Frets Over Privacy Boost Sales of Pasties

November 20, 2010

in Non-Stories


Concerns about airport scanners and privacy issues have come to a head. Many travelers have raised objections over images being taken by full-body scanners of their private anatomy, what some have termed a “virtual strip search.” TSA claimed that citizens had no need to worry since scanners couldn’t “store, print, transmit or save” images, and images are automatically deleted from the systems. However, those reassurances recently fell flat due to an admission from the U.S. Marshals Service that they saved around 35,000 images taken by a scanner in a Florida courthouse. Recently the website Gizmodo posted a hundred of those images that were obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. Fortunately for those who were scanned, the images have very poor resolution. (Note: there are 2 different types of imaging technologies being used by TSA; click here for information about them and to see the differences in images that each one produces. Click here to see a list of U.S. airports using imaging technology.)

Those who opt out of being scanned due to concerns about revealing images or radiation exposure are required to receive a full body pat-down. A firestorm of gripes over the intimate gropes has erupted. Some have likened the pat downs to “molestation” and “sexual assault.” This satirical art piece making the rounds on the net lately conveys the unease that many have about the issue: My First Cavity Search. Some travelers, such as John Tyner who filmed himself on his cell phone saying to TSA officers, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested,” are openly resisting the invasive procedures. According to this article, TSA officers don’t care for the pat downs either: TSA Enhanced Pat Downs : The Screeners Point Of View.

All of the attention about passenger privacy has fallen right into the lap of the company Flying Pasties. Pasties that cover private areas on both men and women are sold on their website which was launched on July 4, 2010. The site claims that their products obscure private parts when going through airport scanners, and that their second generation pasties with “five layers of protection” will protect “sensitive areas” from radiation as well. The pasties, festooned with slogans such as “Only My Husband Sees Me Naked” and “Objects Are Larger Than They Appear,” are made of rubber and are reusable. A copy of the Fourth Amendment – and sanitizer – come with each purchase.

The two videos featured on this post are worth another look in light of the latest airport screening controversies: Airport Security Videos.

Louise November 22, 2010 at 6:20 am

Having opted out of a trip down radiation lane recently I went thru the pat down. In all honesty, it wasn't that horrendous simply because I've been felt up…err patted down before with much more enthusiasm so to speak. My father was serving time in Angola State Penn. in Louisiana and while we were not close I did make arrangements to visit him while there some years ago. The woman who felt me up….oops patted me down truly should have bought me dinner first or at the very least told me her name! If TSA really wanted to make sure no one made it thru security unmolested they'd hire ex prison guards. Dinner beforehand apparently not an option!

D-Money November 23, 2010 at 6:05 am

It's a lose-lose situation. If you don't pose for their naked pictures (or wear the pastie/fig-leaf) then you're going to get stuck with a feel-up/pat-down.

At least the TSA gropers will be wearing gloves. You won't have that guarantee from the sleazy freak sitting next to you if you opt for Amtrak or Greyhound instead of flying.

Gregg - admin January 8, 2011 at 10:16 am

You're right about the "feel-up/pat-down" D-Money. Yesterday TSA announced in its blog (The TSA Blog) that those wearing clothing that conceals body parts will receive a pat-down. Here's a MSNBC article about the matter (includes a video): Unmentionables have unintended consequence.

(Thanks to Stuck at the Airport for the information.)

Mike December 4, 2010 at 8:29 am

Has anybody addressed the issue of gloves not being changed between exams? Can passengers request that gloves be changed proir to their patdown?

Just wondering.


Dr. Sex Potato February 12, 2013 at 12:11 am

You are just as naked. The ugliest parts of you are not your nipples and privates, trust me.

Amber May 20, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Went on a trip while pregnant, opted to not subject my unborn child to radiation of the body scanners as per my doctor's recommendation. All I got was the wand metal detector, if you get stuck having toget a pat down, you deal with it, it's part of flying which is a privilege not a right.

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