February 22, 2008

Security Theater Of The Absurd: Scan-It Toy Security Checkpoint


I know it looks like just a cardboard box with a jacked up Homeland Security Threat Level sticker on the side, but the Operation Checkpoint Scan-It toy security X-ray machine is much more. It has some little beeping thing attached, and it supposedly detects metal. Unlike a real TSA checkpoint, it does not confiscate your baby's formula, and it does not make you pour out your Diet Coke. On the other hand, when you pass your shoes through it, absolutely no threat is detected. JUST LIKE IN REAL LIFE!

When I posted about the SWINXS being a training tool for ubiquitous, automated RFID-enabled surveillance, I was kind of kidding. I mean, that's probably not what the SWINXS is designed for. Not so the Scan-It. Just scan the press release from the patent expert hucksters who've taken the inventor mom under their royalty-tapping wing:

Glendale, California - Wizard Industries, Inc. has announced a new educational aid to make children more comfortable in dealing with our country's need for heighten security.


Supported by an educational website - www.OperationCheckpoint.com - the "Scan-It Toy X-Ray Machine" was developed by a mother of three to help children understand and be comfortable when dealing with the often daunting and sometimes even frightening security protocols demanded of us all since 9-11... and sure to be increased since Virginia Tech.

During her divorce proceedings in early 2000 Kathy Arena was confronted daily with having her and children's possessions searched by the courthouse security scanner. Kathy and her young children were understandably intimidated.


the "Scan-It Toy X-Ray Machine" - a constructive, interactive and educational toy that makes the security screening process easy to understand and maybe even fun.


"My desire in bringing this product to life is to lessen some of the fear children often suffer in our security conscience society", says Arena. The toy was engineered to be a fun and engaging plaything primarily - fun is always the key to learning with young children - and then as a solid tool for teaching and familiarizing children with today's pervasive security processes.

Sounds like someone needs to pass that press release through the Operation Proofread Scan-It Device.

"'Scan-It Toy Security X-Ray Machine' Teaches Children Not To be Afraid”
[As long as they don't have anything to hide [operationcheckpoint.com]
Scan-It Operation Checkpoint Toy XRay, $59 direct, $25 at Amazon [amazon, don't miss the user review by J. Chilton, via boingboing]


Where's the fingerprinting set up and instructions on how to strip search?

I hear they're making a follow up product called "Waterboarding Station for Beginners." I fear for the children whose parents buy them toys like this.

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