There’s been no shortage of outrage over the TSA’s “naked” body scanners, which have been compared to virtual strip searches. For those of you who want to protect your private parts from being ogled by TSA employees, crowdsourced online retail site Betabrand is now offering a scanner-proof undergarment, aptly called “Privates.”
The brainchild of Stephen Russell, the founder and chairman of surveillance search engine and facial recognition company, 3VR Security; Privates essentially distorts the shapes seen in airport body scanners. The garment fuzzes out a traveler’s privates using body scanner resistant materials. But Russell says that the pattern isn’t so dense that it will get you pulled out of line, writing that the “effect is much like wearing a loose sheer piece of clothing.”
Russell says that he used his expertise in scanner technologies to build a prototype that would be resistant. You can read his thoughts on the TSA and more on his blog InHardFocus. As of now, Russell and Betabrand claims that the underwear will not get you pulled out of line for a more invasive search. But the company is seeking 50 travelers to test-pilot prototypes of the underwear to be sure.
To enter the Alpha test, you’ll have to shell out $100 to get the first hand-made edition of Privates (which are scheduled to ship in early January 2011) and the general release version (available later that quarter.)
Seems like a lot of money to bet on something that may cause you to incur more scrutiny and embarrassment at the hands of TSA employees. On the other hand, if this works, the garments could sell like hot cakes considering the controversy around the TSA full body scans and the “pat-downs.”