he had not removed his handkerchief from his pocket. At the end of the day, anyone going through the backscatter x-ray machines got patted down and spent a significantly longer time at the security checkpoint. This seems like an overly expensive experiment that hopefully will be abandoned soon.

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