Backscatter X-Ray Machines

By Deane Barker on May 17, 2005

Air travelers stripped bare with X-ray machine: Electronic strip search, coming to an airport near you.

Security workers using the machines can see through clothes and peer at whatever may be hidden in undergarments, shirts or pants. The images also paint a revealing picture of a person’s nude body.

And here’s a little lesson in marketing: when you’re pushing a product that is inherently invasive, and some would say degrading, do not call your company “Rapiscan.”

Seriously — that’s what the company that makes this system is called. It shares the first five letters of its name with “rapist.” I’m not a marketing guru, but it strikes that that’s a pretty stupid name for this company.



  1. You’re right about the name if it comes to English speaking countries. In the French/Italian/Spanish name, it has no connotation towards “rapist” but rather to speed (rapid, rapide) – which I guess what was intended in the first place.

    Their website sucks though…

  2. Yeah, I realized later that they mean “rapid-scan,” but still — it takes some thinking to pull that out of it, at least for English speakers. And then you combine that with the product that’s getting all of the publicity, and…bad mojo.

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