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Prepare to be scanned: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to follow in Britain's footsteps and roll out a pricey deployment of 450 scanners to U.S. airports despite health, efficiency, and privacy concerns.  (Source: Daily Mail UK)

Some experts say the plan is to give the perception of security, even if it doesn't make airports much safer.  (Source:
Scanner deployment is part of $1B USD airport security upgrade

Even as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security races to deploy full body scanners at airports across the U.S., significant concerns have been raised.  The scanners have been shown to be ineffective at detecting dangerous low density materials like liquids, powders, or plastic weapons.  In addition, some studies have linked them to potentially cancer-causing DNA damage.  Perhaps most importantly, major privacy concerns remain unresolved around the scanners, which digitally disrobe passengers

Despite those problems, the DHS appears to believe that the perception of security is too important to wait for further study.  It is instead beginning a mass deployment, rolling out new scanners in 11 cities including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

The advanced imaging technology (AIT) units were installed at the Boston Logan International airport on Friday and will be installed at Chicago O'Hare International in the next week – all installations will be completed by the summer's end.  

Currently, forty AIT units are in limited use at 19 U.S. airports.  The new units will mark the first mass deployment of the technology to the U.S. airports.  More units are expected to be deployed later this year.

The scanners will come at a relatively high expense to taxpayers.  They are funded by a $1B USD appropriation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  The spending plan -- crafted by Congress, President Obama, and the Department of Homeland Security -- calls for $700 million in new screening for checked baggage and $300 million in checkpoint explosives-detection technologies.

The nine other airports receiving scanners will be: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FFL), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International (CVG), Mineta San Jos International (SJC), Los Angeles International (LAX), Port Columbus International (CMH), Oakland International (OAK), San Diego International (SAN), Kansas City International (MCI), and Charlotte Douglas International (CLT).  Of the airports, only LAX previously had full-body scanners.

The DHS is defending its pricey plan, arguing that there's no privacy risk.  It says that images of passengers unclothed won't be stored, despite the recent revelation that the scanners had the built in capability to do so.  They also admit that the scanners are only efficient at detecting metal objects, but say that could be very helpful in detecting knives or metal-based guns.  

They also claim there's no health risk with the non-ionizing radio frequency energy in the millimeter wave spectrum used by the scanners to generate their images.  They say the system's energy is 100,000 times less than a cell phone transmission.  (Recent studies, however, have suggested that DNA damage may certainly be possible).

For better or worse, though, the 450 new scanner units will soon be a common sight in the 11 airports on the mass deployment's front.  The U.S. appears to be marching in Britain's footsteps, moving towards a "no scan, no fly" policy.


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RE: How to stop these BS
By Reclaimer77 on 3/8/2010 4:04:25 PM , Rating: 2
Lol so true. DHS has to be the most ineffectual branch of US government

I don't see how you can actually say that without top secret government clearance. Good men and women have been keeping you safe more than you or I will probably ever know. We have had NO domestic attacks since the inception of the DHS. If that's "ineffectual" then well... okay.

But then again, I am talking to Walk2k so why bother lol.

RE: How to stop these BS
By porkpie on 3/8/2010 4:07:30 PM , Rating: 2
"We have had NO domestic attacks since the inception of the DHS."

And we had ONE before its inception.

You might want to google the concept of a "statistical universe", before you repeat that claim.

RE: How to stop these BS
By Reclaimer77 on 3/8/2010 4:54:21 PM , Rating: 2
Umm the USS Cole (not domestic, but still) ?? The first trade center bombing ??

And yeah, I can see George Bush after 911 saying " Look folks, we don't have to do anything. Go and Google the concept of a "statistical universe" and sleep well tonight"

Are you f'ing serious ? Yeah let's do nothing and just roll the dice. How moronic.

RE: How to stop these BS
By porkpie on 3/8/2010 5:45:24 PM , Rating: 2
"Umm the USS Cole (not domestic, but still) "

Not "but still". The DHS is not preventing overseas attacks on US naval ships, now is it? Don't try to move the bar.

"Yeah let's do nothing and just roll the dice."

Don't distort my remarks. Your claim was that the DHS had been marvelously effective. I was pointing out the error in your logic, not voting for inaction.

RE: How to stop these BS
By Gzus666 on 3/8/2010 8:12:25 PM , Rating: 1
But then again, I am talking to Walk2k so why bother lol.

Yea, he is the issue.

Seems like you are always the common denominator in every one of these silly tiffs where you go all "Captain America" on everyone and spout logical fallacies like they are going out of style. Couple that with your insane bigotry and it is like you basically are the personification of the rebel flag, filled with all its ignorance.

Correlation does not equal causation you dolt, brush up on some basic logic and stop spouting ridiculous fallacies.

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