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Despite health and privacy concerns, and reports of inaccuracy, Britain is embracing expensive full body scanners. The nation is implementing a no-scan-no-fly policy at some of its airports. The policy should help citizens feel safer, even if they aren't really, some say.  (Source: CNN.com)
Scanners can't necessarily detect threats, but perhaps they will grant the illusion of security

The United States, in the wake of a failed Christmas terrorist attack on an airline headed to Detroit, Michigan, is looking to step up airport security.  In particular, it is considering adopting on a broader scale 3D scanners which are currently being tested at select airports across the U.S.  Other countries, including Great Britain are also considering adopting the devices.

Two technologies currently are competing in the full body scan arena, each with unique problems.  The first technology, used slightly more heavily in the U.S. is millimeter wave scanning.  There are numerous concerns about the technology including recent studies that showed it could cause DNA damage (which could increase the risk of cancer), inefficiency at detecting contraband placed at the genitals (they are obscured in the image, typically), and reports that the scanners are capable of storing images and transmitting them -- raising privacy concerns.

The second most prevalent technology is backscatter X-Rays.  The chief technology in Britain and also put in use at some American airports, this technology also has numerous concerns.  It is even less effective and detecting contraband as it depends on contrast with the skin -- so items smuggled in clothing lifted off the body surface aren't typically shown.  There are similar DNA damage concerns and privacy issues as well.  And both backscatter X-Rays and millimeter waves have been shown to not always detect low density materials like liquids, plastics, or powders, raising the possibility of explosives or plastic weapons escaping the scans.

Despite the abundant concerns, Britain has issued a sharp ultimatum to travelers -- no scan, no fly.  Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, a member of the ruling Labour Party proposed the rules which first will go into effect at Manchester and Heathrow airports.  He writes, "If a passenger is selected for scanning, and declines, they will not be permitted to fly."

He adds, "The code will require airports to undertake scanning sensitively, having regard to the rights of passengers."

Despite the numerous concerns, the head of customer experience at Manchester airport, Sarah Barrett states, "It will enhance security for everyone, which can only be a good thing, without compromising people's privacy.  The image generated by the body scanner cannot be stored or captured nor can security officers viewing the images recognize people."

The British government and U.S. governments claim the scanners obscure genitalia. However, the accuracy of those claims are being questioned after the Australian government -- also testing the scanners -- admitted that it unblurred the genitalia to increase the accuracy of the devices.  Admitted Australia's Cheryl Johnson, general manager of the Office of Transport Security, "It will show the private parts of people, but what we've decided is that we're not going to blur those out, because it severely limits the detection  capabilities."

Amid numerous concerns -- privacy, health risks, and inefficiency -- governments have to decide whether to try to charge ahead with the unproven and potentially damaging technology -- or to wait until it is sufficiently refined and improved.  Most world governments seem to be opting for the latter approach, throwing caution to the wind.  While the new scanners may not necessarily increase security significantly, they may at least offer people the illusion of safety at the airport, albeit at the cost of privacy and health risks.  And perhaps that's worth the high taxpayer expenses as Britain rolls out its new policy and the U.S. considers similar mandates.



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A total illusion....
By Amiga500 on 2/2/2010 10:20:26 AM , Rating: 3
Airport security is a load of bull. It might deter ham fisted amateurs. Anyone remotely capable and serious would have no trouble bypassing airport security.

I for one think this is a step too far in maintaining an illusion to keep the ignorant happy in the belief they are "safe".




RE: A total illusion....
By MikieTImT on 2/2/2010 10:55:22 AM , Rating: 4
I agree. This does nothing to detect items stored in a "charger". Neither does a pat-down. If someone is desperate enough to kill himself in the process, he won't have a problem cramming stuff up the stinkhole. Security is simply an illusion, and one I'm not willing to sacrifice rights to attain.


RE: A total illusion....
By mmntech on 2/2/2010 11:28:02 AM , Rating: 4
I was reading an article in the National Post (Canadian national paper) where they commented on an Toronto Star interview with the security advisor for Israel's Ben Gurion Airport. He says North American airport security is useless and the lines are unnacceptable. The scanners just give the illusion of security. According to him, security here is too focuses on terrorists attacking planes. He says this is foolishness. How easy would it be to walk into one of the security lines at the terminal and detonate a bomb? Israel has managed to set up iron clad security without the lines or issues. Granted their airports are smaller and it would cost a lot to implement here. However, I think our dignity is worth that cash.
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomme...

In my opinion, forcing people to submit to scanning or pat downs without cause is illegal. If they implemented it here, I can see someone talking it to the human rights tribunal. Probably me.


RE: A total illusion....
By Samus on 2/3/2010 12:04:57 AM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree with what you say, and I don't disagree with Israel's Ben Gurion Airport's security officer about US Airport security being "pointless" and "unacceptable"

But that guy in particular has no headroom for commenting on American security policy, because Israel is notoriously unsafe. Just a few years ago when they were really getting hammered my friends family had to move to Skokie, IL after a rocket blew the face off their apartment building.

I know this isn't remotely related to airport security, but I'm just saying...WE have a substantially safer country than they do, so they don't have any right to tell us whats 'wrong' with our security. Could the TSA be better, ohh yea, ten-fold. But their existance is obviously neccessary. You can't just NOT have security :)


RE: A total illusion....
By CSMR on 2/3/2010 6:43:23 AM , Rating: 2
That makes no sense. You are saying Israel is unsafe, therefore airport security there must be worse?


RE: A total illusion....
By marvdmartian on 2/2/2010 1:17:53 PM , Rating: 4
Simple solution: give everyone on board a handheld stun gun device. First moron who stands up to hijack the plane will get stunned so quickly they won't know what hit them!

Might help stifle some of the obnoxious kids onboard flights too! (J/K)


RE: A total illusion....
By Mr Perfect on 2/2/2010 1:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
They had a report covering this on the BBC last night. The scariest part was how none of the British public seemed to care. It was all just a lot of "Well, as long as it increases security.".

I wonder if they'd mind a pre-flight colonoscopy after the next guy goes for something a little more concealed then an underwear bomb?


RE: A total illusion....
By Aloonatic on 2/2/2010 2:33:36 PM , Rating: 5
Most of the people in Britain don't want to think for themselves. The rest of us are just waiting for a chance to leave.

Our media/newspapers are spineless and weak, our politicians don't give a damn about anything or anyone but themselves and we're all encouraged to turn on and spy on each other.

Everyone's bought into the "nothing to fear, nothing to hide" thing. That and "if it will fight terrorists (or paedophiles) then it's got to be good", and if you say anything about these things, then you must be a terrorist or paedophile.

It's quite sad really. There's a lot of talk about "broken Britain" because a few kids do really bad things, but the real stories that show that the country is broken are stories like this one, or where the police/council workers/anyone really can spy on me, or how bankers have held the country hostage and then raped it, whilst our MPs are too busy filling their own pockets and then when caught out, pretend it's all OK because they've told their friend to investigate them before releasing the information that they've let themselves off on the day that Tony Blair goes into a pointless inquiry to spin and lie his way though questioning about going into Iraq which we all know had precious little with UN charters and weapons inspectors in reality.

And these scanners? They could just be big plastic boxes, that don't do anything. They'd be just as effective anyway I guess. Like most airport security. No one will comment, no one will speak out or say it's a waste of money at the very least. We'll all just queue up, and pretend that it's going to make us safer, when in reality, human error and laziness are the terrorists best friends (as we saw this Christmas) and nothing will change, other than the amount of money in a few bank accounts will go up, and the story will make stupid people think that the government are getting tough on terror/looking out for our safety.


RE: A total illusion....
By redbone75 on 2/2/2010 3:13:24 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
There's a lot of talk about "broken Britain" because a few kids do really bad things, but the real stories that show that the country is broken are stories like this one, or where the police/council workers/anyone really can spy on me, or how bankers have held the country hostage and then raped it, whilst our MPs are too busy filling their own pockets and then when caught out, pretend it's all OK because they've told their friend to investigate them before releasing the information that they've let themselves off on the day that Tony Blair goes into a pointless inquiry to spin and lie his way though questioning about going into Iraq which we all know had precious little with UN charters and weapons inspectors in reality.

You, sir, are in the running for what has to be the longest run-on sentence in DailtyTech history :)


RE: A total illusion....
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/2/2010 4:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
I started to think about this a little deeper. I do not have a child yet, but if I did I do not think I would want my kid, like a 15 or 16 year daughter going through one of these... This is sounding like a pedophile wet dream.


RE: A total illusion....
By Aloonatic on 2/2/2010 6:46:13 PM , Rating: 2
Only if they're into ghost porn. If so, then they you could just distract them with a copy of Casper The Friendly Ghost or something.

What you might find is that there are a lot of men with their hands in their pockets, trying to excite themselves a little to show a little more length on their scan, just in case there is a hot chick on the monitors in the room next door.

At the very least, I demand that the heating is turned up as I'm not going through there if it's cold!


RE: A total illusion....
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/3/2010 8:53:32 AM , Rating: 2
I never saw Casper butt crack while I was growing up. It shows way more then you are suggesting... If it did not you would not have to worry about the temperature of the room.
We need that machine from "Total recall" then the problem would be solved...


RE: A total illusion....
By Aloonatic on 2/3/2010 10:12:05 AM , Rating: 2
Dude, I was joking, and I assumed that you were not being all that serious too.

I feel sorry for your kids though. They're going to make Micheal Jackson's kids look like hippy free spirits who were allowed to run wild and free if you are already worrying about stuff like this. You probably wont be happy until everyone has had a lobotomy to remove their imagination in case a peado looks at your kids and imagines what they might look like naked or something.

To put your mind at rest. Apparently, these systems have no way of storing the images that tehy produce and I am pretty sure that if one of the operators was having a sly one off the wrist whilst using the machine, making your son/daughter spin around for his pleasure to make sure they're not an Al-Quida, then someone might well notice.

Has the paedophile hysteria really reached this level that people seriously make comments like yours and believe in/stand by them? Amazing. You're probably one of those people who would call the police if you saw someone taking photographs of an empty playground. Was it you that reported this?

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/232145-my-pool-picture...

Seriously, if paedophiles are having to resort to the kind of images that this machine produces, in the environment that it does, we are well and truly winning the war on the paedophiles, and paedogeddon may well be averted after all.


...
By BrandtTheMan on 2/2/2010 10:05:46 AM , Rating: 5
Could've at least put a hot girl instead of a guy for the picture. I would've clicked then.




RE: ...
By amanojaku on 2/2/2010 10:17:21 AM , Rating: 3
At first I was gonna say "Aren't there enough hot women for you to look at on the Internet?" Then I realized how stupid that sounded.

I hereby demand that ALL DT articles be accompanied by pictures of hotties!


RE: ...
By Camikazi on 2/2/2010 6:04:26 PM , Rating: 4
Enough hot women on the internet... HAHAHA, what a laugh, there can NEVER be enough.


At least Europe has good trains...
By Shig on 2/2/2010 11:08:53 AM , Rating: 2
Take the train if you don't want to get scanned. Nuff said.




By Ldir on 2/2/2010 1:11:54 PM , Rating: 2
I'll be flying to Chicago. I don't think their trains make it quite that far.


RE: At least Europe has good trains...
By BigPeen on 2/2/2010 1:52:49 PM , Rating: 1
Well it looks like I'll never be flying to England again. Let's hope they never pull shit garbage in the U.S. otherwise it'll be a lot harder for me to see people on the other side of the country.


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/2/2010 3:12:22 PM , Rating: 2
They have them in some US airports... I thought one was Atlanta. You are not forced to go through, but if you choose to it is a faster line. Most people were going through the metal detector.


By Aloonatic on 2/2/2010 2:38:27 PM , Rating: 2
Oh great, now you've just told Terry Wrist and Alan Kaida where to strike next. I hope you're happy?!

Also, you've never used a British train, have you? Being strip searched with a full body cavity search (deep and hard) is both more convenient and comfortable than getting on a train over here.


Well let's just admit it......
By jabber on 2/2/2010 1:13:35 PM , Rating: 4
....the terrorists have won...and we let them.

Well done guys. Never have so few made so many look really really stupid.

Not that the result could have been any different.

I bet Russia is furious that it could have made the west dissapear up it's own asshole in fear if it had just used a couple of hand grenades, some box cutters and semi-exploding underpants. Total cost of changing the western world into a nervous breakdown - $50!

Pretty incredible really.




RE: Well let's just admit it......
By Engi on 2/2/2010 6:24:36 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed they have

Not only will these scanners do little to stop anyone serious about doing damage and cost millions resulting in a small increase in flight tickets. It will subjecting millions of people to full body X-rays every time they go through security and if your transferring it can be more then once.

The X-rays are gonna do damage to thousands of people particularly business men and women who have to fly regularly, let alone air crew. In 30 years time we'll have a increased % of the population of people dying of cancer (probably lung cancer as the lung is sensitive) and related diseases, medical funding will need to be increased. I bet it will be the new "asbestos" of our day. Unfortunately as this affect is not immediate and will not be seen for some time. People do not consider it or they do not care, what fools.

Seriously, sometimes the west is too stupid for its own good. Fluoridation of water supplies is another example. If you actually think fluoride does your teeth good, your sadly mistaken. We are increasingly creating more carcinogenic environment's to live in, justifying it by any means how and then wondering why cancer & other related health cases are on the rise.

Prevention is the answer but you can't sell it to anyone so we will continue poison, irradiate ourselves and eat poorly causing more cancer. All the while looking for the miracle 'cure' drug that will kill cancer before it kills us. Whether we find it or not, the drug/medical companies don't actually care as long as they can keep funding research with the sympathy appeals of those dying from the diseases.

The interesting question is; how many more people will die with these machines as a contributing factor in the future then terrorists blowing up planes?


By myhipsi on 2/3/2010 11:10:11 AM , Rating: 2
Well said, and oh so true.

Some interesting quotes from Osama Bin Laden:

quote:
All that we have to do is to send two mujahedin to the furthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.


quote:
Rather, the policy of the White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy their various corporations – whether they be working in the field of arms or oil or reconstruction – has helped al-Qaeda to achieve these enormous results.


It's not al qaeda, the Taliban, or Osama Bin Laden that we should fear. It's the drones and cowards that make up the majority of western society that we should fear. They are the ones who have enabled the unfettered rise of the military/industrial complex and the security/safety/nanny state in exchange for the illusion of safety and security.

Everytime liberty, freedom, and/or your constitutional rights are given up in the name of security, the "terrorists" win.


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/2/2010 10:18:13 AM , Rating: 3
"Despite the numerous concerns, the head of customer experience at Manchester airport, Sarah Barrett states, "It will enhance security for everyone, which can only be a good thing, without compromising people's privacy. The image generated by the body scanner cannot be stored or captured nor can security officers viewing the images recognize people." "

Right and a government agency can not tap a phone line with out court permission. It's not people who follow the rules that I'm worried about with this type of technology. It would be the ones who do not follow the rules. This just looks like a major problem waiting to happen. If it was 100% effective then I say OK, but it sounds like it very easy to fool.




RE: Why does this sound like famous last words...
By ani4ani on 2/2/2010 3:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
Given the claim that staff will not be able to recognise people in the scanner, then I wonder how they will pick out the bomber if the scanner shows something?


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/2/2010 4:00:00 PM , Rating: 2
Silly, he'll be the one that is ticking... :P

I was wondering that myself. Guessing they just would not let him leave the area. They will make phone call down and say, hold that guy... but just sound like more work and more workers.


What???
By DtTall on 2/2/2010 10:27:31 AM , Rating: 2
You mean to tell me that the British are leading the way in excessive and unproven security measures? Get out of here! Next thing you know they'll be selling bomb detectors that don't actually detect bombs.

Besides, why do they need this? Don't they already have a camera following every citizen?




RE: What???
By PrinceGaz on 2/2/2010 12:50:21 PM , Rating: 2
Those bomb detectors that a British company sold do work, provided you already know where the bomb is, because you make subconcious movements that cause it to point towards the bomb.


Agree
By SuckRaven on 2/2/2010 1:47:26 PM , Rating: 4
Yet another way to escalate paranoia, and accomplish nothing in the process, except to anger travelers.




Inevitable...
By Captain Orgazmo on 2/2/2010 8:49:35 PM , Rating: 4
How long until the orthodox Muslims complain about this violating their decency and are exempted from the scans by the courts on the grounds of religious beliefs. If the Afghans are complaining that the UAV drones are being used to look at their women through the roofs of their mud-huts (I'm not kidding), then this is obviously going to peeve them off royally.

All that is needed to defeat the terrorists without eroding our way of life and freedom is just a little of that rare gift to humanity -- common sense. Someday the politically correct anti-logic pervading western bureaucracy has to reach critical mass and implode under the weight of its own stupidity.




Illegal??
By Qapa on 2/7/2010 7:10:45 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, a machine that helps you have cancer w/o even really making it safe...

Lots of people know, in family, friends, etc, someone who had cancer... now I hope this makes LOTS of people to fight against a cancer machine!!

I mean, are they crazy? Don't they know what it is to know someone with that desease???

If it thought I'd have cancer I'd go through one and then sue the **** out of them!!




RE: Illegal??
By Qapa on 2/7/2010 7:12:45 AM , Rating: 2
Btw, I'd sooner strip right in front of everyone (keeping my briefs on) before going through that... and maybe that would be a simple way for people to make a stand against it!!


Good Evening, Gentlemen
By clovell on 2/2/2010 10:46:59 AM , Rating: 3
All Your Freedoms Are Belong To Us.




Logic?
By justsomeone on 2/2/2010 10:12:41 AM , Rating: 2
Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!!!




By fleshconsumed on 2/2/2010 10:48:04 AM , Rating: 2
The same way photographers are treated in UK? Yeah, right.




What a crock of #$^!
By drando on 2/2/2010 1:26:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While the new scanners may not necessarily increase security significantly, they may at least offer people the illusion of safety at the airport, albeit at the cost of privacy and health risks. And perhaps thats worth the high taxpayer expenses as Britain rolls out its new policy and the U.S. considers similar mandates.


The illusion of of safety? Really? Is that what the governments are concerned with? As long as we "feel" safe, regardless of if we actually are, then to hell with privacy and health concerns. Sweet job Big Brother.




Best way to Combat these scaners
By Kurz on 2/2/2010 2:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
Tell your friends, family what have you to contact airports, airlines, and threaten if they take up these Technologies you wont travel with them.

Money is a prime motivator for some these security firms. They are trying to sell us technology that could cause cancer. The Politicians are jumping on it for votes and maybe backroom dealing.




No scan, no fly
By ClownPuncher on 2/2/2010 3:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
No fly, no pay. No ticky, no rondry.




viable protest methods
By irishtechie on 2/3/2010 6:25:34 AM , Rating: 2
since this is an invasive search (radiation is just as unwelcome as unwanted hands) what peaceful protest methods are available.
1. Do I have the right to demand to be scanned naked, I do not wish this but just like a fist fight one cannot expect to make a point without some personal discomfort/inconvenience otherwise it would not be a protest.
2. Could one while being scanned speak loudly enough to carry yet not actually shout the words "Damn Tony Blair that smarmy, mass-murdering sociopath may he be tried and hung for treason and warcrimes, his severed head to be preserved and displayed in the Imperial War Museum" As far as I can tell that statement contains no incitement to violence or hatred, advocates legal procedure as a preferred method of resolving problems and therefore should not be an impediment to my rapid progress through the security filter.




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