Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Can Imaging Technologies Save Us From Terrorists?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the trust-shorter-answers-more dept.

Privacy 480

itwbennett writes "In the aftermath of the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack, full body scanning technologies such as millimeter wave and backscatter are regaining popularity, writes blogger Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols in a recent post. But, he asks, do they really work? The TSA seems to think so. It has just issued a contract to purchase more millimeter wave scanners from L3 Communications. Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security secretary, told the New York Times that if these scanners had been in place, they would have caught the would-be bomber. Ben Wallace, the Conservative Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, disagrees, saying that the technologies can't detect the kind of low-density explosive that the would-be terrorist tried to use on December 25th."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

... but not if (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655858)

He stuck them up his bum.

Re:... but not if (2, Funny)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656098)

Don't give Tom Green any new ideas.

Re:... but not if (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656142)

Say "Hello" to body cavity probes at the gate . . .

Re:... but not if (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656244)

They've already used this technique successfully to kill someone. Used a cell phone to detonate.

Re:... but not if (3, Informative)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656510)

They've already used this technique successfully to kill someone. Used a cell phone to detonate.

ITYM "unsuccessfully, killing only the bomber".

It's like jumping on your own hand grenade.

(Must of made a horrible mess though).

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/21/bum_bombing/ [theregister.co.uk]

Re:... but not if (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656416)

Takes the activity of lighting your farts to a new level.

Re:... but not if (2, Informative)

gedrin (1423917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656496)

A Saudi prince was recently targetted in this way. The bomber was meeting with the prince, and smuggled in a device in his rectum. When the device detonated, the bomber's body dampened the effect and the target recieved relatively minor wounds. It's a method that has not had the best success in the past.

Re:... but not if (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656622)

Or blew them up in the terminal before departure. What about a car bomb in Times Square? If airlines are immune to bombing, people will bomb elsewhere. Terrorism cannot be fought at this end.

First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655866)

I win

Re:First (2, Funny)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656200)

If only you hadn't been wearing a long black beard and carrying a prayer mat, you might have made it through the full body scanner quicker, then you really *would* have been first !

wha (3, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655880)

aren't these the scanners known to have health risks and/or not work? [cnet.com]

Re:wha (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656028)

Yes, but 2010 is election year here in the UK.

Re:wha (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656334)

What a coinkidink! [wikipedia.org] Lucky us, we'll get to see new idiots in Parliament AND Congress! What could possibly go wrong?

RTFA (2, Informative)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656138)

The article you linked to says no. The health risks are no greater than carrying a cell phone or spending 2 minutes in an airplane at cruising altitude (depending on the type).

Re:RTFA (1)

epp_b (944299) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656544)

That's not the point. Those things are incidental. We're talking about deliberate and unnecessary radiation where it didn't exist before.

Re:wha (1, Insightful)

epp_b (944299) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656518)

As someone who must undergo plenty of radiation for a chronic medical condition, I will not stand for having deliberate radiation being put through my body when it is of no direct medical benefit to me. Much less so for some useless, tax-draining government agency to create an illusion of effectiveness.

Re:wha (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656574)

So a woman bomber fills her maxi-pad with this powder.... the scanner sees she has a feminine napkin in place..... Now what?
Don’t forget the other chemical say let’s put that on a string

Once again style over substance.
Sell some machines... justify more personnel... remove a bit more liberty and freedom....no real results. Exert more power and make sure the youth never remember to get offended when someone wants to invade your privacy. One more generation and it’s just about done.

In my book it started with a pee test. (Its not an invasion of privacy with no probable cause says our highest court. Intellectually bankrupt tards.)

  Same as it ever was.

Re:wha (4, Interesting)

ILikeRed (141848) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656576)

This is a better link to information on the damage to DNA from Terahertz scanners [technologyreview.com] . It was covered in Slashdot earlier [slashdot.org] , don't know why it is not a related story.

Quoting the earlier story:
"Now a team led by Los Alamos National Labs thinks it knows why. They say that although the forces that terahertz waves exert on double-stranded DNA are tiny, in certain circumstances resonant effects can unzip the DNA strands, tearing them apart. This creates bubbles in the strands that can significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. With terahertz scanners already appearing in airports and hospitals, the question that now urgently needs answering is what level of exposure is safe."

yeah, and? (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655894)

Ben Wallace, the Conservative Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, disagrees, saying that the technologies can't detect the kind of low-density explosive that the would-be terrorist tried to use on December 25th."

Since when has a technology that doesn't work deterred the US from using it anyway? :(

Re:yeah, and? (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656004)

If it works or not is a minor detail. It creates more security theatre, is incredibly invasive, and no doubt costs a fortune.

Those are the three things the security bureaucracy cares about. Actual security is kind of a side thing that's nice if you achieve it.

Just wait... (4, Funny)

mishehu (712452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655908)

...until some terrorist manages to get his underwear bomb past the millimeter wave. After that, will we all be required to fly in the nude? (If so, I refuse to fly unless I'm flying in a plane full of nothing but attractive young female swimsuit models)

Re:Just wait... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656114)

No, then congress will have to confiscate more of our hard earned dollars in the name of fighting terrerr'sts and buy the next ineffectual piece of crap solution.

Re:Just wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656144)

...until some terrorist manages to get his underwear bomb past the millimeter wave. After that, will we all be required to fly in the nude? (If so, I refuse to fly unless I'm flying in a plane full of nothing but attractive young female swimsuit models)

I think you would be disappointed to discover how much of the magic of the swimsuit edition lies in the photography, lighting, and touch-up.

I think... (2, Insightful)

killmenow (184444) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656242)

If the photography, lighting, and touch-up are removed and the swimsuit models drop from a "10" to a "7", most slashdotters would still be on board, literally.

Re:Just wait... (4, Informative)

willy_me (212994) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656230)

As soon as these scanners are deployed terrorists will simply start to carry the explosives in an internal cavity. 80g of explosives - the amount used on the 25th - only has a volume of 36x36x36 mm^3. There are plenty of places where this could be hidden - just look at the drug mules..

So you will still need to be searched, even if you are travelling in the nude. But at least the searches would take less time.

Re:Just wait... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656606)

It doesn't matter if they work or not, so long as we spend lots of money purchasing them. Guns ROUTINELY make it past screening when the government's official testers try to get them past.

As to flying nude, you'd also need to require a colonoscopy and dental exam at the gate. Then, of course, you'd need to have equal vigilance on everyone who worked on the outside or inside of the plane, including the manufacturers.

Of course, even if all those were done, there is NO security for small planes. I've flown internationally on a 10 seater and had no security check whatsoever, because it was a small plane. Those planes can cause quite a bit of damage to larger planes, and so on. They will never have security, as many are corporate jets, flown by the guys who pay the largest amounts to political candidates.

Re:Just wait... (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656238)

If so, I refuse to fly...

Good idea. Actually, it would be a better idea if everybody refused to fly until the airlines recognised that their customers deserve a modicum of respect. The whole business of flying anywhere has become so universally unpleasant, there's no point bothering any more, and it's high time the airlines realised that.

Re:Just wait... (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656476)

Only problem is traveling intercontinentally. It does, however, give me impetus to move to Europe. At least I can visit a variety of countries all by land. The same is not quite so convenient in North America.

Re:Just wait... (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656370)

If that happens, I predict Hooters Air will become hugely successful. No pun intended.

Re:Just wait... (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656512)

Great... just what a need. If you project the average hooters into a nude flight, it would be a half-dozen moderately attractive women and 300 hideous fat jocks and old men.

I'll pass, thanks. Just anesthetize me and stack me in a sleep tube for the flight :)

Had DHS not been so secretive... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655912)

Had DHS not been so secretive about their processes and people actually bothered to listened when the guy's father walked into the US embassy and said "I think my son is a terrorist" and actually looked into the matter it wouldn't have happened.

Right now I don't think I know if anybody without an TS-SCI clearance actually knows how to get on of off the list.

Re:Had DHS not been so secretive... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656052)

Had DHS not been so secretive about their processes...

So they should have issued a global alert for someone who was only a danger to his trousers?

Re:Had DHS not been so secretive... (1)

jocabergs (1688456) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656212)

Wait are we talking Tiger Woods here? oh nm to his trousers not in them...

Re:Had DHS not been so secretive... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656466)

Sure, that guy failed to understand the detonation profile of PETN, but what about the next one? The next one might not skimp on his homework so much.

No, nor should we expect it to (0, Flamebait)

hatemonger (1671340) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655930)

We can't make the world 100% safe; I don't see why people are so critical of the TSA. They do a decent job at making airports appear secure, which is all that should be expected of them.

At Best It's A Static Defense... (1)

gedrin (1423917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655932)

...like the Maginot Line.

Re:At Best It's A Static Defense... (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656016)

...like the Maginot Line.

Didn't it work? Oh wait....

Re:At Best It's A Static Defense... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656096)

like the Maginot Line

Given that just the other day they had to completely lock down Newark and rescan everyone because someone walked right around security, I think it's an apt comparison.

Re:At Best It's A Static Defense... (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656132)

The Maginot Line provided a lot more gainful employment than these devices do. This is the new cold war. (I bet all the big bucks in the future of the nuclear weapon biz are going towards the new frontiers of maintenance and clean-up. All the investment of the last sixty or so years was just the "special introductory price low-down-payment".)
The bill is in the mail.

Re:At Best It's A Static Defense... (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656326)

Exactly, Maginot has been flanked and a lot of stuff goes on a plane without going through passengers scanners. if they can plan enough to hijack 4 planes at once they'll be able to bribe/infiltrate somebody to snatch something aboard during maintenance/catering/refueling/cleaning operations. Maginot look-a-likes are always a waste of time and resources. On the other side I don't expect the guys that get paid to build and manage those scanners to agree with me.

On a related note. . . (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30655938)

New scanners break child porn laws [guardian.co.uk]

The rapid introduction of full body scanners at British airports threatens to breach child protection laws which ban the creation of indecent images of children, the Guardian has learned.

Privacy campaigners claim the images created by the machines are so graphic they amount to "virtual strip-searching" and have called for safeguards to protect the privacy of passengers involved.

Ministers now face having to exempt under 18s from the scans or face the delays of introducing new legislation to ensure airport security staff do not commit offences under child pornography laws.

Terrorist will just use children (3, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655940)

because child porn laws are already being considered with these new machines, in the UK I believe no one under 18 can be scanned with one.

So, lets just hand them our playbook again. Instead of looking for terrorist we are looking to naughty bits.

We are nearly suicidal in our attempts to not offend anyone. What will it take to realize that feelings heal over time but death does not?

Re:Terrorist will just use children (0)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656160)

because child porn laws are already being considered with these new machines, in the UK I believe no one under 18 can be scanned with one.

So, lets just hand them our playbook again. Instead of looking for terrorist we are looking to naughty bits.

We are nearly suicidal in our attempts to not offend anyone. What will it take to realize that feelings heal over time but death does not?

They have been using children to carry bombs for ages. It isn't even a new concept.

Re:Terrorist will just use children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656178)

the whole reason we HAVE terrorists killing people is because of feelings that have not healed over time.

no it can't save us (2, Interesting)

marcuz (752480) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655954)

The government likes this war on terrorism so they will keep it going so they can do in the name of anti-terrorism whatever they like to do. Its like the neverending war from orwell's 1984.

The scanners were already in place (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655958)

in Holland! However they weren't used to avoid embarrassment to US passengers.

Also, having them in place in US airports won't scan someone flying in from Timbuktu, now would they?

Re:The scanners were already in place (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656038)

I guess they plan to forbid planes from destinations where passengers weren't scanned before entering the plane.

Re:The scanners were already in place (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656450)

Excellent idea, unless of course they fly from [insert forbidden embarkation country here]via somewhere like Schipol or CDG.

Or maybe drive to another country, then fly.

terrorist not much of a problem (2, Interesting)

astar (203020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656300)

Unless they have nukes or something, terrorists are not much of a threat to the country. Recognize that governments never assume an actual responsibility to say protect you from crime. So what is happening here?

I suggest we are having a wave of terrorism to change the subject from the collapse of copenhagen. Some psych warfare.

Here is something to think about. There is a lot of talk about Yemen. So they talk about the underware bomber and Yemen. But the obvious factoid that he was recruited in Londonistan is never mentioned. And then we have supposedly released gitmo detainees to yemen with bad rsults. Of course, it is not mentioned that these people were released to the saudis. And sometimes the 9/11 people nationalities have actually been mentioned in the past.

Figure you are being taken for a ride.

Yeah right. (1)

Sean (422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655988)

If only you give up more freedom and more privacy you will be safe!

Northwest Bomb Plot 'Oddities' [legitgov.org]

Were any provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire soon or something?

Re:Yeah right. (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656058)

Were any provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire soon or something?

They'll extend it, don't worry. In any case, I think I read that the supreme court did rule some of it unconstitutional already.

Health Care Model (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655994)

Expensive new imaging devices generate fees. Tax dollars FTW!

As a shareholder, I say YES (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30655996)

I own a number of security-related investments, so YES YES YES they work!!! Save us from teh terrorists !1!! Wait, am I being too cynical?

Re:As a shareholder, I say YES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656120)

Wait, you say that the tiger-repellant rock also works against terrorists ?

If so, I would be interested to own one !

Re:As a shareholder, I say YES (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656600)

You have to buy the upgrade.

No (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656020)

Simple no. Terrorism induces fear, mostly irrational fear which trumps any technology or logic.

Kiddie Porn Laws Defeat Scanners (4, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656040)

There was an article [guardian.co.uk] that mentioned that use of these scanners violated GB laws on child porn. So now you have kids (up to 17) - very impressionable and angsty kids - that will become the target of recruitment by terrorist organizations. Epic FAIL.

What we need to do now is to accept that airline travel is not safe, and can never be safe. Everything in life that has the best rewards also has the greatest risks. Why can't we just factor risk into airline travel for the reward of being a timezone away in an hour? I would still fly. And those who wouldn't would push for a transcontinental high-speed train (Mag-Lev?) which would have a lower risk/reward, but just as cost effective.

   

People are terrible at understanding risk (4, Insightful)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656356)

Hear, hear. Your chances of dying in an aircraft terrorism incident are really, really tiny [reason.com] . People need to stop wetting their pants every time they get a whiff of some kind of terrorist activity - it only encourages more of the same. You are far more likely to die in an auto accident, from some other form of murder, by slipping in your bathtub, or even by being struck by lightning, than you are to be killed by a terrorist. So enough with the inane security bullshit, already.

to bad having under 18 is child porn and they may (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656050)

to bad having under 18 is child porn and they may be forced to not get scanned and how long before they seek a bomb / gun in?

Re:to bad having under 18 is child porn and they m (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656360)

considering that most suicide bombers are children/disaffected teens anyway? It seems pretty likely.

sure, mikey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656054)

Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security secretary, told the New York Times, that if these scanners had been in place, they would have caught the would-be bomber.

Except the 'bomber' boarded a US-bound plane at an airport that the TSA doesn't have any jurisdiction over whatsoever. So even if the TSA and DHS had rolled these out at all the US airports years ago, they still wouldn't have done anything to stop the guy. Now, if Mikey is talking about airports and countries that he's never had any jurisdiction or say over, then that might be another story. But at that point he's just talking out of his ass (not like he wasn't before).

It was not a "failed" attack. (4, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656068)

In the aftermath of the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack

It promoted "terror". It's making the enemy (us) scramble, expend resources and showed the jihadies that the enemy (us) is still vulnerable.

That there were no dead bodies or a mile-wide debris trail in downtown Detroit is trivial -- because there COULD have been.

Re:It was not a "failed" attack. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656140)

That there were no dead bodies or a mile-wide debris trail in downtown Detroit is trivial

Because that stuff is already in Detroit.

Re:It was not a "failed" attack. (2, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656320)

Damn. I wish you were not so cowardly anon, that was a good joke and could have gotten you some karma.

Re:It was not a "failed" attack. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656566)

He wasn't making a joke...

Re:It was not a "failed" attack. (2, Insightful)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656338)

A free society will always be vulnerable in some way. This didn't prove anything except that the American people will need to give up more freedom if they want to feel safer. I don't, but I guess I'm not the one the terrorists are trying to influence.

Re:It was not a "failed" attack. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656342)

100% Correct; the attack worked. Janet Nepalatano's statement of "The System Worked" is complete bullshit. The only thing that kept those people from dying was the incompetence of the bomb maker.

Re:It was not a "failed" attack. (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656558)

After suffering with Nappy as a governor for 4 years, I can tell you that bullshit is her only skill, and that she's not very good at it...

Re:It was not a "failed" attack. (2, Interesting)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656448)

That there were no dead bodies or a mile-wide debris trail in downtown Detroit is trivial -- because there COULD have been.

Could there? Has this actually been looked at? Because this guy wasn't carrying that much explosive. It may be that the worst case is a few people die and the cabin decompresses.

Re:It was not a "failed" attack. (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656522)

Honestly, the terrorists have won. They have successfully, again, forced everyone to endure even more stupid delays and procedures and will not stop the next incident, because the TSA is not smart enough to think out of the box to what that next incident might look like. While this bullshit is going on I'm just not going to fly - it's just not worth the hassle. Luckily for me, I have no place I need to go that is more than 500 miles away, and driving is probably faster and cheaper anyway...

Re:It was not a "failed" attack. (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656548)

That there were no dead bodies or a mile-wide debris trail in downtown Detroit is trivial -- because there COULD have been.

Could have been, except existing airport security measures were adequate to prevent this terrorist from bringing a better bomb aboard.

Some have pointed out that the FBI demonstrated a fairly potent bomb with the same amount of explosive material, but that doesn't count if it used a fuse or shell that wouldn't have passed airport security.

Re:It was not a "failed" attack. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656572)

There are more terrorists now than before the war in Iraq. There is more torture in Iraq now than before the war in Iraq. There were no WMD's in Iraq so the war turned out to be for oil after all. I didn't believe it at first, but you need to look at things honestly if you want to find a real solution.

Our government has done a lot of very, very bad things over the last few hundred years, and the chickens are coming home to roost.

There is no winning a war on terror. The best we can hope for is to stay alert, and someday learn from our mistakes.

Time to stop training death squads and supporting any old asshole just because he has oil, or isn't a dirty commie, and start killing the world with kindness.

Re:It was not a "failed" attack. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656618)

It's not even that complicated. The other day there was a big fuss at an airport because some guy went the wrong way through a security checkpoint and everybody in the terminal ended up having to be screened again. These people don't even have to inflict any physical damage; imagine the millions of dollars lost in time and money if a dozen guys did this at major airports across the country.

No. (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656086)

The only thing that will save us from terrorists is to refuse to be terrorized. When we go through all this bullshit, giving up our liberties, conviniences, travel, the terrorists win.

It's just more security theater. There are a whole lot of ways to kill large numbers of people, and no way to protect all of them.

Why are you so afraid of terrorists when only 3,000 people have died from terrorism in the US this century, while there are five times as many Americans murdered every single year [fbi.gov] in non-terrorist murders?

Murder is murder, why should political murder scare you more than some thug doing a drive-by shooting?

Re:No. (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656430)

Why are you so afraid of terrorists when only 3,000 people have died from terrorism in the US this century, while there are five times as many Americans murdered every single year [fbi.gov] in non-terrorist murders?

It's not a just dead-body-numbers game. Of those "5 times as many Amercians" murdered, how much capital did they take out of the US and world economy? In a single day, 20 some odd yahoos cost the US economy several hundred billions of dollars. This doesn't include Afghanistan and Iraq. And the fall of global markets after 911?

Just have another one or two of those "only 3000 dead" events and see what happens to the global economy, never mind the US.

Sitting on our hands saying "It's not safe and there's nothing we can do about it" is *not* an option.

why should political murder scare you more than some thug doing a drive-by shooting?

Because THIS type political murder can cause my kids and yours to starve.

Re:No. (3, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656624)

Murder is murder, why should political murder scare you more than some thug doing a drive-by shooting?

Liberals have hate crimes, conservatives have terrorists. They're essentially the same thing - a crime thought to be worse due to the motive.

IMHO, what does distinguish these crimes from the garden variety is if the attack was sponsored by a larger organization (whether a homegrown militia or Al Qaeda), since that means further attacks are likely in the offing.

For heavens sake, (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656100)

why won't somebody think of the children now!

They are another layer (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656130)

Disclaimer: I am an expert in millimeter-wave and terahertz imaging technology, both passive and active. I have posted here many times before, also as AC, for obvious reasons.

The short answer is a qualified YES. All imaging technologies can (help) save us from (some) terrorists. Specifically, those individuals carrying dangerous/unknown objects or materials outside their body, whether integrated with their clothes or simply bound to their body. The proof is in the images. I will provide examples if asked.

As far as safety concerns, the active millimeter-wave systems are safer than your cell phone or laptop wifi. The x-ray backscatter systems give you a dose of radiation that is far less than what you receive while flying over a few states at 39,000'.

The ultimate issue for most people is privacy. I won't get into that here; I just know the phenomenology and implementation side. I will answer any questions now, so please respond.

Re:They are another layer (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656392)

The proof is in the images. I will provide examples if asked.

OK, I'll bite -- I'm asking. Will you please provide a link to the images to support your assertion?

My main concern is that we're spending god-awful amounts of cash and wasted effort using these systems to detect items which are detectable via other, cheaper, less invasive, means.

Bonus points if you explain each of the images with that in mind -- how did the mm-wave/THz scanner detect something indetectable by other means?

Re:They are another layer (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656612)

Hmmm, been quite a while, and still nothing. I'm guess it was just another astroturf.

more FUD and less freedom every day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30656156)

Imho, this is all about power, it's clear to me that the control freaks are using every incident they can in order to justify big salaries, more powers and even less accountability. Yup, there's just nothing like living in fear and paying big bucks for it. Way to go people!

What about examples from other smugglers?? (1)

Croakus (663556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656176)

Terrorists aren't the only ones who smuggle things on airplanes. I think that drug mulls have pretty much proven that if someone wants to get a banned item onto an airplane badly enough, they're going to.

For example, will this technology find things that a person has swallowed? I might point out that the most recent attempt used an acid based chemical detonator. We have acid in our bodies. I don't know if it's enough to detonate an explosive material but I have to wonder.

Will this technology find things in other orifices? I think not. In fact, I doubt that anything short of a computer aided full body X-Ray (ala Total Recall) will actually give us 100% protection. Even that could be beaten by implanting devices that look innocent on the surface.

Re:What about examples from other smugglers?? (2, Interesting)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656560)

Trained dogs and handlers are the best bet.

Dogs can be trained to not only detect certain substances but also detect fear responses. So something concealed in a body might make it through but the dog may still alert to the fear response so the person can be pulled aside for a more thorough search. Of course dogs aren't high tech so they can't be a solution in the US.

Body Paint (4, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656194)

Next time I fly I am going to use a paint-pen to write something clever on my ass and see if they notice. Maybe something like "open other end".

The real danger... (5, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656210)

... is to the airline industry. My wife and I have flown once since 9/11. After being pulled out and "randomly" scanned at every single stop, we decided it wasn't worth the hassle anymore. Now we drive to where we want to be. It's amazing how pretty parts this country are from the ground. We don't really have any plans to fly again until this whole security theater thing has blown over.

Apparently we're not alone; general travel was up 2.2% over the holidays yet air travel was down 6.4%. This security nonsense only hurts the airlines. Soon we won't have a robust air travel system in the USA.

Re:The real danger... (1)

jdc18 (1654245) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656348)

When ever i past through the States I also get "randomly" selected, ummm

Re:The real danger... (0, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656372)

What's really hurting the Airlines is that they don't charge enough for flights.

This security theater crap will only put them in a position to get more money from the feds.

Re:The real danger... (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656394)

Do those figures include the period after Dec. 25th? Cause another explanation could be that people are pussies and didn't fly because "the terrorists are detonating their underpants on planes". People are pathetic and easily scared; the number who opt out on personal dignity grounds is probably far less than those who are literally giving in to terror.

4th Amendment (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656312)

All this "security theater" does little, and does so at the cost of a massive violation of our Constitution's 4th Amendment (to wit: privacy of person and possessions not otherwise subject to individualized judge-signed warrant). The right to such privacy is enumerated for a reason, and this wholesale ignoring of it will backfire badly.

It should be noted that (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656322)

Michael Chertoff, makes money from full body scanners. So he isn't exactly unbiased.

Also, he is kind of a jack ass who really doesn't seem to care for the constitution.

Radiation (0, Troll)

Andypcguy (1052300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656344)

I like the idea of these scanners and think they will make it more difficult for the crazies to do stupid stuff. My concern however is with radiation exposure. How much exposure is there from a single scan. What about all those frequent fliers and what about the screeners themselves. Next time I travel I'm bringing my gieger counter.

its about perception (0, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656406)

people are concerned about the issue of terrorism on airlines, so there's money and effort pushed towards this problem. it doesn't mean the effort or the technology is effective, its more like a groping in the dark to get something done, and more importantly, the perception that people are trying to solve the problem, regardless of how intractable the problem is

now a lot of people on slashdot might gripe and groan about lack of effectiveness, but you have to think about this from a political perspective: effectiveness is less important than perception that you are trying to be effective

that is, your average citizen, concerned about terrorism on airplanes, doesn't want to see zero screening and the pat answer "well, we have no effective technology to screen for this, so take your chances". then they get angry. they want to see barking dogs, stern men in uniform with stun guns, and people passing through electronic sniffing doodads. even if its not going to prevent something like the crotchbomber

actually preventing bombings isn't an issue, perception of an effort to try to prevent such bombings is the issue

so all of the inevitable griping on slashdot about technological ineffectiveness is completely besides the point. you are 100% correct. but it doesn't mean we won't get millions spent on ineffective technology

peace of mind, though resting on a flimsy foundation, is better than no peace of mind at all

Air line security is based on STUPID ideas (2, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656426)

1. You can not under ANY circumstances provide 100% security for an airplane for a blow it up scenario. Remember, the terrorist can always buy a Rocket launchers and set it up in the parking lot. They might even manage to get away alive. The incredibly excessive and stupid idea of stopping people from taking explosive devices onto a plane is moronic. So you force the terrorists to spend $20,000 instead of $5,000 for an underware bomb. Big deal, you do it by spending billions on scanners. Worse, the terrorists can afford it. They paid more than that to teach all the 911 pilots how to fly. But they don't need to do that, there are a hundred other ways to sneak explosives on board a plane and there is nothing anyone can do about several of them. To stop that we would require excessive measures - passengers traveling without any luggage, using loaner clothing, phone and PC provided by the airline - at a profit - for the duration of their trip, travelling while sedated by airline provided drugs.

2. The real problem is stopping another hijacking, not an explosion. Hijacking is much CHEAPER to defend against with a reinforced titanium door (light weight and strong) and the willingness to blow up the plane ourselves rather than let terrorists turn it into a weapon against a ground target.

The moronic TSA crap does not and can never stop terrorists, but it can delay, annoy and cost the flying public huge amounts of cash in an attempt to 'look like we are doing something'.

In my opinion, the terrorists have won. They destroyed our airline industry and convinced too many scared fools to willing give up their freedom in the 5 years directly after 9/11.

Why is Chertoff so keen on full-body scanners? (5, Insightful)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656446)

Could it be because he has a financial interest in selling them? Why, yes. Yes it could [gawker.com] . Not that he ever mentioned any of that in his numerous television interviews extolling the virtues of the things - you're meant to think that he's flogging them because he's genuinely convinced of their effectiveness.

To be clear: I'm not opposed to the former DHS secretary taking a post-politics job in the security industry. I'm not even against him appearing on my teevee to flog his products. What stinks, though, is when he doesn't make it clear that his words amount to an advertisement rather than news.

rat trap /idiot proof (1)

raymansean (1115689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656456)

building better rat trips leads to smarter rats/ building something that is idiot proof leads to better idiots.... No matter what we do in an attempt to keep the idiots or rats from terrorizing us, they will always find a work around. In the mean time life for 99.998% gets exponentially more complicated for the rest of us.

nope. (2, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656478)

Can Imaging Technologies Save Us From Terrorists?

Short answer: No.

Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security secretary, told the New York Times, that if these scanners had been in place, they would have caught the would-be bomber. Ben Wallace, the Conservative Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, disagrees, saying that the technologies can't detect the kind of low-density explosive that the would-be terrorist tried to use on December 25th.

Whether or not these scanners can actually detect such explosives is largely irrelevant.

This specific bomber was on watch lists, bought a one-way ticket with cash, and had worried his father enough for him to contact authorities. There are plenty of things already in-place that could have caught the would-be bomber, but didn't.

These new gadgets might very well help catch terrorists... But they aren't going to magically eliminate all terrorism.

They'll find an explosive that isn't detected. Or they'll carry it on in some way that isn't detected. Or they'll bribe the right people to get past security un-screened. Or they'll get people hired in the right places to bypass security entirely. Or maybe they'll blow up something instead of a plane - another building, or a train, or a boat.

We're still looking at treating the symptoms, rather than the disease itself. We're addressing specific actions - he tried to blow up a plane with a bomb in his underwear - rather than the root cause of these actions - religious extremism that's willing to sacrifice plenty of lives to make a statement.

As long as that extremism exists... And especially when we're willing to give their statements so much attention... Terrorism will persist, regardless of what technological gadgetry we put in place.

Considering the recent bomber BYPASSED security... (4, Insightful)

d474 (695126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656520)

...or at least, there is witness testimony strongly suggesting the bomber had inside help in the airport to get him past normal security, the answer is "No, full body scanners will not stop terrorists." What good is a full body scan if you have people on the inside that can get you past the scanner?

Don't take my word for it, listen to this NPR interview: Attorney witnessed bomber before flight had already bypassed security with no Passport [npr.org]

great idea (1)

snarkh (118018) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656582)

Let's spend a few billion of taxpayers' money on an unproven technology of dubious benefit.
Nothing stimulates the economy better during these hard times.

How many more cancer deaths will be created (1)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656594)

How many more cancer deaths will be created due to constant exposure to x-rays? I for one would rather get the frisk.

defence (1)

MrBrainport (1637275) | more than 4 years ago | (#30656628)

Yes, but the government spent less on national defence than it did on silly walks...airports are the right place, scan them all
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?