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  (Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Warner Bros.)
Scanner couldn't even perform as well as a basic metal detector, but it's good at looking at your genitals

Body scanners are a controversial tool that's currently being installed at airports worldwide -- particularly in the U.S., where the government has paid contractors such as Rapiscan and Brijot hundreds of millions of dollars to deploy over 500 of the devices.  In the U.S. the deployment has reportedly been pushed by illicit financial ties, such as former U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) chief Michael Chertoff's financial relationship with Rapiscan, who paid off the chief for his "consulting services."

Michael Chertoff
Ex-DHS chief Michael Chertoff accepted payments from Rapiscan, even as he was promoting paying the contractor millions of dollars in body scanner contracts. [Image Source: DHS]

Meanwhile, there have been reports of U.S. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) officials abusing the devices to make fun of peoples' genitals.  And reports also indicate health risks and the possibility that the DHS may be storing nudes scans of people for later reference.

But the most damning piece of evidence against the scanners yet may have just landed, delivered by college-educated engineer Jonathan Corbett, who runs the blog "TSA Out of Our Pants".

Mr. Corbett has identified a weakness in the device, which essentially renders them useless.  He noticed that both the older backscatter machines and the new millimeter wave scanners, chose the color of spotted solid objects as identitical to the background, allowing techs to spot items hidden against the body (colorized as white), such as weapons or bomb-making chemicals.  So he decided to see what happened if a secret pocket was stitched into a shirt, well off of the body.

Body scanner images
Body scanners rely solely on contrast -- making them useless if the weapon or bomb-making supply is held off the body, tests have shown. [Image Source: TSA]

He tested the theory using a metal case stored inside a secret pocket.  Had he put the object in his chest pocket, it would have been spotted in the scans and he would almost certainly have been detained. But by using the secret side pocket, which was not contrasted in the image against his body, he eluded both the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport's backscatter machine and the Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport's newest millimeter wave machine.

He comments to top UK news site Mail Online, "While I carried the metal case empty, it could easily have been filled with razor blades, explosives, or one of Charlie Sheen’s infamous seven gram rocks of cocaine.  With a bigger pocket, perhaps sewn on the inside of the shirt, even a firearm could get through."

The metal case would have been detected by the old security checkpoint of a decade ago, as it had metal-detectors.  However, the new checkpoints largely have no built-in metal detection of on-person objects, relying solely on full-body scanners and occasional pat-downs (which Mr. Corbett did not receive).

Cleverly, Mr. Corbett video-taped his clean scan, by putting his camera, running, on the conveyor belt and allowing it to travel through luggage X-Ray scan, spotting him on his way out.

Jonathan Corbett
Jonathan Corbett -- an engineer-turned blogger -- has presented compelling evidence that body scanners decrease security and are ineffective at fighting terrorism.  He is suing the TSA
[Image Source: Jonathan Corbett/Mail Online]

"Now, I'm sure the TSA will accuse me of aiding the terrorists by releasing this video, but it's beyond belief that the terrorists haven't already figured this out and are already plotting to use this against us.  It’s also beyond belief that the TSA did not already know everything I just told you, and arrogantly decided to disregard our safety. The nude body scanner program is nothing but a giant fraud."

In the past it was shown that less-dense objects like plastic guns or low-density explosives could be missed in backscatter images.  However, this is the first compelling proof that millimeter wave designs are also useless -- another prop in the government's expensive game of "security theater" -- a game that has been potentially motivated by financial corruption.

Mr. Corbett recalls thinking when he first envisioned the work-around, "It can't possibly be that easy to beat the TSA’s billion dollar fleet of nude body scanners, right? The TSA can't be that stupid, can they?"

Summarizing his findings, he comments, "Unfortunately, they can, and they are."

Airport travellers
An engineer has offered evidence that the TSA and DHS have recklessly endangered hundreds of thousands of Americans by promoting a false illusion of security with body scanners.
[Image Source: Corbis]

The TSA has refused to comment on these developments.

Video of the incident can be found here:



Google Inc.'s (GOOG) YouTube (the host) has rated this video 18+ as per its "Community Guidelines", although it does not contain any profanity or any ostensibly inappropriate content.

Other threats to the effectiveness of the devices are also looming.  Recently, terrorists in Saudi Arabia have resorted to increasingly complex methods for disguising improvised explosive devices, such as inserting bombs in their rectal cavities [1][2]. The question becomes whether the TSA will go as far as ordering "cavity searches" of travellers, in addition to genital-region pat downs of everyone from children to the elderly.

The embarassment for the TSA and DHS -- and the Bush and Obama administrations that supported the scanner rollout -- is unlikely to fade any time soon, though.  Mr. Corbett has taken the bold move of suing [PDF] the TSA for the scanner rollout, which he complains was a waste of money that decreased security versus traditional metal detectors and pat-downs.

Sources: TSA Out of Our Pants [press release], [lawsuit], Daily Mail



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RE: But... But...
By Mithan on 3/7/2012 2:13:05 PM , Rating: 4
People are dumb and believe they can be 100% protected.

They can't.


RE: But... But...
By rburnham on 3/7/2012 3:20:09 PM , Rating: 3
But we sure as hell are going to pay a lot of money to feel secure, even when we are not.


RE: But... But...
By MrBlastman on 3/7/2012 3:36:25 PM , Rating: 1
A few bucks buys me some ammo. A few more bucks buys me food for my best friend--my dog. That's all most of us really need to be secure.


RE: But... But...
By semiconshawn on 3/7/12, Rating: 0
RE: But... But...
By rs2 on 3/7/2012 9:17:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, knowing that every random wacko and their dog is armed to the teeth, out of dollars from buying ammo and dog-food, and subsisting on said dog-food certainly makes me feel more secure.

Wait. No it doesn't. Their guns and ammo won't provide them with food or shelter unless they actually use them to threaten people, or kill things, or kill people, or all of the above.


RE: But... But...
By tng on 3/8/2012 8:12:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Their guns and ammo won't provide them with food or shelter unless they actually use them to threaten people, or kill things, or kill people, or all of the above.
Or, they protect your food and shelter from people who would take them from you?

Guns are not evil, but a small minority of the people who have them are. One of the greatest myths put out there by the current "police state" is that guns are inherently evil and should be banned. As seen by what has happened in the UK, that is a bad idea.


RE: But... But...
By tng on 3/8/2012 9:42:41 AM , Rating: 2
Can't beleive that I got rated down for that. Guns are just a tool. Any tool can be used for good or bad, the people who would rate me down probably have at least one screwdriver and just don't realize that you can use it to kill somebody.


RE: But... But...
By MrBlastman on 3/8/2012 10:03:08 AM , Rating: 2
It's surprising how many people are afraid of them and have no clue. My neighbor is from Britain and his mum was visiting one day. She happened to be ranting about how scared she was earlier in the day because she saw a neighborhood boy walking around with a BB Gun hunting squirrels.

She proclaimed, "I can't believe that is legal here! He must have been breaking the law! That's dangerous!"

I just sighed and shook my head, not wanting to stir the pot with her. A BB Gun. Seriously?

:(


RE: But... But...
By Ringold on 3/8/2012 2:03:09 PM , Rating: 4
You didn't let out a big sigh of relief as you took a full-sized 1911 out of a holster and plopped it down on the table and said "Man, this thing chafes some times"? :P


RE: But... But...
By SirZ on 3/8/2012 11:04:14 AM , Rating: 2
Uh....what happened in the UK, a High School shooting with slingshots? Five victims? Three dead? </sarcasm>

Which side of the gun issue were you arguing for anyway?

BTW, I believe in the right to bear arms, though most don't deserve that right... military service should be a mandatory prerequisite for firearm ownership IMHO. Want to carry heat? fine, do it on the front lines first.


RE: But... But...
By Kurz on 3/8/2012 11:51:34 AM , Rating: 3
Umm... the primary reason for the right to bear arms is allow the citizenry to instill fear in our government.


RE: But... But...
By JediJeb on 3/8/2012 2:44:39 PM , Rating: 3
And in any would be invaders who would also need to plan how to deal with an armed citizenry.


RE: But... But...
By macca007 on 3/9/2012 8:24:13 PM , Rating: 2
Any would be invaders? LOL
That is no excuse for needing to have guns, Which idiotic country would be fkn stupid enough to attack the greatest military power on the planet?
Don't think those countries would give 2 shits about being afraid of citizens carrying hand pistols or even high powered rifles.
Those would be invaders would just bomb the citizens back to the stone age, cripple infrastructure power/water,take over farms etc etc sure some could manage to go bush and live off land for a while but seriously 300,000,000 Americans citizens doing that aint gonna work for very long,End up turning on each other when things get scarce. lol
By all means carry a weapon to defend yourself/family, But seriously cut the crap about needing guns to defend against an invading army when your country has not only Nukes but the greatest fighting force on the planet, Almost an insult to those that serve thinking a Rambo with a gun can hold off another invading super power.


RE: But... But...
By fteoath64 on 3/11/2012 8:19:00 AM , Rating: 2
"the greatest fighting force on the planet".

The NDAA just made that greatest fighting force on the planet turn AGAINST You!. That is why. They determine who an "enemy combatant" is and it has no relevance to the truth, just whatever they have determined.


RE: But... But...
By rs2 on 3/8/2012 7:53:48 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't say guns are evil, or that nobody should have them. I said that people who feel that "ALL they need" are bullets and dogfood don't exactly inspire feelings of safety in me. And I stand by that.

Everyone needs/wants more than just ammo and dogfood, and a person who has only those two things doesn't exactly have very many options in terms of how they're going to acquire the other things they want.

There's nothing wrong with people owning and using guns responsibly. However, the people who are so vehemently pro-gun as to assert that having every single person walking around with a concealed weapon on their person is a good idea that will increase safety are really not any better than the people in the "guns are evil" crowd. It's seldom wise to take the extremist viewpoint on either side of an argument. The best answer is typically somewhere in the middle.


RE: But... But...
By tng on 3/9/2012 2:29:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...having every single person walking around with a concealed weapon on their person is a good idea that will increase safety are really not any better than the people in the "guns are evil" crowd.
Criminals like people who can't or wont defend themselves. Why would you take on someone who may have a firearm when there is a person down the street who doesn't?

In response to the UK comment, after the UK took all the guns off the streets and out of the hands of responsible owners, violent crime has not gone away. If you can't shoot someone, you use the next best thing, a knife. This has prompted UK officials to look into banning certain kinds of knives. Of course this will not stop people who will start using bats, and so on.


RE: But... But...
By MrBlastman on 3/8/2012 9:59:56 AM , Rating: 1
You're really a fool if you think that all of us with guns and ammo go around every single day looking for people to threaten, rob, beat and murder for our food. LOL!

Guess what? The people that DO go around doing that are insane and should be put down/put away/whatever--and they are a minority. I have my ammo and dog to protect myself from those people.

Think about it--say you are walking along downtown one day and three of those "wackos" fan out around you while you're minding your own business in the street. You look around and notice nobody else is on the street with you except those thugs. You have a few options...

1. Pick up your phone and try and call the cops... good luck with that, they'll be on top of you so fast it isn't funny.

2. Scream for help! That's not going to do you any good either because by the time the cops DO arrive, you've been beaten, shot and left for dead.

3. Fan out your shirt/coat over your sidearm. They'll get the picture quick and walk away. Most of these thugs don't want trouble and would rather just move along to an easier target.

Most of us that do have ammo and a dog respect:

a. The Constitution
b. Our State laws
c. Our Freedoms

We don't want to jeopardize them so we'd rather be good, law abiding people like the rest of America. The only difference is when trouble happens, we aren't at the mercy of our "system" and instead can do something about it, letting the "system" do their job as well--which is to clean up the mess after it happens. The "system" doesn't save you, it just finds the problem individuals after it happens.

But you go ahead and keep thinking we're all nuts and as you lose your freedoms, one day you'll wake up and think to yourself--gee, this really stinks, I can't do anything anymore in my town because the police and surveillance are everywhere. Who knows... maybe you'll pick your nose wrong and end up thrown in jail because of it.


RE: But... But...
By JediJeb on 3/8/2012 2:49:23 PM , Rating: 1
I guess most anti-gun people think that when someone is breaking in your front door, you can ask them politely to stand outside while you call the police and to wait for them to come arrest them instead of beating you up and taking all you have.

There is probably a good reason why out here in the rural parts we don't hear of things such as home invasions. Most home invaders are afraid to try it because they never know which house might have the shotgun waiting for them just inside the door.


RE: But... But...
By macca007 on 3/9/2012 8:38:14 PM , Rating: 2
True but that's what insurance is for,No different from a shop owner. If at gunpoint better off just letting them take the shit instead of either getting killed or put in jail for manslaughter.

No,The reason is why would some thugs drive all that way out there to some rural town to steal a tv from you,Makes no sense. The city or suburbs with houses crammed together offers more potential stealing,They also have no clue which house owner carries the .50 desert eagle, No difference there between rural folk and city folk.
Too much shit is shown on tv where the good guy wins, In real life it's not always pretty, You put up a fight you or your wife or kid gets killed over a stupid fkn tv!


RE: But... But...
By EricMartello on 3/8/12, Rating: 0
RE: But... But...
By Paj on 3/8/2012 7:25:13 AM , Rating: 2
There s a huge difference between a police state and law and order.


RE: But... But...
By tng on 3/8/2012 8:25:29 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There s a huge difference between a police state and law and order.
Depends on what you call law and order.

I grew up in a very rural area where almost every body owned a gun. There was no crime to speak of, unless you count breaking traffic laws. When I moved to a large metro area I found that people there were afraid of guns and many were afraid of me because I had used guns before. It was just sad. Most of these people were just waiting to be a victim of crime, scared of almost everything.


RE: But... But...
By Kurz on 3/8/2012 10:48:22 AM , Rating: 3
Fear is the mind killer.


RE: But... But...
By Invane on 3/8/2012 12:15:51 PM , Rating: 3
This is the method the government is currently using to push their gun control agenda. If they can get it to the point that most people fear guns, tighter and tighter gun control will be a foregone conclusion.

I also grew up in smaller rural areas where guns were commonplace. Having a gun rack in the back window of your truck was fairly commonplace. Nowadays people freak out at the mere sight of a gun.

The lack of education and knowledge about firearms is the real problem here, and I have no doubt this is intentional. Switzerland has mandatory training in this regard for all males as well as one of the highest firearm ownership rates in the world. Shooting is a national pastime, and seeing someone carrying a rifle in plain sight down the street is common. It also has some of the lowest crime rates.

Once you give up the knowledge and right to defend yourself, and expect some other empowered party to do it for you, you submit to anything that empowered party wants to do to you. This is quickly becoming the state of American law enforcement as police departments become more militarized while gun legislation becomes more and more strict.

Firearms have played an important role in our country's history. They are a tool, and, like any other can be used for whatever purpose the human being using them chooses. I used to have an aversion to guns, but I've since come to understand the purpose they serve. I sincerely wish more Americans would educate themselves on this point and begin exercising their right to own a gun. An armed society is a polite society.


RE: But... But...
By JediJeb on 3/8/2012 2:55:36 PM , Rating: 2
Correct! If people want the police to be the ones that will constantly protect them, then they will have to be willing to put up the money to expand the police force until there can be an officer on ever corner 24/7, otherwise there will be openings in the coverage and someone is going to get through.

Home defense should be every person's responsibility personally. Problem is now days everyone wants to just have their fun and never be bothered with the responsibilities required for everyday life.


RE: But... But...
By Strunf on 3/8/2012 8:03:08 AM , Rating: 1
I would even say the more advanced a system is the more flaws it may have.

Full body scanners are useless if you put whatever you want inside your own body, also seeing how this work you could come up with something that would encase your object in such a way that the X-Ray would not see where your body ends and this encasing starts.


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