Print 34 comment(s) - last by Strunf.. on Feb 14 at 7:41 AM

Airport travelers can be reassured, a new bill will make it more likely that the federal employee leering at their naked body won't share that image with his friends.  (Source: Corbis)

The federal government is spending billions in taxpayer money on the scanners, but they've been shown to be no more accurate than metal detectors at detecting dangerous materials like explosives.  (Source: Zimbio)
New law may placate some people's concerns about scanners, but does it go far enough

Every day thousands of Americans are leered at “in the buff” by U.S. Transportation Safety Administration employees.  This uncomfortable -- to some -- situation is justified in the name of national security.  Unfortunately, independent testing has shown the scanners to have trouble detecting some of the most dangerous types of materials -- low-density chemical products like explosives or plastic guns.

In a measure to placate a disgruntled public, the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate has moved to make it illegal to share images taken in the scans.  Under the pending provision in the Security Screening Confidential Data Privacy Act, sharing such an image could land you in jail for a year or net you a $100,000 USD fine.

Supposedly the scanners don't have the capability to save or transfer pictures.  Recent documents from cases involving the U.S. Federal Marshals reveal, though, that the scanners not only have these capabilities, but they are regularly used.

The bill is sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (NY-D) [profile] and Ben Nelson (Nebr.-D) [profile] and co-sponsored by Senators Daniel Akaka (Haw.-D) [profile], Sheldon Whitehouse (Conn.-D) [profile], Jeanne Shaheen (NH-D) [profile], Jon Tester (Mont.-D) [profile], and Robert Menendez (NJ-D) [profile].  None of the Senate's 49 Republicans and neither of its 2 Independents sponsored the bill.

The new guidelines for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration are expected to pass through Congress relatively smoothly.  However, Democratic U.S. President Barack Obama, like the Republican President George W. Bush before him, will likely continue to push to expand the deployment and funding for the invasive body scans.

At the end of the day the question was, and still is -- how far is the U.S. prepared to go in the name of security?  With suicide bombers in places like Saudi Arabia trying increasingly unorthodox like inserting bombs in their rectal cavities [1] [2], one has to wonder exactly how intimately the federal government is willing to intimately poke, prod, and image its citizens in the name of the "War on Terror" -- and how much taxpayer money the government is willing to spend to do so.

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RE: No
By Iaiken on 2/10/2011 10:23:50 AM , Rating: 3
Indeed, numerous studies have been done and every time the TSA agents had no foreknowledge of the individuals performing the tests/studies, the TSA failed.

The ONLY times the TSA managed to pass the tests when the agents were alerted that a test was going to be conducted that day. In the early days, detailed descriptions of the people conducting the tests were even given out to TSA screeners.

Without these notifications, the TSA has typically failed to find ~90% of the guns and bombs that the covert tests attempted to smuggle through security since 2007. The TSA continues to not only fail these tests, but to do so while wasting the time and money of numerous travelers everywhere and stripping them of right after right. They failed to stop two attempted bombings only recently and both of them were mundane efforts.

It's a dog and pony show for making people feel safer, it doesn't actually accomplish anything. At LAX I was party to a brilliant demonstration where people started talking everyone wound up opting out of the scanner and eventually the agents just started waving people through while others were being patted down just to keep the line moving.

RE: No
By FITCamaro on 2/10/2011 12:24:26 PM , Rating: 2
The real stupidity is that these measures are being taken in response to security failures in FOREIGN nations. The underwear bomber guy got on a plane in Europe. How does a stronger scanner here prevent him from getting on a plane there?

RE: No
By Strunf on 2/11/2011 8:06:18 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe cause 99% of the US terrorists attacks start and end in the US?...

RE: No
By FITCamaro on 2/11/2011 12:28:29 PM , Rating: 2
Reading comprehension. You needs it.

Either that or you are incredibly stupid.

RE: No
By Strunf on 2/14/2011 7:41:29 AM , Rating: 1
Dude, you state that your scanners don't help against the terrorists attacks that start outside of the US, I'm telling you they don't have to, most terrorists attacks start and end in the US... seriously I don't understand why the fuck it's the Europeans that should pay for the American insecurity! And yes there are countries in Europe that are also testing these body scanners.

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