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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: kudos
By myhipsi on 3/9/2010 8:38:20 AM , Rating: 2
I whole-heartedly agree. Not many Americans want to admit it, but we all know the answer; American foreign policy (aka. the policeman of the world). When you have American military bases in 170+ countries in the world and perpetual war since world war II, you're going to piss a lot of people off.

The only group that really benefits from America's current foreign policy is the massive Military-Industrial complex which Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about in 1961:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Well, Eisenhower's warning has become stark reality, and America's foreign policy feeds this mighty war machine.

Stop the wars, Shut down the bases, and bring the U.S. military home. Not only would the terrorism stop, but national defense would be much more effective with a military that is at the ready, and not mired in perpetual war all over the world.

RE: kudos
By MojoMan on 3/9/2010 10:17:31 AM , Rating: 2
Absolutely! Couldn't have said it better. If I could rate you up, I would. :-)

RE: kudos
By porkpie on 3/9/2010 10:33:27 AM , Rating: 2
"When you have American military bases in 170+ countries in the world..."

Err, more like 24 countries, but why stick to the truth when lies are so much more convincing, eh?

"...and perpetual war since world war II"

What color is the sky in your world?

RE: kudos
By myhipsi on 3/9/2010 11:48:28 AM , Rating: 2
Err, more like 24 countries, but why stick to the truth when lies are so much more convincing, eh?

I didn't lie, I was wrong, and so are you. I stand corrected, It's around 58 countries. So what, it's still intervention to the highest degree any way you look at it. And my point still stands, that more military intervention leads to more enemies.

What color is the sky in your world?

Just to name the Major conflicts since WWII: (none of which were declared)

1950-1953 - Korean war
1959-1975 - Vietnam war
1991-1999 - Gulf war
2001-present - War in Afganistan
2001-present - War in Iraq

This excludes the numorous conficts that occured during and in between these major conflicts. Refer to the wikipedia article for more examples.

It's not that I have anything against the U.S or it's military. My point is simply that when you excercise an agressive foreign policy involving the military in many countries that oppose your presence, you are bound to be attacked at some point, simply put.

Nobody, especially in the U.S. wants to face those facts. Instead, it is ignorantly claimed that "they hate us for our freedoms". I mean, come on, logic tells you this simply isn't the case.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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