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Hitachi Develops Boarding Gate With Built-In Explosives Detector

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the all-in-one dept.

Security 118

An anonymous reader writes "Hitachi, in collaboration with Nippon Signal and the University of Yamanashi, have successfully prototyped a boarding gate with built-in explosives detection equipment as part of efforts to increase safety in public facilities such as airports. The prototype boarding gate efficiently collects minute particles which have affixed themselves to IC cards or portable devices used as boarding passes, and can detect within 1-2 seconds the presence of explosive compounds using internalized equipment. With this method, it is possible to inspect 1,200 passengers per hour."

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Cup check! (4, Funny)

zippo01 (688802) | about 2 years ago | (#41556717)

Anything would be better then getting karate chopped in the crotch by the poorly trained TSA guy, every time I fly and refuse the body scanner.

Re:Cup check! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41556835)

As someone who spent the better part of last year as a bearded male flying 2-3 time a month who only went through 1-2 body scanners:

What the fuck are you talking about?

Re:Cup check! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41556845)

This just in: some airports have different staff and security policies.

Re:Cup check! (3, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41556915)

The obvious solution is to stop flying to / from the USA. Obviously it's difficult if you need to fly for work, but then again I suppose some people's principles do have a price.

Re:Cup check! (1)

isorox (205688) | about 2 years ago | (#41557321)

The obvious solution is to stop flying to / from the USA. Obviously it's difficult if you need to fly for work, but then again I suppose some people's principles do have a price.

Yes, you can try the UK, where they'll irradiate you with no option to opt out (Manchester for example). Or go for the grope in Amsterdam. How about Moscow? I believe Bangkok has them now too. I believe you need to sell your soul in Seoul too. Erez will be busy scanning you and that's not even an airport!

I've not done much travelling in the last few months, but Singapore's still safe, as is Jakarta, Delhi and Tel Aviv, but the corporate welfare program that are these scanners stretches across the world.

Re:Cup check! (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#41557777)

Yes, you can try the UK, where they'll irradiate you with no option to opt out (Manchester for example).

Small detail: Backscatter x-ray scanners are banned in the EU. Those are mm-Wave scanners, which are as safe as your phone. Essentially, it's your privacy you should be worried about, not your health.

Re:Cup check! (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#41559693)

It's not quite as simple as that, because it has been know for the UK Transport Secretary to put their fingers in their ears and shout "La la la la" while you mention that particular round of EU legal requirements.

Right now, the best hope for the UK seems to be that no matter how much the government shouts about security and terrorism the fact is that no-one likes having their privacy invaded, and the airports know that it probably does reduce the number of people willing to fly by some amount, and since the airports are in it for the money they don't seem to be reinstalling a lot of these scanners even if they're not prevented from doing so by UK law. Unless the government decides to mandate putting them back in again, of course...

Insatiable Lust.... (1)

mitcheli (894743) | about 2 years ago | (#41557191)

Question is, will this new gate satisfy the TSA agents? No more nudie pics, no more gropings? Something tells me this gate doesn't detect metal and the gropings will continue.

Re:Insatiable Lust.... (1)

isorox (205688) | about 2 years ago | (#41557327)

Question is, will this new gate satisfy the TSA agents? No more nudie pics, no more gropings? Something tells me this gate doesn't detect metal and the gropings will continue.

If only there was some form of gate which could detect metal. Perhaps it could beep when you went through, and they could use a hand held detector to find out you're wearing steel toe-caps.

Re:Insatiable Lust.... (1)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#41558913)

If only there was some form of gate which could detect metal.

Including alyoominium?

Re:Cup check! (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 2 years ago | (#41557237)

They should try my hot new idea.
Nude flights! Let the TSA worry about the baggage. Nude travelers get the fast-track onto a jet.
It could start with Sandals and French Riviera vacation flights and expand to tropical get-aways.
You gotta be O.K. with natural humans of any age, but, this should speed up the poking and prodding segment of consumer abuse.
What a conversation starter, imagine the people you'd meet with nothing to hide! How refreshing.

Re:Cup check! (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 2 years ago | (#41558511)

Then the TSA perverts would probably grope even more!

Re:Cup check! (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#41558723)

They should try my hot new idea.
Nude flights! Let the TSA worry about the baggage. Nude travelers get the fast-track onto a jet.
It could start with Sandals and French Riviera vacation flights and expand to tropical get-aways.
You gotta be O.K. with natural humans of any age, but, this should speed up the poking and prodding segment of consumer abuse.
What a conversation starter, imagine the people you'd meet with nothing to hide! How refreshing.

With an obesity epidemic in the US, you really want nude flights?

Re:Cup check! (1)

isorox (205688) | about 2 years ago | (#41557301)

Anything would be better then getting karate chopped in the crotch by the poorly trained TSA guy, every time I fly and refuse the body scanner.

What makes you think this will be instead of the grope?

And if "anything" is better you'd be happy to get irradiated by the xray machine operated by a monkey that doesn't know how it works

Re:Cup check! (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#41557471)

Anything would be better then getting karate chopped in the crotch by the poorly trained TSA guy

What makes you think the rough handling is unintentional?

Re:Cup check! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41558313)

Obvious Solution: Have Hitachi make some of those metal detecting *wands* as well.

Customer service with a smile...

Captcha: crotch

Re:Cup check! (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#41558475)

RSS linked shortened the headline to "Hitachi develops boarding gate with built-in explosives".

Now THAT would bring Real Meaning to the phrase "Terrorists' Surrogate Army!"

This whole bring-a-bomb-on-a-plane thing is something no sane person could believe. As has been often stated, if you wanted to do real damage, you'd detonate in a crowded airport, not on the plane. Yet these clowns continue to try and smuggle explosives onboard the plane. And, if one was to go strictly by public news reports, they succeed more often than not, only to be caught and neutralized by civilians.

It's stuff like this that makes me doubt how real reality is.

Soooooo... (5, Interesting)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#41556745)

I skimmed the link, looked like typical marketting pitch stuff. I didn't see any error rates on this marvelous new device. I'm curious as to how many false positives it's going to generate, and how often it will miss carry-on explosives. I'm also wondering how many days I'll need to stay away from the rifle range before I won't show any particulate explosives at one of these checkpoints.

Re:Soooooo... (5, Interesting)

AlecC (512609) | about 2 years ago | (#41556781)

Relevant comment. Contrary to what most people think, the false positive rate is far more important than the false negative rate. If it has a false negative (i.e. missing real bombs) rate, it will still succeed in its main task, of deterring would be bombers, because they will not take a 95% chance of detection. (Assuming, of course, the false negatives are random). On the other hand, if it has a false positive rate of 0.1%, that is a false alarm for about one in four aircraft boardings, which it totally unacceptable, And, as you say, a recent visit to a rifle range would be highly likely to trigger a false positive. They need to tune the false positives down to less than 0.001% while still keeping false negatives to just a few percent. Which may not be easy.

Re:Soooooo... (0)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#41556895)

Why should the false positive rate be so low? Most airport scanners (be they metal detectors, X-rays or the body scanners) have a fairly high false-positive rate - all that happens is the security staff take people aside for a friendly grope and a more thorough check. False positives aren't an issue.

The point of systems like this isn't to be perfect, it's to make getting through security faster and more secure. The impact on a certain unlucky few will be offset by the thousands that can get through faster and easier.

Re:Soooooo... (2)

AlecC (512609) | about 2 years ago | (#41556927)

Because, rather than "more metal than expected", which is nearly always innocuous, it say "EXPLOSIVES!". If your X-Ray showed something explicitly gun shaped, as opposed to something just not understood, I bet the grope would be a lot less friendly. If there are explosives, the security staff would be in reasonable fear that they themselves are at risk if a suicide bomber blows himself up on detection, whereas a gun strapped to the back is not yet a danger.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#41556955)

Well surely that's down to how the machine alerts and how the staff have been trained to deal with it? If they've been trained correctly, then ANYTHING suspicious should be treated the same anyway.
Besides, I very much doubt it's going to display a screen saying "EXPLOSIVES! EXPLOSIVES!", rather it'll probably say "Found high concentrations of particle x, which COULD indicate a dangerous substance - please check further" or whatever.

Re:Soooooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557121)

Yes, but...

If I go through a metal detector and have a knife in my pocket, or a gun on my ankle, that is not an immediate threat. As long as I am not going for the weapon, people can behave calmly; a gun in its holster is no danger. We can do this because we know how they are implemented.

Explosives are different. If I come through and test for explosives, the staff doesn't know what will trigger these explosives. Perhaps it will go off if I bend my arm, or stomp my foot, or if the person watching from 100ft away remote detonates it by dialing a cell phone. That tends to make people a lot more uncomfortable, and for good reason.

What I could see is some kind of revolving door that, if it detects explosives, stops turning, sealing you in a bomb-resistant housing until an official can come in and perform the test.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#41557547)

And that is different to today....how? You're making the argument that we shouldn't have machines that detect explosives because IF they detect something, everyone will panic? That doesn't make any sense - besides, we already have sniffer dogs and such to look for explosives anyway. Nothing changes with this, all that changes is more people get checked or the same people get checked faster.

Different from today because... (1)

Zinho (17895) | about 2 years ago | (#41559323)

And that is different to today....how?

The difference is that this is being marketed as a "boarding gate", not as a remote checkpoint. To me, at least, that suggests much closer proximity to a specific plane and checking being done much closer to boarding time, thus being more likely to cause disruptions to the flight schedule. Add to this the already-mentioned issue of more severe response than you'd get with a metal detector, and you're set for frequent, pointless, expensive disruptions to air travel. People grumble about the security checks now, it'll be worse if it's happening at every gate right at boarding time.

The truly paranoid among us would also argue that the necessary increase in security personnel due to the security being distributed rather than centralized would be a selling point for the TSA rather than a liability. After all, we can't let an opportunity to expand police powers slip by, can we? =P

Multipliers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557109)

> Why should the false positive rate be so low?

Because it's multiplied by the millions of innocent passengers the gate will encounter.

The false negative rate, by contrast, is multiplied by the handful of terrorists.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#41557513)

The false-positive rates should be low because it's a waste of time and money to search non-terrorists. Seriously.

I could also make the "freedom" argument but I suspect that might fall on deaf ears.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41557775)

I could also make the "freedom" argument but I suspect that might fall on deaf ears.

And you might be tagged for further 'investigation'. Civil rights, and the mention thereof is verboten.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

kasperd (592156) | about 2 years ago | (#41557657)

Why should the false positive rate be so low?

Because if every time the alarm goes off, it turns out to be a false positive, then it won't be treated with the respect it needs to. If one out of every 100 million people going through the gate is carrying a bomb, and if one out of every 100 thousand people going through the gate without explosives is triggering a false alarm, then once the alarm does go off, there is 99.9% probability that it is a false alarm.

I'm not saying the probability of a false alarm has to be less than the probability that a passenger picked at random actually is carrying a bomb. But they should at least be within an order of magnitude. If an alarm going off means 90% probability that it is a false alarm and 10% probability that the person is carrying a bomb, then the employees in the gate will probably take the alarm seriously.

The drawback of having a low false positive rate is that the employees might not know how to deal with false positives. It is hard to get experienced if you only experience once in your career that the alarm even goes off.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#41557711)

How often do you expect that the X-ray machine or metal detector goes off versus how often it's "legitimate"?

Re:Soooooo... (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 2 years ago | (#41557915)

What happens when a metal detector has a false positve? You step back, take off your belt, and try again. 10 minutes possibly even up to an aborted flight.

In other words, a false positive, if you actually believe the sensor, is going to require a real thorough search.

If you don't believe the sensor, then you won't perform the full search, but then that raises the question: If you aren't going to treat your sensor as if you believe what it reports, what is the use of the sensor?

Re:Soooooo... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#41558807)

What happens if an explosive detector has a false positive? Most likely, a pistol in the face, possibly a bullet in the head, depending on how jumpy the guards are. After all, they don't know for sure if you're wired, but they have to act as though you are, and are about to go off at any second. As has been pointed out, if you are wired, they have no idea what can and will trigger the explosives. They have to assume you're more volitile than a bottle of nitroglycerine or they're wasting everybody's time.

Re:Soooooo... (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 2 years ago | (#41557933)

Well, it looks like something bugged and it stripped out the middle part of my comment.
What happens when a metal detector has a false positve? You step back, take off your belt, and try again. less than 10s

When this device has a false positive, you don't KNOW it's a false positive, it just says "I DETECTED EXPLOSIVES ON THIS GUY". Where are the explosives? Well, it doesn't tell you that, so now you have to check everything about this guy, including his luggage, which is probably already on the plane. You are probably going to want to check the luggage of his travel companions because that might be how it got on him. So you are probably going to have to dig out his luggage at a minimum, pull him to the side and do a full invasive search because chemical 'smells' aren't really localized and it could be in his shoe, his undergarments, maybe it was his hair that set off the sensor... etc. Wasted time greater than 10 minutes possibly even up to an aborted flight.

In other words, a false positive, if you actually believe the sensor, is going to require a real thorough search.

If you don't believe the sensor, then you won't perform the full search, but then that raises the question: If you aren't going to treat your sensor as if you believe what it reports, what is the use of the sensor?

Re:Soooooo... (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 2 years ago | (#41558229)

Why should the false positive rate be so low?

This is a boarding gate, not an item at the security checkpoint. A false positive 15 minutes before takeoff is a pretty big deal because you might miss your flight or the flight might be delayed as a result.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41557577)

it will still succeed in its main task, of deterring would be bombers, because they will not take a 95% chance of detection.

Why exactly do terrorists need to make it past airport machines? Is getting a bomb on a 'plane really the only way they can attack us? Isn't blowing up the line of people waiting for the scanner just as effective? (Assuming they have to attack airports, which they don't...)

Even if it was the only possible attack they could still put C4 up their asses and the TSA wouldn't find it by groping/scanning. The bomb detector probably won't even beep so long as they don't fart on the way through.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

AlecC (512609) | about 2 years ago | (#41557701)

Spectacle is what they want. Exploding a bomb in a queue kills four or five, seriously injures the same number. Blowing up an airliner in the air kills hundreds, splashes bent metal across the countryside, and dominates the news for days.

There is not enough space up the human backside to hold a decent bomb, as proved experimentally. Someone tried to kill a Saudi prince with a bomb up the jacksie, exploded while embracing him. The prince escaped with moderate injuries.

I agree that the attention shown to airports and air travel is disproportionate. Unfortunately, some security is needed. But not much more than before 9/11. The action of reinforcing the cockpit door has secured against that attack vector - plus the fact that 9/11 was a surprise which cannot be repeated: pilots will no longer surrender to box cutters even if the door is opened. Most of the rest is security theatre.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41558293)

> and dominates global politics for at least 11 years

FTFY. Get the fuck over it, America.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 2 years ago | (#41558547)

Random? Yeah right! They probably will have a concealed foot pedal for that. Hot blonde coming, step here to get to grope her.. oh wait.. this is the TSA I'm talking about.. pre-pubescent boy coming, stomping hard on that button!

Re:Soooooo... (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#41556803)

I'm curious as to how many false positives it's going to generate

Interestingly, one can significantly increase the false positive number if one goes to an airport an sprays around these tiny particles (one only needs little of them).
Therefore I hope they close the airport if the false positive rate goes up, instead of assuming the equipment is at fault.

Re:Soooooo... (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#41556811)

Or they could just, you know, blow up the detectors?

Re:Soooooo... (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#41557071)

Yes. On the assumption that the goal of a trrrist is not to blow stuff up, but to create an environment of fear, then anything that makes it easier to create false positives is simply playing into their hands.

The only effect this would have would be to create an "OMG, there are several baddies a day trying to blow up aircraft" which would increase the demand for security and restrictions. That in turn makes it easier for the bad guys (and the security companies - sometimes it's difficult to tell who's benefiting most) to pursue their goals.

Re:Soooooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557243)

No need to spray a whole airport, just the check-in machine, so it contaminates every passport just before boarding the plane :)

Re:Soooooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557271)

Interestingly, one can significantly increase the false positive number if one goes to an airport an sprays around these tiny particles (one only needs little of them).
Therefore I hope they close the airport if the false positive rate goes up, instead of assuming the equipment is at fault.

Do it on a train to a major airport -- where the airport is at the edge of a city, it's often the terminus stop on the line, so you know most people will be going there, and they're all conveniently packed in together. . .

Better still, you get get off at the preceding stop, which won't look so suspicious.

Re:Soooooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557343)

I'm curious as to how many false positives it's going to generate

Interestingly, one can significantly increase the false positive number if one goes to an airport an sprays around these tiny particles (one only needs little of them).

Or, just spread fertilizer on the lawn in front of the airport, making sure to do it on a windy day and spill some on the sidewalk.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41558641)

So all a terrist has to do to create terror is to infiltrate one o' them there bathroom spray factories...

Re:Soooooo... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#41556825)

" I didn't see any error rates on this marvelous new device. "

Somebody with a bit of of explosives or just components could dilute it in water and drop it at one of the entries during a rainy day, so that thousands walk the residue throughout the airport, to check the error rates.
That could be fun.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#41556953)

Seeing as it was developed in Japan it is probably assuming that guns are not widely available to the public.

If it works and speeds up boarding them I welcome it. We really don't need the level of security we already have, especially the nude scanners and ban on liquids. The only types of explosive that can't be detected by other means are difficult to detonate, meaning you need to bring a complicated and easily detectable detonator. If you don't bring one you end up in the situation recent would-be bombers have found themselves in - obviously trying to set your crotch on fire and being stopped by other passengers.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#41557089)

"The only types of explosive that can't be detected by other means are difficult to detonate, meaning you need to bring a complicated and easily detectable detonator."

Easily detectable? The new 'naked' scanners don't detect detonators if you put it where the sun doesn't shine.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

RadioElectric (1060098) | about 2 years ago | (#41557411)

The false-positive/false-negative (false alarm/miss) tradeoff is going to depend on what the criterion for detection is set at. The measurement you want to look at really is how well this scanner can segregate "individual with dangerous explosive chemical" from background noise. These sorts of measures are considered secret, and I imagine the company publishing them for this device would be a great way to have nobody able to buy it.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

wganz (113345) | about 2 years ago | (#41557561)

OK, so what about walking through my workshop where I also reload?
It is going to go bonkers over my shoes.

All this does is reinforce my opinion that the TSA has destroyed what is left of the airlines. Interesting tidbit is that the overall airline industry has never shown a profit. Individual airlines may make money, but overall it is a financially suck industry.

This is why my Jeep now has 200k miles on it. If I cannot drive there, I ain't a going.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

c (8461) | about 2 years ago | (#41558231)

I'm also wondering how many days I'll need to stay away from the rifle range before I won't show any particulate explosives at one of these checkpoints.

Wait until a few months after they're installed, then ask a terrorist. I'm sure they'll have it figured out by then.

On a compeltely unrelated note, has anyone considered the entertainment value of dusting a boarding pass printer with gunpowder?

Re:Soooooo... (1)

drjzzz (150299) | about 2 years ago | (#41558337)

"I'm also wondering how many days I'll need to stay away from the rifle range before I won't show any particulate explosives at one of these checkpoint."

Simple: just don't carry your BOARDING PASS to the RIFLE RANGE.

Re:Soooooo... (2)

j-beda (85386) | about 2 years ago | (#41558497)

"I'm also wondering how many days I'll need to stay away from the rifle range before I won't show any particulate explosives at one of these checkpoint."

Simple: just don't carry your BOARDING PASS to the RIFLE RANGE.

Oh yeah, and don't touch your boarding pass with your hands.

The whole point of this type of thing is to be sensitive enough so that it can detect the person who assembled a bomb and put it into his luggage and then picked up his boarding pass from the ticket agent, walked across the airport and handed that boarding pass to the gate attendant. It needs to be able to work even if the bad-guy took a shower after packing the bomb away and before touching the boarding pass.

Re:Soooooo... (1)

sweatyboatman (457800) | about 2 years ago | (#41561093)

So you're saying you'd need someone to make the bomb and another completely different person to carry it to the airport? There's no way a terrorist organization could pull off that kind of complex operation! I feel safer already.

Multipass (3, Funny)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41556805)

I though that just read "Hitachi Develops Boarding Gate With Built-In Explosives" for a moment.

Re:Multipass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41556843)

I though that just read "Hitachi Develops Boarding Gate With Built-In Explosives" for a moment.

Yeah, me too.

Re:Multipass (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41556893)

That would be Sony.

Re:Multipass (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 2 years ago | (#41556921)

Actually they built a detector that can detect explosive boarding gates.

Re:Multipass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41556951)

I though that just read "Hitachi Develops Boarding Gate With Built-In Explosives" for a moment.

My misread was "Hitachi Develops Board Game With Built-In Explosives" /T

Re:Multipass (2)

Canazza (1428553) | about 2 years ago | (#41557021)

Mouse Trap: XTREME

Re:Multipass (1)

p0p0 (1841106) | about 2 years ago | (#41556957)

I read "Hitachi Develops Board Game With Built-In Explosives" and I thought that is sounded pretty intense.

Re:Multipass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557221)

I though that just read "Hitachi Develops Boarding Gate With Built-In Explosives" for a moment.

If it thinks you're a terrorist it blows you up first. They figured it was easier than trying to crash a plane into you.

Re:Multipass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557527)

I don't know why I read waterboarding, and thought "flying is going to get interesting".

Re:Multipass (1)

Hieronymus Howard (215725) | about 2 years ago | (#41557619)

My RSS feed truncated the title to exactly that. I was just about to post it.

not intrusive enough (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41556863)

Doesn't look intrusive enough, so I guess it will not be used.

Re:not intrusive enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41556977)

Doesn't look intrusive enough, so I guess it will not be used.

Oh, don't worry. They've allowed for the add-in modules...the Anal Probe 9000 will soon be a mandatory "option".

(Of course, the real thing that will continue to be anal raped is my wallet, as the costs of flying continue to increase for asinine reasons. Good luck keeping airlines in business if this bullshit continues)

What happens when the machine goes "ping"? (4, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#41556899)

You've been though the perv-scan or the finger-rape, your carry on baggage has already been nuked, and you're at the boarding gate with only Sally Swipe-n-Smile between you and the 'plane.

Then the machine goes "ping" and the siren goes off. What now? How does that play out?

If it's a false positive (and it will be) then Sally asks you politely to step aside, and it's just another piece of minor inconvenience for the airline, and probably a missed flight and some more TSA probing for the traveller.

But let's pretend for a second that it's a true positive - which is surely the only scenario that we're actually interested in. What then?

Does Sally throw herself onto the passenger in slow motion, screaming "Nooooooo!" in order to save everyone else? And how does she know that this is the one time that it's a real threat, rather than the false ones that she's become used to, day after day?

Really, how does Sally react to the real threat, and what will be the results of that reaction?

Re:What happens when the machine goes "ping"? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41557177)

You know the answer as well as I do; Firstly, this is a tech demo. There's no plan to roll these out. Secondly, this is just another company trying to muzzle their way into the government pork barrel. They won't catch anything with these machines, because if they do they undermine everything the TSA, RapiScan et al have attempted. That will either mean a massive enquiry into public spending (hahaha) or more money to the TSA and contractors for R&D.

I don't see a winning situation here, except maybe shelving the project and keeping the security theatre status quo.

Re:What happens when the machine goes "ping"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557193)

The ultraparanoia around aircraft is nothing to do with the concentration of people you find within them. If you just want to blow up people, you can do that anywhere. The panic is because everybody can still remember the great big lesson about how aircraft can be hijacked for use as improvised missiles.

If a real bomb is discovered during the last stages of boarding, the plane is not going to proceed to takeoff. A plane on the ground is considerably less dangerous than one in the air.

Re:What happens when the machine goes "ping"? (1)

isorox (205688) | about 2 years ago | (#41557347)

The ultraparanoia around aircraft is nothing to do with the concentration of people you find within them. If you just want to blow up people, you can do that anywhere. The panic is because everybody can still remember the great big lesson about how aircraft can be hijacked for use as improvised missiles.

Step 1) Keep cockpit door locked
Step 2) Land
Step 3) Profit

Oh wait, that's no profit for Rapiscan and co.

Re:What happens when the machine goes "ping"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557429)

I guess somebody will have to carry enough explosives to blow up a lock then.

Re:What happens when the machine goes "ping"? (1)

shilly (142940) | about 2 years ago | (#41557231)

What you've described is just a specific instance of the general problem of effective guards. As the other poster says, what happens is that the detector flags you for extra screening when you're a positive (true or false still to be determined). You go stand to one side. If you're the evil terrorist and you're actually carrying the explosives at this point, you can blow 'em up and affect a few dozen to a few hundred people. The overall impact is likely way less than it would be if you were on the plane and the plane was in the air. etc etc

DDOS ATTACK (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#41557745)

Imagine the IRL DDOS of an airport.

Can you see it?

Bring a small aerosol canister of basically liquid shit and spray it inconspicuously on people's luggage. For better results bring a few cans with you with slightly different composition, mix powder traces of real explosives as well.

Do it as a flash mob across the globe and shut down the entire airline industry.

agree (1)

brendyhorrison (2746021) | about 2 years ago | (#41556919)

zippo01 +1. Friend, I full agree with you!

Priveless (3, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 2 years ago | (#41556929)

Chemical sniffing boarding gate: $10,800,000

Government contract for the U.S. air travel system: Billions

$4 bag of potassium nitrate fertilizer sprinkled on sidewalk ice by a terrorist instead of salt: Priceless

Re:Priveless (1)

mitcheli (894743) | about 2 years ago | (#41558101)

NICE! ;)

In Other News Today: Chicago O'Hare was closed today as officials were simply baffled by the fact that EVERY turn-style detected explosive residue. Bomb squad technicians were simply stumped after their dogs spun circles in mass confusion.

I have a cheaper method (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557011)

Just look for the turbans. (we occasionally get a Sikh as a false-positive but it mostly works)

Sucks if you're a shooter (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557049)

I made the mistake of going to the range before flying once. Despite washing my hands, I still had gunpowder residue on them and my clothing.

Missing my flight and 4 hours of coerced interrogation later (CPS and Phila PD showed up and threatened to take my kids away if I didn't talk, and they wouldn't allow me to call a lawyer), I was finally allowed to leave and go home, since I was put on the no-fly list.

Unsurprisingly, the ACLU did not want to take the case, seeing as how they are a staunch opponent of gun rights, and numerous civil rights attorneys I called said it would be pointless to sue, since apparently the courts have adopted the stance that you give implied cosent to both searches AND interrogations when you purchase a plane ticket.

No rights for you!

Re:Sucks if you're a shooter (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about 2 years ago | (#41557207)

So you're saying the solution is to get /all/ of the US into shooting regularly so as to dilute the tactic of detecting explosives residue into uselessness? Got it.

Re:Sucks if you're a shooter (2)

quacking duck (607555) | about 2 years ago | (#41558939)

Didn't think to call the NRA? Not much sympathy then.

Sure, the ACLU is supposed to represent all civil liberties. But the NRA focuses on a specific one, so in reality it's the NRA that should be up in arms (figuratively) over stuff like this, which has broad implications on their membership. If they aren't, then something's missing from this story.

Unify this tech (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41557101)

This is an area where companies should co-operate towards combining all these variious detection tech into one machine, if at all possible. I realize this may be a pie in the sky thought, profit rules, of course.

-------------

Eskimos. God's 'frozen' people.

The TSA will not accept it (5, Informative)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 2 years ago | (#41557239)

It doesn't conform to the TSA paradigm, so they will reject it.

1. It is not intrusive enough.

2. It replaces sullen TSA uniformed personal with hardware.

3. It reduces the DHS conditioning intended to make the general public accept arbitrary behavior by the government.

4. It is not as dangerous as full body radiation from scanners.

There are a few things that might make the TSA like it.

1. It is really expensive.

2. It doesn't actually work.

3. It will interfere with people for no discernible reason.

On the whole, it's reducing the number and visible presence of the TSA uniformed types that will keep it from being adopted. They are already so expensive, intrusive, arbitrary, and incompetent that they don't need that level of automation.

Re:The TSA will not accept it (1)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#41557359)

Thank you for saving me the trouble of writing.

Are there any health concerns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557389)

I wonder what the health impact of these scanners will be. And the cost. Multiply that out by the number of gates an airport has. Can they also say that the method of detection doesn't leave the gate. i.e. stray rays affecting those nearby such as boarding attendants.

Been There (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557395)

..done that. Now time to shut up.

Re:Been There (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557405)

Actually, much more than they did.

static electricity (1)

localhost8080 (819098) | about 2 years ago | (#41557497)

static electricity is bad for explosives. why dont they just force everyone to go through a long hallway full of balloons before boarding? much cheaper than making robot snifferdogs

Fighting the last war. (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#41557535)

I suppose the terrorists are going to have to plant their bombs without boarding the plane, now. Oh, wait! They already figured that out [guardian.co.uk] .

Plant/spray explosive residue on people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557645)

Couldn't anyone wanting to create trouble could just somehow apply these chemical residues that imply explosives on travelers; Think of all the problems this would cause from mere delays for many and backups of security lines and creating passenger backlash, to worse problems like false positives masking true positives.

That Company Name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41557719)

All I read was Nippon Signal and lost it.

Thought it said Nippon Central;
Nippon.

Seriously? A company called nippon is going to verify whether my gf's nip-on's have explosives; they're in for a surprise bang.

This could be fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41558047)

1- Grind up some fertilizer. (Fertilizer is rich in the oxidizing agents that these things look for.)
2- Deposit in airport bathroom soap-dispenser.
3- ???

Reading too fast again (1)

Lord Grey (463613) | about 2 years ago | (#41558129)

Skimming the front page, looking for a headline that looks interesting.

"Hitachi Develops Boarding Gate With Built-In Explosives"

Hey! That looks promising! Oh, wait...

Internalized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41558425)

Did nobody else notice the word internalize doesn't mean what they think it does, even in American English.

Not again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41558451)

I see a new wave of false positives in our future if these things are deployed. Explosives of all varieties are used everyday in most developed countries. We have had seismic detonations in our area looking for oil, fireworks use, target shooting, and its use in building demolition and mining are pretty pervasive. All it would likely take would be riding in a cab, or sitting in the same chair at the DMV as an individuals who had just been involved in one of these activities and this machine would peg you as a terrorist. And all a "terrorist" would have to do to bring the system to a screeching halt or flood it with so many false positives that the screeners would cease using it would be to serendipitously sprinkle some powdered explosive compounds at the entrances of the airport.

Tu3gi8l (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41559189)

to die. I will jam sse... The number Of OpenBSD versus BSD addicts, flame culture of abuse goals. It's when Many users of BSD Baby...don't fear Are having trouble its readers and

More Theater (1)

edibobb (113989) | about 2 years ago | (#41559301)

How many people have carried on bombs to airplanes in the past 20 years? Far fewer than were struck by lightning.

This seems to be just another way for a large corporation to make money off the infinite budget of Homeland Security. We would save many more lives using this money on cancer research or to fight drunk driving.

I don't believe it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41559401)

Yeah, right.

Next thing you know, Hitatchi will make some kind of 'magic wand' security can wave ..

Re:I don't believe it (1)

gkndivebum (664421) | about 2 years ago | (#41560211)

Next thing you know, Hitatchi will make some kind of 'magic wand' security can wave ..

Hitachi does in fact make a 'magic wand' [wikipedia.org] , but I doubt that the security folks would be waving it at you

Isn't it a little late by then? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41560353)

My understanding is that the purpose of a terrorist explosive device is to create as much graphic damage as possible. If they've got as far as a crowded terminal, isn't it already too late?

Great - more wasted tax dollars about to be spent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41560919)

So I hit the firing range then take a flight. Just like today, they check for nitrates and of course find them. All they know is that I have nitrates on me. BECAUSE I WAS PRACTICING A PERFECTLY LEGAL HOBBY! Testing for nitrates is like looking for cocaine on money - all you know is that there's cocaine on the money. You don't have any clue why it's there. Terminally Stupid Administrations wasting our money.

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