Come on, what real proof is there the rule change is to be more "embarrassing"? It's utterly stupid on the face of it if you think AT ALL about airport security as it is, and will be in the near future:
1) There are not enough scanners to process traffic flow at any airport.
2) (the big one) only a handful of people get pat downs - the ones who fail the metal detector. Which you don't realize until AFTER you have gone through it, so how is a slightly more embarrassing pat-down which no-one even knows about going to make you want to choose a scanner? Since people assume they are not going to trigger the metal detector why would behavior change in the slightest?
Honestly, more and more SLashdot stores are devolving into utter paranoia. And not even the productive kind.
Pat-downs are given to those who fail either of the automatic methods, or to those who explicitly request opt-out from the backscatter xray.
I belong to the latter group, those who request opt-out. As it would be, hospitals and veterinary clinics have highly trained people with advanced degrees who, when taking any kind of medical imaging, are tracking exactly the exposure that their patients get (and over time). This, so as to minimize and manage the risks from being radiated. They also have people at hand who know how to deal with radiation burns etc.
Airports have.....the TSA. They're neither trained in radiation nor tracking exposure. As exposure is cumulative, there is a real risk.
The general advice has been around here, that if you have a melanoma in certain forms, you definitely should refuse backscatter x-ray because we simply do not know that it won't worsen it, and we suspect that it may.
Thus, having a (common form of) skin cancer sufficient reason for the TSA (the employees of which, for the vast majority, are not licensed to practice medicine) to present "more embarrassing" treatment.
I systematically refuse to go through backscatter x-ray, as I find it unduly invasive, and that it does nothing to further aircraft security. Sometimes the TSA agents ask, and I reply "on medical grounds" - as they are not physicians, they are not competent (and they start to know this) to discuss passengers' medical conditions.
And, for the record, I know of at least one sexual molestation lawsuit having been brought against a TSA agent and the TSA, who enjoyed the "pat-down" of a teenage girl a little too much. Note to TSA agents: if you want to group a teenage girl, pick one whose dad is not both a trial lawyer and just behind her in line .....