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Entries in Privates (6)


TSA: Updates to Airport Screening Tech will Enhance Privacy

In an attempt to finally respond to the public outcry over its advanced screening technology, the Transportation Security Administration is updating its millimeter wave and backscatter imaging devices to protect the privacy of your junk.

Instead of transmitting a "nude" image of each passenger to a TSA agent in a nearby room, the revamped technology will now create a generic outline of each person. Passengers will have an opportunity to view the outline, and the TSA agent viewing the image will no longer be remote.

CNN reported that it "will auto-detect items that could pose a potential threat using a generic outline of a person for all passengers," according to a statement from the TSA.

"If no potential threats are detected, an 'OK' appears on the monitor with no outline, and the passenger is cleared," the statement said.


Checking in on 'Privates' Privacy-enhanced Underwear 

With the TSA security screening controversy starting to heat up again, InHardFocus decided it was time to update readers on Privates, the line of privacy-enhanced underwear that helps ensure passengers' modesty -- and safety -- in today's airport security environment.

Privates clothing is treated with a specialized mix of metallic inks and other materials, and printed with a unique “interference” pattern. The result blocks airport body scanners but will not trigger a metal detector or prompt an enhanced pat-down by TSA operators.

The Privates Test Pilots have been hard at work testing the underwear in the real world. Three months into the Privates Alpha Group project, Betabrand, the clothing innovator that helped create the line, has reported no issues. 

Steve Russell, security expert, IHF editor and the designer of Privates, tested one of the first pairs of the production-ready underwear recently when he was traveling through San Francisco International Airport. 

"I was wearing my Privates when I went through an L3 body scanner in the international terminal of SFO," he said. "I didn't get pulled out of line -- and I went through twice to make sure."

Russell also went through a metal detector and was further inspected by a TSA agent with a handheld metal detector -- both with no incidents or beeps. 

Privates may also help protect passengers from harmful radiation. Since TSA stepped up its screening procedures, question about the safety of the enhanced imaging technology have gone unanswered. TSA officials are dragging their feet to release scanner safety reports; in the meantime, it's up to individual passengers to ensure their own safety and privacy.


New Hampshire Bill Could Make TSA Pat-downs, Scanning Technology Illegal

Despite all the flack TSA has received over its enhanced pat-down techniques and advanced screening technology, I never would have thought TSA agents could be considered "sex criminals." But if New Hampshire legislators get their way, any TSA employee who performs a pat-down or subjects a traveler to the screening technology would be in violation of the law. And some legislators want pat-downs to equate to sex crimes. 

"Let's put their name on our sex-offender registry," said Rep. Andrew Manuse (R.). "And maybe that will tell them, 'Look, New Hampshire means business."



'Privates' Privacy Clothing Proves Effective in Real-world Tests 

It's official: Privates privacy-enhanced clothing is protecting passengers' privacy from the prying eyes of the TSA, which has been using advanced imaging technology and enhanced pat-down techniques to make air passengers squirm since October 2010. And wearing Privates may also help protect your health: The specially-designed underwear may help shield your body's most sensitive tissues from harmful scanner radiation.

The stalwart travelers who signed up for the Privates Alpha test group have experienced great success with the first batch of Privates underwear.

No issues have been reported with Privates testers going through the metal detector or enhanced body scanner at airports nationwide. The passengers' privacy is protected. And since Privates are treated with a specialized mix of metallic inks and other materials, they don't trigger metal detectors or prompt enhanced pat-downs from TSA officials. 

"We are excited to see proof that this technology works in the real world," said Chris Lindland, a product developer at Betabrand, the clothing innovator that helped create Privates. 

In addition to improved privacy, Privates may save your private areas from harmful radiation. Since TSA stepped up its screening procedures, countless reports have been released that question the safety of the enhanced imaging technology. TSA officials are dragging their feet to release scanner safety reports; in the meantime, it's up to individual passengers to ensure their own safety. 

"We are also looking at how these might reduce exposure to body scanner radiation, because so much concern has been raised over the health effects of these scanners," said Stephen Russell, security and privacy expert, founder of In Hard Focus and the designer of Privates. "The Privates 'interference pattern' works by reflecting and absorbing a greater percentage of the radiation emitted. This should, in the end, help protect a passenger." 

Want to learn more about Privates? Visit the official Betabrand Privates site. And there's still time to become a Test Pilot in the Privates Alpha group!


Love New Tech? Sign Up for 'Privates' Test-Pilot Program!

Enthusiastic early adopters love being on the cutting-edge of new technology trends. And Privates is a tech trend unlike any other. 

A joint venture between In Hard Focus and Betabrand, a San Francisco-based clothing innovator, Privates is a line of privacy-enhanced travel clothing that protects your privacy from the Transportation Security Administration's advanced imaging technology. 

Privates boxers and T-shirts are ideal for any modest traveler -- and for those citizens who are simply fed up with TSA's "choices" between the virtual strip search and the enhanced pat-down. Because for many travelers, it's the principle of the thing. And Privates is the ideal way to show TSA exactly how you feel.

“People are afraid of airport scanners for good reason,” said Steve Russell, security and privacy expert and the designer of Privates. “Who wants TSA employees looking at, and possibly keeping records or scans of, your naked body, like what happened recently at a Florida federal courthouse? But ‘opting out’ is even worse. Enhanced pat downs are uncomfortable, awkward and can border on molestation.”

Privates clothing is treated with a specialized mix of metallic inks and other materials, and printed with a unique “interference” pattern. The result blocks airport body scanners but will not trigger a metal detector or prompt an enhanced pat-down by TSA operators.

“The secret is in the optimized application of scanner-blocking materials,” Russell explained. “While the pattern and materials are more than enough to obscure and protect your ‘privates’ from prying eyes, they won’t show up with the intensity or structure of a hidden object—something that would get a traveler pulled out of line.”

Intrepid passengers can join the Privates Alpha Group to become one of 50 test-pilots. They’ll receive a special prototype pair of Privates Underwear to test-pilot, plus two pairs of production underwear when Privates takes flight. Best of all, they’ll get the fame and satisfaction that comes with test-piloting an important product into existence. Privates will be available generally in early 2011. 

Here's your chance to be at the forefront of an amazing technology and security trend. Sign up now to become a Privates Test-Pilot on the Betabrand website!