Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Problems with TSA Body Scanners

Unless you like the idea of showing your junk to the US Government every time you fly, you're probably unhappy with the new "Naked Body Scanners" and "Enhanced" pat downs. Or maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about. Either way, you should read this:

1. The backscatter x-ray technology used by the US produces a detailed, graphic outline of your body parts. A less invasive option would have been the ProVision ATD radio scanners used in Amsterdamn, which do not produce images of passenger bodies, only items found on the body. Why don't we use these now? Well, TSA Administrator John Pistole's answer is that

"these “blob” machines, as opposed to the “naked” machines, are the “next generation” of screening technology. His concern, he said, is that “there are currently a high rate of false positives on that technology, so we’re working through that.”"

I would take a false positive over my naked body being printed in an image any day. But at least the images aren't being saved, right? Think again...

2. All US scanners machines have the capacity to save your body scans and some of them ALREADY HAVE. Last August, a Florida courthouse using the machines admitted to saving "tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system." But don't worry, TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz assures us that "the agency's scanners are delivered to airports with the image recording functions turned off." And since turning that function on would be against the rules, its not like anyone would ever do that.

Well, at least all these scans are going to keep us safe, right? Sorry, wrong again..

3. The new body scanners let many dangerous objects through. Adam Savage of Mythbusters recently passed through with 2 12-inch STEEL RAZORBLADES in his jacket pocket. The scanners also miss any items below the skin or in body cavities, and cannot detect "plastics or ceramics used in bomb-making."

So, if body scanners can't protect us, what should we do? Should we submit everyone to an enhanced pat down and cavity search? That doesn't sound very fun or time-effective. Instead, FOX NEWS has an idea: profiling. "We have limited resources; why don't we use them on the 19-year-old Yemeni exchange student and not the 90-year-old grandmother or the nun who's been at the same convent for 50 years?" Hmmmm. This does seem like a time-saver, and you know who else uses this strategy? Israeli Airports.