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Backscatter technology reveals hidden non-metalic weapons
Phoenix Sky Harbor first to deploy controversial scanner

Frequent flying passengers may start to find themselves searched not by metal detectors but by electronic eyes that see through clothes. Thanks to a technology called backscatter, passengers walk through an x-ray type machine that is sensitive to peer through clothing but not through skin, making the image appear as though only clothes have been removed. The first airport to deploy the technology will be Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Originally, the controversial technology was deemed to be too invading allowing security officials to see through people's clothes without appropriate consent. However, the Transportation Security Administration said that it has since modified the technology so that certain areas of the body are blurred. The technology displayed such a clear image of a person's body previously. Privacy concerns remain high but the TSA assures that privacy will be maintained. Only an authorized security official will be operating the scanner and only from a remote location for example. This prevents the person operating the scanner from being able to see what the passenger looks like in person and possibly causing a problem. Pictures scanned by the new x-ray machine will not be available to those around it and only to the main operator.

The plan is to launch the new x-ray device in more airports across the U.S. Some airports in Europe have already deployed the new x-rays and the technology is being used in high security areas such as prisons. The main need for the new machine is to help detect non-solid explosives and chemicals that would otherwise escape traditional scanner.

More airports are to deploy the new x-ray scanners in early 2007. Interestingly, passengers will have a choice of either passing through the scanner or use the traditional pat-down method. Passengers who fail the first phase of scanning however, will be automatically subjected to the new x-ray.

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Not a privacy issue?????
By JWalk on 12/5/2006 4:56:27 PM , Rating: 5
It amazes me how quickly people are willing to give up their rights these days. All you have to do is say the word "terrorist" and the majority of American citizens will bow down and let you strip them of every liberty.

This x-ray scanner is an invasive breach of privacy. Period.

And the argument that you can always take another form of transportation is asinine. How long will it be before we are required to drive our cars through machines like these at designated checkpoints. You know, just to be "safe".

Or, how about random body cavity searches. After all, we need to "make sure". And the day that happens, you will have a bunch of people on here saying, "That shouldn't be a problem, unless you are trying to hide something."

This country is quickly trading in their rights to life, libery and the pursuit of happiness for the illusion of safety. If you are that afraid to live your life, then lock yourself up in your basement and cry yourself to sleep each night. The rest of us are going to live as best we can.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By spluurfg on 12/5/2006 5:14:37 PM , Rating: 5
Agreed. The most common thing I hear is 'well I have nothing to hide'. That seems to suggest that only those who have something to hide would object to sacrificing their civil liberties. This, and the notion that the authorities are run by powers more perfect than the average citizen have created a mindset that doesn't even utter a peep when we lose our rights to privacy.

Remember that not all of those who are in power are shining paragons of virtue who would avert their attention from an interesting telephone conversation or security photo. Remember Senator McCarthy?

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By OxBow on 12/5/2006 5:32:31 PM , Rating: 1
I disagree in this case. Most of the crazy ideas that this administration has put forward for our "protection" would make George Orwell roll over in his grave. However, flying is a priveledge and not a right, just like driving. No one is forcing you to go into the airport. They aren't installing these in the supermarkets, etc.

I just feel sorry for the poor schmuck who gets the job of monitoring this thing. It's not like it's a string of supermodels are the only people who will be walking through this thing. I, for one, would not want to have to watch 10,000 middle aged businessmen walk across my work monitor nude all day long.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By JWalk on 12/5/2006 5:56:12 PM , Rating: 3
The right to travel is a part of the "liberty" of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment ... Freedom of movement across frontiers in either direction, and inside frontiers as well, was a part of our heritage. Travel abroad, like travel within the country, may be necessary for a livelihood. It may be as close to the heart of the individual as the choice of what he eats, or wears, or reads. Freedom of movement is basic in our scheme of values. "Our nation," wrote Chafee, "has thrived on the principle that, outside areas of plainly harmful conduct, every American is left to shape his own life as he thinks best, do what he pleases, go where he pleases."
-- Justice William O. Douglas, Kent v. Dulles (1958)

I believe Justice Douglas would disagree with your assertion that air travel is a privilege. It is not. It is a right.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By rcc on 12/5/2006 6:18:49 PM , Rating: 5
Don't be silly. Air travel is not a right. The ability to travel where you will is. The method is not. After all, what right to a flight does someone have if they can't afford the fare.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By phil126 on 12/5/2006 6:59:49 PM , Rating: 1
You do have the right to fly domestically. That is major leagal reason why domestic passports could never succeed. Being able to afford something does not change whether or not it is a right. You always have the right to property in USA. It does not say you if you can't afford something it should be cheaper.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By smitty3268 on 12/5/2006 7:30:23 PM , Rating: 1
There is no right that says you can fly if you have the money, if there were then the No Fly list wouldn't be able to have any Americans on it.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By deeznuts on 12/5/2006 8:03:56 PM , Rating: 2
No you don't. There is no right to fly. If all airlines went bankrupty tomorrow would we be able to demand the government set up a state-run airline? No.

Ever watch the southwest show? Refuse passengers all the time.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By rushfan2006 on 12/6/2006 10:02:11 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Flying is not a right. Any airline can refuse any passenger for any reason(*). (*=as long as its not soley based on discrimination like race, religion, gender, etc.).

Now on the larger picture with the topic at hand, I don't know what the answer is -- if I was smart enough for that I'd probably be making millions a year. ;)

But I know the answer lies somewhere in the middle of addressing the privacy concerns while also addressing the security concerns.

You can say both views of "If you got nothing to hide" AND "What are we supposed to do live our lives in a basebent crying" (to borrow another poster's wording).....but Actually yeah if you have nothing to hide is the view I have, but yet this x-ray scanner is a bit much.

On the other hand, its straight out ignorance to think no security measures, even ones that are a little intrusive on our sense of total freedom, shouldn't be taken.

That's just stupidity to me....the world changes, you have to change with it. It is the product of our society -- when people blow up planes, when more and more hijackings happen each year, when millions of religious fanatics are obsessed with ruling the world and have the elimination of this country (USA) on top of their hit list.....of course you must have more security measures.

And for those that like to quote the consititution just keep in mind two things....the constitution was written over 200 years ago, there were no threats from unstable nations seeking atomic bombs...there were no such thinks as commercial jet traffic to crash into buildings....AND the constitution is a living document....which means the forefathers of the constitution they themselves knew that the document had to be able to change with the times and the challenges of the times that they couldn't foresee.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By NaughtyGeek on 12/6/2006 10:43:31 AM , Rating: 5
Let me start this off by explaining that I am playing devil's advocate and that the following thoughts don't necessarily reflect my own personal beliefs.

Now, let's say for the sake of argument that terrorists had nothing to do with 9/11 and various other recent attacks. How about the governments of several influential nations conspired to carry out attacks to instill a sense of fear in their respective populations.

Following these attacks, the easiest way to quell the public concern is to enact new laws foregoing centuries of precedent. These new policies begin a transition within world governments to track the actions of their citizens with greater ease.

These governments start out targeting high profile groups who have, through previous actions, alienated themselves from the general public. Because of these groups high profile social dissent, the public in general has no problem singling them out for higher levels of scrutiny.

Fast forward a couple decades. Which group is now socially unacceptable? The majority of people don't belong to the "insert your political or religious preference here" group, so the public feels it's OK to single them out as possible threats.

You now find that because you're Jewish, Catholic, Republican, or whatever so you're labeled a terrorist and are therefore not granted due process because of your beliefs. They lock you up in a secret prison and throw away the key.

These recent changes are a culmination of previous and current generations view's that "I don't have anything to hide, so it's OK if that right is removed." It's a slippery slope we're on and Big Brother is more prevalent and powerful than most people realize.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By Donkeyshins on 12/6/2006 3:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
You now find that because you're Jewish, Catholic, Republican, or whatever so you're labeled a terrorist and are therefore not granted due process because of your beliefs. They lock you up in a secret prison and throw away the key.

Actually, given who has been running the country over the last six years, you'll probably be safe if you are any one of the groups you listed...

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By iNGEN on 12/7/2006 1:14:37 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno about that. The tyrants of the world have a tendency to do terrible things to groups politically & ethnically similar to themselves. Hitler was a Jew and Stalin was a Georgian...

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By Visual on 12/12/2006 3:40:07 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong, it is a right. Buy a plane, fly all you want, whereever you want.
Well... except, you do need to have a licence, you do have to follow a bunch of regulations about where, when, how and what to pilot, etc. Much like driving a car, air travel is a right noone can deny to you if you do it properly.

But getting on the plane owned by some other individual or company and having them transport you is certainly not a right. That plane is a private property, the owner grants you the privilege to use it against a certain reward, and only then you do have a right to go there. He can ofcourse deny to grant you that privilege, even for no reason at all.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By spluurfg on 12/16/2006 7:30:25 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not trying to say that Airport security isn't necessary -- I think it definitely is. It's just that we, as citizens, have an obligation to understand and demand the rights dilineated in the Constitution, which the earliest American patriots fought and died for. These security measures deserve DEBATE and consideration of all aspects that they entail.

Basically I'm afraid that the average American is too quick to simply permit the 'powers that be' to make whatever decision they like, and also that the decision making process which governs our rights are too far removed from our control.

How often do we hear about these security measures BEFORE they're signed by executive order?

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By lukasbradley on 12/6/06, Rating: 0
RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By rushfan2006 on 12/6/2006 10:08:41 AM , Rating: 2
What is really amazing -- is the overwhelming number of US citizens (of which I am one btw)...that are living in a fantasy world completely ignorant of just how truly volatile the middle east is right now and just how honestly dire the situation is.

But yet we are all arm-chair quarterbacks to our military and our government's decisions, as we sit back playing our wii's and ps3's....and stuffing our faces with cheeseburgers and french fries without a care in the world....

Not that I think (and trust me I sleep well at night) one should be doom and gloom and paranoid -- that isn't a way to live...but at least be aware of how dangerous the times really are that we live in.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By Screwballl on 12/6/06, Rating: 0
RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By rykerabel on 12/7/2006 11:20:11 AM , Rating: 2
Veteran here.

Um, no, we need the armchair warriors too. Someone has to say what they feel is right or the thought does not spread.

personally, this further restriction of American Liberties is an insult to every soldier who has died defending the Liberties that we keep loosing to our legislators.

Security is the lamest excuse ever. Its a direct example of fight for freedom or loose it. "Fighting for your freedom" by definition is NOT SECURE.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By djkrypplephite on 12/7/2006 6:36:21 PM , Rating: 1
This guy has it exactly. While yes, they are slowly stripping us of our rights and that is unacceptable, we must also realize at the same time that there IS a reason behind it. There really ARE people out there trying to kill us all the time.

And because we're a bunch of pussies, we can't ust straight up tell Abdul only he needs to be searched because 99.999999999% of the terrorists are ARAB! and if he complains, too bad, no flight. Yeah, it sucks he looks like a terrorist, but he looks like a terrorist nonetheless. This country is filled with politically correct pussies who have to tell a black, white, or mexican woman that she has to be x-rayed through her clothes so that some arabian guy doesn't get into a hissy-fit.

You're all pussies.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By JSK on 12/6/2006 11:28:06 PM , Rating: 2
However, the Transportation Security Administration said that it has since modified the technology so that certain areas of the body are blurred.

Where is Razor when we need a good software crack...

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By Christopher1 on 12/9/2006 7:47:11 AM , Rating: 2
This isn't really a privacy issue for me, and I am a libertarian to the FAR EXTREME left.

Really, I would rather go through one of these machines and have them "see my bits", than have to strip naked in one of those backrooms.

The only people who are protesting something like this are people who are ashamed of their bodies (I am overweight, and I am not) or those who have been religiously brainwashed into thinking that it is wrong for people to see their naked bodies.

RE: Not a privacy issue?????
By kkwst2 on 12/11/2006 8:45:21 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. I fail to see how this is a privacy issue. You're in a public place, and already subject to random search. Isn't this better?

A privacy issue would be them scanning you while you're in your car or at home. Tapping random lines and reading your email - that's the scary stuff, and that's already happening. I don't see how this fits in that category.

Crying privacy invasion after everything sort of dilutes the message, no?

Finally - Technology We Always Wanted
By TomZ on 12/5/2006 3:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, finally the technological equivalent of "x-ray glasses," something that many have dreamed of for many years. We just need a compact, portable version now. BTW - kidding.

RE: Finally - Technology We Always Wanted
By feraltoad on 12/5/2006 4:05:01 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think u are kidding, and you are right! Somewhere in the future this will be miniaturized and probably eventually put into glasses. They sell handheld radar guns for $20US as kids toys now.

I just wonder if there is a dial that will let you zoom down to the SKELETON! Total Recall anyone? Now, Im kidding. :)

By Tsuwamono on 12/5/2006 5:08:12 PM , Rating: 2
Actually Zellers sells it for 19.97 canadian.(the radar gun i mean)

By frobizzle on 12/5/2006 4:22:14 PM , Rating: 2
I gotta get me one of these!!

RE: Finally - Technology We Always Wanted
By Christobevii3 on 12/5/2006 4:47:39 PM , Rating: 2
I found my dream job

RE: Finally - Technology We Always Wanted
By armagedon on 12/5/2006 7:45:26 PM , Rating: 5
common it's american people you'll be screening. 90% are overweight, fat and ugly. You'll last a few days.

By timmiser on 12/10/2006 3:13:46 AM , Rating: 3
True, but 90% of American people can at least speak and write correctly. That should be "Come on,...."

By miekedmr on 12/11/2006 4:26:04 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting point you made there.
Since the thing can't see through skin, it's going to be ineffective on severely obese people because they can just tuck the gun under a roll of fat.

By daftrok on 12/5/2006 4:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
Don't X-rays cause cancer?

RE: Cancer?
By Sulphademus on 12/5/2006 4:21:26 PM , Rating: 2
Only with extended exposure.

RE: Cancer?
By TomZ on 12/5/2006 5:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
It's more a probability thing - less exposure causes small risks, and more exposure causes more risk.

Anyway, I don't see how this product has any hope of succeeding, if it truly uses x-rays. Any amount of x-ray exposure to humans is unacceptable at an airport. Maybe it uses some other technology besides x-rays.

RE: Cancer?
By smitty3268 on 12/5/06, Rating: -1
RE: Cancer?
By TomZ on 12/5/2006 5:35:45 PM , Rating: 3
How does that work exactly? So the skin stops and absorbs the x-rays? Does sound like a good situation to me, but I'm not an expert in the subject.

RE: Cancer?
By smitty3268 on 12/5/06, Rating: 0
RE: Cancer?
By jconan on 12/6/2006 12:10:19 AM , Rating: 2
yes but the person still gets exposed with accumulating radiation in their body and that depends on how many times the person passes through the x-ray machine and kvp or mvp output of the x-ray machine. plus all fluoroscopic machines in the u.s. must be registered as required by state or federal regs. why do dental technicians wear 0.5 mm thick lead aprons? over a period of time the number of mrems builds up. the dose allowable for pregnant women and general population is about 0.5 rem or 5k mrem/year. however there may be people who work who are already beyond the allowable tlv or pel. while some regulations limit the exposure to a 100 mrem/year following the alara guidelines. probably a potential class action lawsuit may be forthcoming if there are enough concerned people about their health like those with their cell phones.

RE: Cancer?
By leidegre on 12/6/2006 2:29:10 AM , Rating: 2
Assuming that they really use gamma radiation. X-Ray might be the wrong word here, since they talk about scatter technology, what now that is. Anyway, if the technology was based upon particle radiation, such as alpha particle radiation, it should be completely safe. It's neither absorbed, nor does it penatrate the skin.

RE: Cancer?
By jconan on 12/7/2006 1:02:39 AM , Rating: 2
x-ray technology uses electricity on anode and cathode tubes to generate electrons. no where in the article did it say alpha radiation. x-rays are ionizing radiation unlike light, uv, ir, microwave and radio waves that are forms of non-ionizing radiation.

ionizing radiation can cause chemical reactions inside a cell by breaking chemical bonds and producing new ones, create free radicals (cancer potential) damage molecules that regulate vital cells in proteins, RNA, and DNA. levels of safe exposure depends on the dose of exposure. some individuals are less sensitive than others when it dcomes to radiation. acgih and nrc have set up regulations on dose levels for employees that work around radiation and the general public.

in general some people are more tolerant than others of radiation like some of the survivors from historical events at nagasaki, hiroshima, cherynobyl, and 3 mile island but those levels of radation were on the scale gamma radiation. alpha radiation though not dangerous topically can be dangerous if ingested but then again the backscatter is x-ray based. bones are one of the main areas in the body that are affected if exposed acutely.

here are some exposure examples for various levels of radiation:
erythema 300 - 500 rem
hair loss (temporary) 300 - 500 rem
hair loss (permanent) 700 rem
skin burns 1000 rem
tissue death 2000 - 3000 rem

hypthetically considering the qualification of an average tsa employee and his/her education level somebody should concerned if they exposed an individual to an absurd amount of time hence negligence. besides the tsa isn't that credible just look at the stunts they pulled

hypothetically there could even be some demented tsa employee that enjoys x-ray images...

RE: Cancer?
By jconan on 12/7/2006 1:08:50 AM , Rating: 2
also forgot to mention that chronic exposure of ionizing radiation includes cataracts and cancer. cancers could take 10+ years to develop... skin cancer is more likely to develop in this case.

RE: Cancer?
By Frank M on 12/5/2006 5:18:40 PM , Rating: 3
you probably pick up as much radiation in a flight as you'd get from this x-ray.

By chucky2 on 12/5/2006 4:03:12 PM , Rating: 4
So what's to prevent 4-5 people from stashing some type of explosive in their private areas, then combining it on the plane to form something large enough to cause a problem?

Why cannot they just have security personel who are cleared to see everything, is it that big of a deal that someone who'll never meet or see you, for a few seconds see's your private area's?

Not like I'm an exhibitionist or anything, but come on, you drop money on a machine like that to stop unwanted objects from getting on the plane, why go 90% of the way???


By feraltoad on 12/5/2006 4:11:34 PM , Rating: 3
So, you are worried about someone having a high explosive strap-on? Actually, that is a very good point especially with women's breast. Moreover, how does it detect "private areas" built in Nipple Algorithm? That also makes me wonder if they make people manipulate their body parts. If they didn't it would be difficult to see into skin fold areas etc. However, how would you feel if your picture ended up on the net. Also, how much money would a picture of a celebrity be worth?I can see that being a real concern.

By therealnickdanger on 12/5/2006 4:19:20 PM , Rating: 2
So, you are worried about someone having a high explosive strap-on?

I don't think he meant explosive genitals. I believe think he meant that you could have multiple people "smuggle" some objects in body cavities, then go to the lavatory... you should be able to figure out the rest. Seriously, why not go all the way through skin? Seems dumb to stop at clothes...

By smitty3268 on 12/5/2006 5:18:14 PM , Rating: 2
That seems like it could be a health concern. People aren't supposed to be exposed to too many x-rays, which is why doctors where lead when giving them. At least they are supposed to. When you talk about penetrating the skin you're talking about much stronger radiation then just going through clothes.

By smitty3268 on 12/5/2006 5:19:19 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, where = wear.

civil liberties, thats the least of your worries
By dsumanik on 12/7/2006 10:41:13 AM , Rating: 3
If Americans stopped bombing innocent countries, allowing their troops to commit heinous crimes, and actually showed some intelligence anstead of ignorance towards other nations....

they wouldnt have to worry about these problems very much.

Next time you vote think of what you are doing instead of going along with the crowd...the leaders of the last 20 years have led you to this point, and your vote or non vote is what caused this whole situation.

Blame your presidents, and the ones who elected em, after all you got what you wanted, and in 20 years after all the children in iraq want to seek revenge for thier killed families..youll likely be going through it again.

RE: civil liberties, thats the least of your worries
By CMMCAA on 12/7/2006 2:15:10 PM , Rating: 1
Like i said before...

Stop bashing the government and look at it this way... Everyone talks about "invasions" of privacy but they forget that the 9/11 hijackers used box cutter like items, and pepper spray to take over. Can you bring a box cutter on a plane? No, so lets assume they hid them. (crazy i know!) Can you hide something from a machine that sees everything? Nope, because it sees everything. So basically you are saying "Damn this govt that does whatever they can to create solutions to problems that can, and did result in murdering of masses!" Selfish people who obviously dont realize the potential of possible attacks. "My rights! My rights!!!" You are the same people who would be bashing the govt for not doing anything to stop these attacks if they hadnt advertised and proposed these ideas.

Stop with the useless drama of people taking their position of employment and using it for bad. How many doctors misuse their calling? Youre right, lets ban doctors. How many policeman lie and exploit? We should ban them to...

Just some more examples of things here to help but get misused. Doesnt mean they should be banned or used to point fingers at the "Presidents" or "Government". If a cop pulled you over and lied about you speeding, would you blame Bush too? (I know these analogies sound rediculous because we all know the proper answers, some people just think they sound smart by disagreeing and not knowing why)

By dsumanik on 12/7/2006 5:29:16 PM , Rating: 4
You sir, with that line of thinking, are asking for another terrorist bombing.

Your government's foriegn policy caused 9/11, and many of your leaders made millions off the precursor's that led to it.

Ask rumsfeldt where Korea got its nuclear program from.
Ask him who put saddamn hussien in power and armed him.
Ask bush who gave the order to bomb iraq?

Now ask yourself whos fault this mess is, and how it benefitted the world?

Iran is next door, they are beligenterently devloping nukes, what are you guys waiting for? If the solution to stopping terrorist violence is rolling in the army for a regime change...iran and north korea are two prime candidates.

You should go watch you tube and witness what your patriotic troops are doing in iraq, on your tax dollars.

think its funny? Making little kids run for 10 blocks for glass of water? Smashing homes of people so broke they are starving? Driving over some dudes taxi because he "stole" some wood? Rape and murder of an entire family?

You think 9/11 was bad?

The united states has bombed, shot at, destroyed, and crushed far more then having a plane fly into a few city blocks in a major city....and tortured and humiliated far more innocent civilians on top of this.

Who is the terrorist?

Imagine if another country rolled into new york with an army and starting attacking and destroying everything they could, would that be a bigger deal than 9/11?

Would you think thats is justification for a violent retaliation from the military?

Thats what the united states is doing RIGHT NOW.

think about it.

all I can say is what goes around comes around, so dont be surprised if the next big terrorist cell comes from iraq.

10 years, they will be seeking some form of payback for this and the cycle starts all over again.

Your country should have spent the money it wasted on a useless war to develop a new energy source that was self sustainable and then sold it to the rest of the world.

Your vote put these people in power, or your non vote by just not caring.

Im not talking about banning anything, civil rights, or any other minor topics here.... im talking about a fundamental change in the way the people of the united states treats and think about foriegn nations, period.

The problem is retaliatory terrorism. They arent attacking for no reason guys, its all cause and effect.

You want to be the good guys, start acting like it.

By CMMCAA on 12/8/2006 11:00:43 AM , Rating: 1
"You sir, with that line of thinking, are asking for another terrorist bombing." - dsumanik

Yes, you are right, please attack. You are such an idiot, telling me I am asking for another attack because i say we SHOULD have x-ray in airports. You are the one rationalizing the attacks.

"Now ask yourself whos fault this mess is, and how it benefitted the world?" -dsumanik

In order to answer that question i would need all of the intentions, informatino, and answers, which nobody in here does.

By yacoub on 12/5/2006 4:14:13 PM , Rating: 1
It's more a health concern than a privacy concern. I would definitely take the pat-down option if I were selected to be pulled aside for the extra screening.

RE: Actually...
By fireproofmatch on 12/5/06, Rating: 0
RE: Actually...
By KashGarinn on 12/6/2006 3:05:11 AM , Rating: 3
I would say you just have to go one step further.. why do they have to do any of this crap at all?

An aeroplane is a overglorified bus. Do you get scanned, poked, prodded, or asked where the hell you're going and what the hell's your intentions when you get there on a bus?

No. Have other public transportation been hit by terrorism? Yes. Can a passenger with no weapons still hijack a plane? Yes.

These security measures do nothing, except one thing.. assert their control, their power over you.

Why people accept this all over the world, I have no idea.. Do aeroplane companies and the people in them have such low values of themselves as human beings that they think everyone else are just frothing at the mouth to try to take them down?

It's preposterous to invade a persons privacy with no other reason than he wants to go from A to B in a plane, and this crime against human freedom is done globally.

I mean goddamn.. when will people learn that if you treat everyone as criminals, they will turn into criminals.. and if you treat everyone with respect and trust, they in return will respect and trust you.


RE: Actually...
By Eris23007 on 12/6/2006 5:54:33 PM , Rating: 2
The difference between a bus and an airplane is that a bus can't be turned into a strategically effective, extremely potent guided cruise missle. It's difficult (though certainly not impossible) to kill large numbers of people (say 100 or so) at the helm of a bus. With a modern commercial jet with a full fuel load, not only can you kill at least 100 people on even a medium-size, less-than-full commercial airliner, you can also run it into any number of high-value targets, for example a nuclear power plant, oil refinery, large skyscraper, large government building, military installation, etc. None of these can be remotely affected by a hijacked bus.

Recognize that the destruction of WTC I and II directly resulted in billions of dollars of lost property and capital. The U.S. stock market lost $1.2 Trillion (yes, TRILLION) in value in the week following the September 11th, 2001 attacks. (Source: Wikipedia, Total economic losses as a result of that attack are virtually incalculable. How much enonomic value would the over 3000 people killed have generated over their lifetimes?

While I will agree that prior to the Sept. 11th, 2001 attacks it was indeed possible to hijack an airplane without a weapon, I absolutely disagree with your assertion that it can be accomplished any longer - air crews are trained very differently nowadays, and control is much, much more difficult to achieve.

Regardless of your stance on the politics of these issues, please note my comments are apolitical in nature. This is intended to be a dispassionate analysis of the economic and political rationale underlying strict airport security policies.

Your statements suggest a belief that there are no people out in the world who have a genuine desire to kill other people. While I will refrain from stating value judgements associated with the issue, whether or not you agree with their causes, there are many thousands of people in the world who are extremely motivated to kill (or at least threaten to kill, which can be just as effective) large numbers of other people for any number of reasons (politics, religion, personal gain/criminality, etc.).

While it is very unpleasant to directly consider the issue, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of security measures being taken to prevent the use of airliners as guided missiles. From a rigorous analysis, it appears quite logical that people should be willing to undergo some restrictions on their in-flight activities in order to increase their rate of cross-country travel from ~60mph (by car/bus/etc.) to >500mph.

The philosophy you have advocated with your final comment is quite fine for an individual dealing with another individual. Unfortunately it completely neglects the sad fact that humanity is imperfect. Simply dealing with all people by respecting and trusting all people has conclusively shown in psychological experiments that some are undeserving of that trust and respect, and take undue advantage of it. It makes for a great bumper sticker, not an effective system of law and order.

depends on the clarity/quality of the image....
By MDme on 12/5/2006 5:06:52 PM , Rating: 2
if the image is simply black and white (xray type images), I don't think it should be much of a privacy concern. It's probably gonna look like 3d images with gouraud shading like the old 3d games before the advent of texture mapping. If on the other hand the images incorporate color and or enough resolution to make it like a black and white photo, then privacy will be an issue.

By Frank M on 12/5/2006 5:17:18 PM , Rating: 4
I would guess that the seconds of x-ray give you a significantly lower dose of radiation than your flight. Being in the upper atmosphere drenches you in solar radiation.

Another crappy decision by a crappy government.
By sviola on 12/6/2006 7:29:33 AM , Rating: 1
I wonder how this will impact on tourism and business. How many people will stop visiting the US and how this will affect air companies.

And probably terrorist will find another way to do their evil biddings - I don't remember London and Madri being air attacks. And the 9/11, well weren't the terrorist trained as air pilots in the US? What would prevent them from taking a double life as real pilots and on the right moment throwing down the plane? - , after all, for every measure they can take, there is an ingenious one to come around it (isn't this what happens with software protection).

Next you'll have the authorities do like that Tom Cruise movie...arresting from future crimes...

By CMMCAA on 12/7/2006 2:09:02 PM , Rating: 3
Stop bashing the government and look at it this way... Everyone talks about "invasions" of privacy but they forget that the 9/11 hijackers used box cutter like items, and pepper spray to take over. Can you bring a box cutter on a plane? No, so lets assume they hid them. (crazy i know!) Can you hide something from a machine that sees everything? Nope, because it sees everything. So basically you are saying "Damn this govt that does whatever they can to create solutions to problems that can, and did result in murdering of masses!" Selfish people who obviously dont realize the potential of possible attacks. "My rights! My rights!!!" You are the same people who would be bashing the govt for not doing anything to stop these attacks if they hadnt advertised and proposed these ideas.

By jhh108 on 12/10/2006 9:30:49 PM , Rating: 2
Viola, I think you ought to take a stress pill and lie down and think things over. Find another hobby to vent your fears, and stop wasting our time with your fatuous ravings. If people avoid visiting the U.S. over this, it won't be Europeans because the system is already in use in several airports there. Have your mommy read you a story or something.

not privacy issue
By SSJGohanMlm on 12/6/2006 1:29:27 PM , Rating: 2
at airports, train stations...and othe rpublic places...ESPECIALLY airports, everyone has a decreased level of privacy. PERIOD. id ont understand why ppl are so obsessed about being searched at an airport and crap, its total nonsense. u wnat the country to be safe? then expect to be searched in public places. public places have high human occupancy, and ppl from ALL over the world are present, ESPECIALLY at airports. so quit complaining and work together to catch the criminals and stealthy terrorists.

Sometimes i feel that the U.S. gives too much freedom, just a little TOO much. some ppl say that phone tappings are illegal, but have they considered what gets used? Sure, they may record an entire conversation, but if the conversation is all about sex, who the hell cares? r u going to have sex while planting a bomb somewhere? Yeah, if thats true, then it will be used against u in the court of law.

RE: not privacy issue
By patentman on 12/7/2006 9:06:27 AM , Rating: 1

Last I check, the U.S. was the land of the free. Our ancestors came here to avoid having the government poke their noses into every aspect of our lives. Indeed our very constitution is founded upon the idea that every man has funadamental rights to life, liberty and property. If having someone be able to stare at my wife and I naked through our clothes is not an invasion my basic civil liberties I do not know what is.

Safety is, of course, a paramount concern. But what price are we willing to pay to garner that safety? It seems like everyday we hear of the government coming up with some new idea to invade or privacy in the name of security. However, last I checked we haven;t been successful in catching any more terrorists now then we were before. Oh, but you say "Patentman! We haven't experienced an attack since 9/11!" I would say, "True, but we haven't caught the people responsible for 9/11 either."

Perhaps a different solution is in order. Perhaps it is time to try to understand the motivations behind the enemies of our country and then try to fix those problems, rather than attempt to correct things through invasive homeland security measures and violent foreign policy. What we are doing is like trying to placate a enraged bull by waiving a cape in front of it even more.

But then again, we have good ol' dubyah to lead us against the war on terrorism. He'll fix things.... yeah...right.

RE: not privacy issue
By Visual on 12/12/2006 3:26:24 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, I agree that having your wife scanned naked by some random guy isn't a pleasant idea. Point.

But keep in mind that said guy won't be in the same room, won't be making physical contact with her any time soon, and quite likely won't ever meet her in person in his whole life. Doesn't that help the situation?
Ok, you can't really guarantee he won't meet her - in fact, although rare, situations where the scanner guy will see and recognise people he knows are inevitable. It may just happen that your neighbour works as a "scanner guy" at your airport.... so the idea is still a bit awkward.
But it is possible to reduce such situations by letting people know the name of the "scanner guy" on duty at each terminal, and just avoid their neighbours and acquaintances... or purpously go through their checkpoint over and over to make sure they've been noticed :P Personally I don't view such measures as necessery, but if they help you... its not a bad choice. It's somewhat of a compromise though, trading increased privacy of the passengers for decreased privacy of the employees... but hey, it's only fair. Or maybe to make things even fairer, a nude photo of the on duty "scanner guy" should be displayed on the checkpoint terminal? Would that make things OK now? ;)

Now consider the fact that said guy sees hundreds of naked people every day, it is his job and he does it strictly as a professional... much like your wife's gynecologist, for example. Well except, unlike a gynecologist, he doesn't even get to speak with your wife, let alone touch her and insert things in her...
If you don't consider having a medical exam to be a privacy violation, you have no right in this case as well.

One last thing - do you realise that even if this technology doesn't get applied to airports, it still exists and can be used on you or your wife, and as it gets further developed it might actually become quite common? Sooner or later, but inevitable eventually, just about anyone will be able to "stare at your wife and you naked through your clothes", without your knowledge. Wether that can be considered "an invasion your basic civil liberties" depends on morals, laws, definitions, and may very well change in the future. Because, you know... "freedom" also implies being free to look at anything and anyone around you, no matter if you're wearing some vision-enchancing equipment or not :P Either way, it isn't important - that case is quite different from an airport official doing their job, with your knowledge and consent, with suitable precautions against misuse of the tech.

So quit moaning about your privacy.

Its never going to stop
By VisionxOrb on 12/5/2006 4:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
You know all this security is getting out of hand, I'd rather just take my chances with getting blown up. If a person wants to be that safe, don't leave your house.

RE: Its never going to stop
By dubldwn on 12/5/2006 5:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
Really. 10 years ago people would have laughed at this, and then ran anyone who tried to implement it out of town.

Just remember, your naked body, internet searches, library records, phone calls, and travel history have nothing to do with privacy.

By PitbulI on 12/5/2006 7:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
Every time I go through the Canada USA border I want to tell the American custom agents this when they ask the purpose of my visit.

"Terrorism, whoops, I mean tourism.

I might just do it one day, when I feel like having my colon cleaned out. LOL.

RE: Tourism
By otispunkmeyer on 12/6/2006 4:14:43 AM , Rating: 2
if you say that something will be going in your colon.... and more than once probably. untill you are bailed.

this thing is easy to overcome anyway, if your a fat terrorist...just hide the C4 under one of your rolls and hey presto the machine wont see it....just a fat man.

this terrorist thing probably wouldnt be such a problem if america didnt try to police the world all the time. if you left the jihad nutters alone to blow themselves up and not anyone else you wouldnt be the paranoid ass covering nation you are today. you brought it on your selves i say, and you're taking the rest of the western world with you.

this is a product of your own governments medelling/dabbling in how every other country outside of the US is run.

This makes no sense....
By EastCoast on 12/5/2006 9:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
I just don't understand why this is necessary? The old method is just as effective. Why is it so important to use this feature that reveals your privates to anyone horny enough to look? How easy is it for one to tweak the program to unblur your privates? How is this different then viewing porn on the net (besides the fact you get paid for it)?

RE: This makes no sense....
By jhh108 on 12/10/2006 9:09:40 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, it does make sense. Back in the days when terrorists used box cutters, metal scanners were enough. Now they use technology that uses no metal, just plastic bags of liquid.

Go back and look at the image that shows at the top of this article. How many people do think this sterile image is going to turn on? Also, they aren't going to be shown on monitors all over the check-in area; only supervisors will see them.

I AGREE WITH NaughtyGeek
By candm34 on 12/6/2006 2:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
I will and always will beleive that all the current affairs including the 9-11, all the wars and the fact that out own goverment poisin us back in the 60's by introducing heroin to the U.S. is all planned out by a much different organization. We are just like ant in this big games they are playing. The problem is that everyone is turning the other cheek. They dont want to see the truth. Its really frightening to see how we are becoming slaves of our own freedom.

Check this out:
Islam,Iraq= of the original humans to exist. so whats our beef with them? OIL

Religions?= Most of the wars nowadays is because of religion. Whats the truth? Christians?Muslims?Buddhist?Catholics? Aliens?

Bush is just a slave to a much higher power, but dont get me wrong he is with "THEM" along for the ride aswell.

I get frustrated when people think its all b.s. I once that that all this was b.s. until I too started feeling that there has to be some truth to all of this.

People stop thinking its all peachy...Terrorists? Our own goverment are the terrorist and we dont even know it.
Check this link out and the doors will soon open the truth.

RE: I AGREE WITH NaughtyGeek
By candm34 on 12/6/2006 2:09:11 PM , Rating: 2
BTW...To some this might not make sense, but I will if you keep digging in. The link is only the begining of things to come. If you trully want to learn more then take specific words or phrases from the article and copy then paste on google to do more research. For example= goverment and children sex scandal at white house....which is totally true and youd get some links like this...

This isn't right.
By Cogman on 12/8/2006 9:38:04 PM , Rating: 2
Im sorry but this is not right. The fact of the matter is there has not been another attack on america, and I think that terrorists would not plan to use a plane again (unless it is a private airplain from a remote airport, lot of good this kindof technology will do there) I agree with you guys that this goes too far.

RE: This isn't right.
By jhh108 on 12/10/2006 8:24:36 PM , Rating: 2
al Qaida tends to stick with what has worked, and 9/11 worked superbly, in their view. Remember that ditsy guy who tried lighting his shoes on a flight to the U.S.? A person who thinks dogmatically has a disadvantage in that he eschews creativity. If he had the capability of assessing things in a fresh light, he wouldn't be dogmatic in the first place. The Trade Tower attacks were not a new idea in 2001. Terrorists had been trying to destroy them since 1993.

By encryptkeeper on 12/5/06, Rating: 0
By rcc on 12/5/2006 6:24:12 PM , Rating: 3
just glue them on in foil, they'll see it. I hope you enjoy the fruits of your labor.

By kuldra on 12/6/2006 2:21:46 PM , Rating: 2
I can't wait to have my children viewed naked by a "qualified" government employee. This is an invasion of privacy. What if I had things I didn't want anyone, even people in hidden rooms, to see? Say a colostomy bag attached to my thigh, maybe the fact that I was transgendered, or had a third breast. There is some type of two-way communication between the folks watching the screens and the ones on the floor dealing with the travelers. They will be talking about what they see. I'm sure that that supposed blur over the travelers private parts has a manager override button. In a few years when the technology is more advanced the capability of even greater detail and natural colors will be there. The goverment will upgrade and not even tell us. Its also inevitable that some enterprising screener will figure out a way to take screenshots and post them on the net.

Search for "backscatter" on Google Images and you'll see an example of a woman who was scanned.

By InTheNameOfMyself on 12/11/2006 4:26:43 AM , Rating: 1
I don`t see any problem with that.

There is some type of two-way communication between the folks watching the screens and the ones on the floor dealing with the travelers. They will be talking about what they see.

I mean like, who cares?

Security is more important than idiotic privacy concerns.
Stop being concerned about privacy, and you will be much happier.

By drando on 12/5/2006 5:35:28 PM , Rating: 2
This reminds me of the great movie classic Airplane! Though it only worked on women in the movie and the screen was there at the scanner.

How stupid are we going to get ?
By armagedon on 12/5/2006 8:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
Why don't they just required everyone to get naked to board.
The security is not coming from passagers anymore but from thousand of airport employees buzzing around airplanes all day. A survey in Canada reveal that almost anyone with a badge can roam on the tarmac at will.
Now what about trains, bus, bridges, trucks, ships, buildings, towers, utilities neighbors. We might as well be scanned as we get out of our houses.

By JPOnion on 12/8/2006 6:20:29 AM , Rating: 2
“Those that give up freedom for security will receive and deserve neither freedom nor security” - Ben Franklin

As Americans, we're taking a lot of what we have for granted, and we're becoming more and more willing to give up so much at just the mention of "increased security" and "terrorism", that sometimes I wonder if we deserve what we have left anymore.

Remember the purpose
By jhh108 on 12/8/2006 3:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
Airplanes have been the preferred method of attack of terrorists in this country. If technology is developed that helps detect would-be killers, and it has little chance of being abused, I'm for it. This isn't going into anybody's dossier; it's just images of unnamed people.

By timmiser on 12/10/2006 3:03:28 AM , Rating: 2
Check out the picture... You can see that guy's gun!

By Visual on 12/12/2006 2:13:24 PM , Rating: 2
To all the crybabies complaining about their privacy being violated by this:
you're completely not making sense.

I can see your point for not liking this technology, or not wanting it being used on you by who-knows-who.
But it is irrelevant. Fact is, this technology exists already, and will be developed even further - eventually to levels where other people can use it on you without your knowledge anyway.
Giving this tech an official market like airport security will likely lead to its faster development, and so the dreaded (or craved :p depending on which side of them you are) x-ray glasses might appear sooner, but this is still no argument for avoiding it. Avoiding the application of this tech might slow its progress somewhat, but will not prevent it.
You may or you may not like this fact, but it is inevitable.

Now the question is: do we take advantage of this technology for improving airport security NOW, taking the necessery precautions to minimise privacy concerns and misuse?
Or do we just wait a while, until everyone has their x-ray glasses anyway and one customs officer more or less looking through your clothes will no longer be that big of a deal?
(It may be a long wait, or it may be quite soon. Who knows, maybe in a generation or two people won't be bothered by nudity anymore, partly because of such technology)

I say do it now, don't delay progress because of some oldfashioned conservatism.

By rupaniii on 12/5/2006 8:49:10 PM , Rating: 1
Now I will get more offers for blind dates.
Hire some hot young college chicks to view the scanners,


More concerns
By Dfere on 12/5/06, Rating: -1
RE: More concerns
By chedrz on 12/5/2006 5:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
You're kidding, right? You're actually worried about radiation from x-rays causing health issues? You'd have to have literally thousands of skin-penetrating x-rays performed to have any sort of major health risk from cancer. The average person recieves more radiation now than ever before, true...but that number is still tens of thousands (at least) of times below the limit that will cause any sort of health risk. Even individuals working in nuclear power plants are thousands of times below the legal limit of radiation, which is still thousands of times lower than a lethal dose. As someone majoring in nuclear engineering, I'd have no fear of getting sick from something like this.

RE: More concerns
By TomZ on 12/5/2006 5:24:25 PM , Rating: 2
I think the concern is justified. First, think about frequent fliers - you know, like the sales manager that flies 2-3 times a week. You think it is reasonable to expose him/her to x-rays each time he/she travels?

Also, I would remind you that medical x-ray use is limited to medically necessary purposes, and that the medical industry actively works to minimize x-ray exposure (intensity, duration, and number of images). There's a reason for that, right?

RE: More concerns
By Eris23007 on 12/5/2006 6:51:05 PM , Rating: 5
The sales manager who travels 2-3 times a week is already exposing themselves to considerably higher-than-average amounts of radiation by travelling at 35000+ feet for a large number of hours that frequently. And not just X-rays, either, but many different types of radiation. Solar activity anyone?

RE: More concerns
By sviola on 12/6/2006 7:10:19 AM , Rating: 2
Aren't planes insulated against radiation?

Also, what garantee do you have that the x-ray machine in the airport will be calibrated 100% of the time and won't expose you to more radiation than necessary?

RE: More concerns
By Eris23007 on 12/6/2006 5:24:15 PM , Rating: 2
No. Airplanes are constructed primarily of aircraft-grade aluminum and composite materials. These provide some, but not much, impediment to radiation as they are not very dense. In fact, their relatively low density (that is, mass per unit volume) yet high tensile strength is precisely the reason why those materials are used to construct aircraft, where weight is a primary cost and performance driver.

In fact even modern-day spacecraft provide little protection against high energy radiation, and this is one of the technical challenges NASA and its contractors are struggling with in game-planning the Moon-Mars missions that have been proposed lately.

Presently only very dense materials (EG lead and lots of it) are known to effectively block out high-energy radiation. Actually that's not quite true; the Earth's atmosphere and the Van Allen belt of highly charged particles are both very good at absorbing/deflecting radiation, which is why the Earth is inhabitable. That said, there is still a fair amount that gets through, which is why all people get a moderate dose of radiation every day - and more so when that day is spent outside on a sunny day... and even more so when that sunny day is spent on top of a mountain at 8000-12000 feet.

Airplane passengers receiving higher-than-normal doses of radiation is a well-known phenomenon. It is worse during periods of high solar activity (ie flares). Certainly the thin layer of aluminum doesn't outweigh the absence of over 7 miles of atmosphere.

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