Indiegogo pulls handheld airport pervscanners off crowdfunding platform

What a time to be alive

Spy hides in dustbin, lifts lid to take photograph

From the department of "just because you can doesn't mean you should" comes news that Indiegogo has put the kibosh on an attempt to crowdsource a portable pervscanner.

After The Reg contacted the crowdfunding platform about the creepy cam, its staffers quickly killed it, saying: "Indiegogo's Trust and Safety team removed the campaign as it was a violation of our Terms of Use."

So you'll need to look elsewhere for your backscatter fix.

Until late yesterday, "PBZ Solutions", fronted by a chap calling himself James Williams, was on the platform trying to raise $20,000 to manufacture a device with a questionable technical aspect and a definite horribleness aspect which sported the not-at-all-creepy tagline, "Want to see people without clothes?"

The Reg, which saw the page before it was pulled, can inform you that the "Xrae" camera, a device which the maker planned to shift for a mere $250, could only take still photos at 1080p resolution. Oh, and users would have needed to be within 4.5m (15 feet) of the victim subject. There's no word on how it would perform image stabilisation or provide backscatter X-ray tech in what looked for all the world to be a normal bridge-type camera (if the mock-ups are to be believed).

Could it do colour? Er, not really. The tech provided an X-ray image which would then be run through some software to "colourise" it, the tin-rattler claimed.

Backscatter X-ray technology is frequently used, and sometimes abused, in airports as part of the security measures the authorities insist upon in order to assure safe air travel. It is an alternative to body searches and can penetrate clothing to reveal hidden items.

The ionising radiation emitted is also a good deal safer than shoving a passenger through the X-ray machine, if not entirely risk-free.

While the use of body scanners in airports for security purposes has been a concern of privacy activists for years, as well as the subject of several lawsuits, Williams, who described himself as "passionate about photography", made the somewhat breathtaking claim that as long as the subject was "aware" they were being photographed, it was legal.

For now, thank heavens, we don't have to worry about being caught in the buff on the Tube. If we ever wanted an Indiegogo crowdfunding product to not deliver the goods, it is this one. But spare a thought for those who poured their hopes and cash into the crowdsourced ZX Spectrum Vega+ and got, well... this. ®




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