Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

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!

TSA Finishes Removing "Virtual Nude" X-Ray Devices From US Airports

timothy posted about a year ago | from the now-that-you're-fully-desensitized dept.

Privacy 172

dsinc writes "The Transportation Security Administration announced it has finished removing from all airports the X-ray technology that produced graphic and controversial images of passengers passing through security screening checkpoints. The machines, which the TSA first deployed in 2008, provoked public outrage as the technology, better able than traditional X-rays to detect hidden contraband, also created images that appeared as if they were 'virtual nudes.' Critics called this an invasion of privacy and questioned whether the scanning devices truly lacked the ability to save the images, as the TSA claimed."

cancel ×

172 comments

Analog hole (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879509)

The analog hole always existed, and always will. If one of the TSA Molesters, err, Protectors, saw an image on the screen they wanted to keep, all they had to do was hold up their cell phone and snap a pic.

Their arguments about how TSA agents aren't able to save the generated images is and always was total bullshit.

Re:Analog hole (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879531)

The analog hole always existed...

Well yeah, but now TSA can no longer save a picture of it, not to mention my other fun bits.

Re:Analog hole (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#43879575)

Of course they can. The agents can't (unless they're very technically inclined), but there's nothing preventing the organization as a whole from doing so. Nothing whatsoever. Software can be changed, silently and without any hint that it has been changed. For all we know, this has already happened.

No, from a philosophical point of view, there's no difference between walking through the millimeter-wave scanners at an airport and texting naked photographs of yourself to your boyfriend or girlfriend. Both indicate a complete lack of concern for your own privacy.

Re:Analog hole (1)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | about a year ago | (#43879701)

Well, not quite. One case arises only if I think someone would be interested in seeing the images. The other arises only if I think it worth going somewhere.

Re:Analog hole (2)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year ago | (#43879763)

No, from a philosophical point of view, there's no difference between walking through the millimeter-wave scanners at an airport and texting naked photographs of yourself to your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Choice, as well of knowing it's happening. If you send photographs of your naked body to your boyfriend or girlfriend, you have to make a conscious decision to do it, you know who gets it (Although you don't know what they're going to do with it.) and you're OK with it. With the airport scanners, the only choice you had was to be scanned or undergo a physical search, and there was no way to know for sure if the operator was keeping a copy. I think that that, more than anything else, was what people objected to.

Re:Analog hole (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879765)

No they can't. Opt out.

Re:Analog hole (5, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about a year ago | (#43880019)

While I agree with you in concept. I would point out in 4 years no random photos of celebrities, hot women, etc found their way onto the internet.

I was fully expecting for the TSA have to denouce some photos and fire a few people by now for actually having leaked some photos.

Of course that doesn't mean the ability doesn't exist just means that those with access are keeping their mouths shut and are behaving. not impossible but I do find it unlikely.

Re:Analog hole (5, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43880311)

it was the U.S. Marshalls who leaked pictures in Florida from Gen 2 mm wave machines, the machines for which was claimed the operators "cannot store, print, transmit or save the image"

Re:Analog hole (3)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year ago | (#43880545)

And I'd like to point out that the only way in which they 'behaved' was by keeping all the juicy pics for themselves. I know this may be hard to accept, but not everyone feels the need to upload every image they may have to the internet. Wanking to images of thousands of naked 14 year olds is their greatest reward. Why would they want to share it?

I actually don't think it's all that surprising that nothing leaked. The vast majority of those people are true believers. Their secret but unclassified procedures haven't been leaked either. Probably because no anti-TSA people have infiltrated their numbers.

Re: Analog hole (2)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year ago | (#43880885)

I always opt for the pat down, they often try to tell me it's sound waves, I tell them I am a physicist by trade (I am not at all) and that I know what a millimeter wave is, I also tell them I hope they are getting paid enough because it's unlikely they will have a long healthy retirement. They go quiet.

Re:Analog hole (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year ago | (#43880137)

Nonsense. That's like saying that the ability to photoshop my head onto a naked body is the same as my posting nudes on the Internet. Just not comparable.

Re:Analog hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881063)

I got (and enjoyed) your joke, though sadly no one else seems to have...

Re:Analog hole (1)

Bluude (822878) | about a year ago | (#43879539)

Ratiation! Let's not forget the reluctance to allow a non-government agency the right to test the radiation levels.

Re:Analog hole (5, Insightful)

Jockle (2934767) | about a year ago | (#43879673)

Now all they need to do is remove themselves from US airports, and preferably, from the US itself!

Re:Analog hole (4, Insightful)

geezer nerd (1041858) | about a year ago | (#43880449)

Amen! The TSA was never necessary, and still isn't.

Re:Analog hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880101)

The whole reason these machines were introduced was to exploit your analog hole...

Re:Analog hole (5, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43880315)

The TSA would NEVER use a scanning device without the ability to record and save the data. Take it from a former screener. *I KNOW* (caveat, I never used one of these backscatter machines as an operator... they weren't in airports when I was a screener.)

Every one of the X-Ray devices I operated had the ability to save and could even print images. And to me it made sense. Evidence. Once I saw a human torso come through. I couldn't resist printing the image. We did not open the containers... Another time, a loaded pistol passed through in an inappropriate container. A screening supervisor felt confident that he could remove the pistol and unload it. I didn't feel uncomfortable about it -- I'm okay around guns. He obviously knew what he was doing as well. But people freaked out just the same. The image was saved.

If you wanted to be able to prove something, a picture is better than testimony. What makes anyone believe the TSA when they say they aren't saving the images?!

Re:Analog hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880381)

Well they could always ban them from taking their phones to the checkpoint.

Re:Analog hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880753)

Of course the argument was total B.S. Think about it.

Suppose that one of the scanners got lucky and spotted Mr. Terrorist carrying some hidden weapons with which to blow up or hijack the plane. If you were the TSA, wouldn't you want the ability to capture the incriminating scan for use in prosecuting Mr. Terrorist?

If you were the TSA and you weren't smart enough to figure out that you would want to save scans in such situations, then you've just wasted a ton of taxpayer money on machines lacking a key, obvious feature.

The fact that the same feature could be so easily abused to invade the privacy of the law-abiding public is, obviously, a major argument against having these machines in operation at all. But the proper way to counteract that is with controls on the operators, and arguments as to why the benefits of the machines outweigh the drawbacks - not with pretending that the feature doesn't, and couldn't, exist.

Re:Analog hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880833)

They could easily have used IR lights to prevent cell phone cameras from being able to take clear pictures.

Re:Analog hole (4, Interesting)

fredklein (532096) | about a year ago | (#43880837)

Of course it was Bullshit. The spec documents the TSA put out for the machines specifically required them to be able to save and transmit the images!

Google for 'epic tsa spec', and find this: http://epic.org/open_gov/foia/TSA_Procurement_Specs.pdf [epic.org]

(Not to mention, how'd they get the sample images they show on TSA.gov, if the machines cannot save and transfer images??)

Re:Analog hole (3, Insightful)

Spykk (823586) | about a year ago | (#43881019)

The point is largely irrelevant anyway. Would you be comfortable allowing strangers to look into your bathroom while you use it even if you could guarantee they couldn't take a picture? If not, then why does it become OK as soon as the strangers wear a shirt that says TSA on it?

Misleading headline (4, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#43879549)

Although the X-ray versions have been removed, the equally invasive millimeter-wave versions are still there. The only difference is that now you have to spend a little time changing the device configuration to save off the images instead of being able to see them live.

Re:Misleading headline (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#43879719)

Although the X-ray versions have been removed, the equally invasive millimeter-wave versions are still there.

I am pretty certain that the only reason they have admitted that X-ray devices are "bad" is because they were ready to sell the new and improved millimeter-wave devices (without paying back the money or compensating the victims for defective X-ray devices).

I give it a couple more years -- and then the privacy/health risks of new millimeter-wave devices will probably come into question so that they can replaced by super-particle-wave devices.

Re:Misleading headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880337)

Although the X-ray versions have been removed,

I wish that were true. We have both x-ray scanners and stupid TSA video playing in a loop telling us all about how ionizing radiation is "safe" when at the admitted levels real people are being killed by these things assuming the linear hypothesis is correct..but this information is missing from the loop.

Re:Misleading headline (3, Informative)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year ago | (#43880803)

Why do you say they are equally invasive? The laws of physics would seem to indicate that they are not. The few images I have seen have been much less detailed than the xray images which are nearly as good as black and white photographs.

Removing the private wank booths is by itself a huge step forward (assuming they really do get rid of them) and the cartoonish stick figure images on the machines with the newer software would seem to eliminate the privacy issue completely. Assuming of course that the TSA is not lying again and secretly continues to monitor the images in the peep/wank booth.

The millimeter waves are a huge improvement. No ionizing radiation. Based on our current understanding the 27-30 Ghz microwaves are not harmful.

The millimeter wave images are orders of magnitude less suggestive and detailed than the x-ray machine images. They don't appear to be wank material. Many of the millimeter wave scanners in the US are fitted with automatic detection software which effectively illiminates the privacy issue anyway.

The mmw machines with ATD software still have problems however. Based on independent testing they have something like a 50% false positive rate and if the machine alarms you must submit to a potentially sexually invasive procedure in order to fly. If they were to eliminate either the after-scan patdown or the false positives the scanners might be acceptable except for the fact that they don't really achieve anything. Metal detectors are far more effective at detecting real threats, much faster, and do not require any genital patdowns afterward.

The sensible thing to do is to go back to the metal detectors and maybe augment them with explosive sniffing dogs until reliable explosive detection machines are invented.

Misleading summary, as usual (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879573)

The scanners are still there. They still get the digital data of a virtual nude. They just pass that through an algorithm that replaces the image with a stick figure before the image is shown to the operator.

The government still gets the detailed biometric identifying information it wants, the digital 3d model of your nude body still gets stored in the databases they deny exist. They just don't show it to the operator now, so everyone feels better.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#43879649)

The government still gets the detailed biometric identifying information it wants, the digital 3d model of your nude body still gets stored in the databases they deny exist. They just don't show it to the operator now, so everyone feels better.

I never understood why people just go through these scanners like sheep. I have never been through one despite flying periodically -- one can and should decline the scan.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879733)

I never understood why people continue to fly. There might as well be a sign up at the entrance to the airport that says "you must be 'this' subservient to authority to ride" then maybe have the arrow point to this picture https://minkwords.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/subservient1.jpg

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880063)

Because we have places to go. Trains take longer, are more uncomfortable, go less places, and cost just as much, if not more. While driving (alone) might be a little cheaper than the train/plane, it isn't any better. It's just as tiring, just as uncomfortable, well, worse even. Plus, you can't drink. Also, some of us can't drive, or won't drive. If you want to cross the ocean without flying, that's even worse. With planes, I can wake up in one city, fly to another city 1000 miles away, and still make it to work that same day.

Who's the subservient one? Without flying, you are mostly stuck in one place. If you go anywhere, you must waste extra vacation days to do it. How many friends have you lost? How much family have you lost? How many weddings did you miss? Flying means I can, when I really want to, decide it's worth it, go anywhere I want. I'm not a slave to where I happen to live. I like small vacations, efficient use of vacation time. Take off Friday and Monday off, you get a 4 day vacation for just 2 days vacation time. Why go on one trip a year, when I can go on 6? You can't do that without flying.

Also, sometimes the flights are free. Combine frequent flier miles from credit cards and stuff, with miles earned from actually flying, and you can earn a free roundtip now and then, maybe even once a year or more.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879739)

two reasons:
extra delay
the punishment grope, err pat down.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (4, Informative)

petsounds (593538) | about a year ago | (#43879809)

I never understood why people just go through these scanners like sheep. I have never been through one despite flying periodically -- one can and should decline the scan.

In the USA, yes you can decline and instead get sexually groped by a TSA employee. In other countries like the UK you can't decline -- if you want to get on your flight, you go through the scanner.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879999)

So the UK even has its own version of the TSA...

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880099)

yes, the biggest police state in the world has ridiculous airport security, just like us.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (-1)

chilvence (1210312) | about a year ago | (#43880089)

As a UKian, I would like to play devils advocate: if it stops one single delusional nutter from murdering upwards of 200 people in one easy stroke because the voices in their head told them to, and the only thing between that latent human homicidal psychosis and my safety is a porno machine, what do I care how many 3d pictures of my cock I have to give up?

Airplanes are very delicate and dangerous machines, filled with fragile meat cargo, making them the easiest and most yielding of targets for aggressors with limited resources, and if we want to use them with confidence, we don't really have time to fuck around with what is 'acceptable'. The kind of people that would attack an airplane don't deserve the satisfaction of shedding one single drop of innocent blood. You want a mode of transport that doesn't infringe on your privacy? Try taking the bus.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880131)

They'll be on the bus soon enough. What's your argument going to be then?

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (5, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about a year ago | (#43880155)

As a UKian, I would like to play devils advocate: if it stops one single delusional nutter from murdering upwards of 200 people

It appears to be the mainstream opinion in the UK, judging by the fact that the Prime Minister still has the office.

I wonder, is there anything that the UK population will not submit to, if submission saves the life of one abstract child?

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (5, Insightful)

Jockle (2934767) | about a year ago | (#43880275)

As a UKian, I would like to play devils advocate: if it stops one single delusional nutter from murdering upwards of 200 people in one easy stroke because the voices in their head told them to, and the only thing between that latent human homicidal psychosis and my safety is a porno machine, what do I care how many 3d pictures of my cock I have to give up?

That's not a very good devil's advocate because it is easily debunked. Rights are far more important than safety, and you could use that same argument to justify molesting people at random, regardless of their location. If one nut is stopped, who cares about silly old rights!?

That is extremely dangerous thinking, but I fear that most people truly believe such nonsense.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about a year ago | (#43880771)

Um... I don't get your devil;s advocate stance only because... your statement assumes it was proven to be the case - that it saves lives - and even so, just because IT MAY - IF PROVEN - doesn't mean it's the only method, or that it should be automatically supported if less intrusive methods that are equally effective are present. TL;DR: This stance is pure logic fail.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880799)

As a UKian, I would like to play devils advocate: if it stops one single delusional nutter from murdering upwards of 200 people in one easy stroke because the voices in their head told them to, and the only thing between that latent human homicidal psychosis and my safety is a porno machine, what do I care how many 3d pictures of my cock I have to give up?

Fantastic reasoning! We should apply it to school shootings too. I hereby humbly accept the unsavory but vital responsibility of strip searching and patting down the genitals of middle schoolers at the local school's checkpoint every day. Because if I strip search enough of them, I'm bound to find one with a gun, right? And then it's all legit and worth it and I'm a hero!

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881033)

if it stops one single delusional nutter from murdering upwards of 200 people in one easy stroke

It doesn't. Never has, never will, never can.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43881065)

As a UKian, I would like to play devils advocate: if it stops one single delusional nutter from murdering upwards of 200 people in one easy stroke because the voices in their head told them to, and the only thing between that latent human homicidal psychosis and my safety is a porno machine, what do I care how many 3d pictures of my cock I have to give up?

While we are doing that, let's put cameras in all the cars everywhere, and enable the authorities to stop the vehicle wherever and whenever they please. That will save lives! As will putting a telescreen everywhere and monitoring everything -- it might just stop a psycho from killing another human being! Let's put everybody in their own cell, or lobotomize everyone so that they can't harm each other... because saving lives(tm) through limiting freedom is the best thing and has always worked.

You see, the whole problem with security measures is that "bad" humans flock to authority and power like moths to a flame, only they don't die when they get to it (which is a shame). Take away privileges from the police and give them to the citizens? More gangs and criminals abusing freedoms awarded to them. Give more privilages to the police? They will abuse it, and You'll get more bent cops. Make a special task force to monitor the police actions? Guess where the mafia will try to put their people first... quis custodiet ipsos custodes, eh?

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#43880901)

In other countries like the UK you can't decline -- if you want to get on your flight, you go through the scanner.

And then you get the pat-down anyway. The metal detectors at Heathrow are far more sensitive than the metal detectors at US airports.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879961)

Because the enhanced pat down is worse.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (2)

Jockle (2934767) | about a year ago | (#43880003)

But it also wastes more of their time, which is the point. Although I'd rather people not fly at all, if they must fly, I'd rather they take the pat downs.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (1)

fatalwall (873645) | about a year ago | (#43880629)

Also allows you to make the TSA agent feel uncomfortable. But you must be very careful how you do this as TSA agents have unchecked powers.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#43880793)

Just do what a few people did when these machines were new. Decline the machine, accept the pat down/grope, strip to your underwear, and let them have a feel.

If every person did this, the shit would stop after about 3 days. Because everyone would be late for flights, and Leno would have the time of his life cracking jokes about it and showing how silly the whole charade is.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year ago | (#43880145)

I go thru them because it's fast, easy, and other than paranoid speculation has no detrimental effects. I suppose I could opt for some sort of invasive pat-down but I'm really not looking for that sort of thing.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (1)

fatalwall (873645) | about a year ago | (#43880645)

Yes but you know the pro's and cons of being sexually assaulted. Cant say the same for the machines that they wont run proper tests on and wont take public comment on even after court orders. Also it can be fun to make the guy patting you down mildly uncomfortable.

Re:Misleading summary, as usual (2)

commandermonkey (1667879) | about a year ago | (#43880821)

Depends on where you are. Flying though Amsterdam there was no opt-out; even for the preggers wife.

Even in the US you an face absurd pressure from the TSA to go through the machine. I have had to wait 15 min+ on an opt-out(causing a run through ORD barefooted to make the flight); insinuations/outright declarations that I must be a "funny man" to want another man touching his "junk" and I must be some sort of queer(the TSA screeners words, not mine; this was ATL); all the opt out point are right next to the input of the X-Ray bag scanner leading a TSA agent(I think at SFO) to tell me that i was exposed to far more radiation waiting here then going through the scanner.

(TL;DR) It's easy to say you opt-out, but it's not alwsy an option and there is still tremendous pressure for you to go though the security theater.

All part of the plan (3, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | about a year ago | (#43879621)

Security industrial complex got its billions and then guess what, it seems the machines have a problem. Ok, we'll buy the version 2 at only twice the price. A few years later ... what? They don't detect the latest terrorist explosives? Hey, we've just come out with version 3 and have we got a deal for you.

All the while the retiring senior TSA folks are getting job offers from the security industry to lobby and sell on these same government contracts.

Re:All part of the plan (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#43879687)

A few years later ... what? They don't detect the latest terrorist explosives? Hey, we've just come out with version 3 and have we got a deal for you.

If only they didn't detect "latest explosives" -- that would be understandable. It had been demonstrated many times that they don't detect shit.

I understand that these are government contractors, but still, shouldn't they pay the money back on every device that cannot detect 99%+ of dangerous items? Because I think that is all of them so far.

Re:All part of the plan (5, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#43879709)

If only they didn't detect "latest explosives" -- that would be understandable. It had been demonstrated many times that they don't detect shit.

To be fair, detecting shit wouldn't really help, what with everyone being -- literally -- full of it.

Re:All part of the plan (1)

bunhed (208100) | about a year ago | (#43879781)

Man I wish I had some upvotes

Re:All part of the plan (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#43880805)

Well, I don't know how big your colon is, but I'm only retaining a little bit of shit at the moment.

yo0 Fail It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879653)

feelow travellers? parties, but here

Waste of money (2)

wakeboarder (2695839) | about a year ago | (#43879677)

I just love to hear my tax dollars being put to good use! (And by good use I mean a HUGE inconvenience\privacy invasion, the TSA is government at its finest)

Re:Waste of money (3, Informative)

NormHome (99305) | about a year ago | (#43879779)

Whoever approved this incredible waste of taxpayer money really needs to loose their job along with half of Congress.

Re:Waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879813)

Seeing as how money was spent on this rather than on things that may have actually saved lives (healthcare), I'll let you guess what I think they should lose other than their jobs.

Re:Waste of money (1, Interesting)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#43879921)

half? all.

The DHS needs to go, the TSA needs to go along with it as well as the other bloat in the government.

As of 3/2001 there were 2,697,602 employees in the Federal Government (682K National Defense/Relations) with a monthly payroll of $11.4B/month.
As of 3/2011 (latest month available) there were 2,854,251 federal employees not including 192,845 in the DHS (including Coast Guard/TSA etc.) For a total of 3,047,096 with a monthly payroll of $17.2B/month. That's a 13% increase in personnel and a payroll increase of 50% in 10 years despite having gone through the worst recession in memory. I'm trying to think if my income has gone up 50% in the last 10 years. Wait, no, it hasn't I'm sure of it.

True, if I looked at all of those engineers and technicians layed-off at NASA because of the Shuttle shutdown these numbers would be a little less but still it's mind boggling how big the bureacracy has grown. A lot of that was under Bush but a lot was under Obama as well. I won't get into their productive value on the economy but in order to solve the problems we have with government bloat is to vote out all members of congress over the next three election cycles. Why? It's the only way to clean house and get some new people in there who don't behold to old party alliances and financial backers who push legislation through the side door. After all, the president has no spending authority, it comes from congress. The president can move funds around once he has them, but the checkbook is in the hands of guys like this. [wikipedia.org] or this [buzzfeed.com] , or this. [youtube.com] Frankly, I could point to any member of congress and see that their self-indulgent morons who have one goal: to maintain power and get re-elected and fuck the rest of the people in the country.

Re: Waste of money (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880409)

http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/data-analysis-documentation/federal-employment-reports/historical-tables/total-government-employment-since-1962/

Seems to disagree with your count of Federal employees.

Re:Waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880723)

You need to learn the difference between "loose" and "lose".

Re:Waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880759)

Whoever approved this incredible waste of taxpayer money really needs to loose their job along with half of Congress.

Whoever approved this incredible waste of taxpayer money really needs to loose their job along with half of Congress.

Learn how fucking spell lose!

Re:Waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880849)

You need to learn how to form complete sentences.

profiling is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879721)

and just make profiling part of the ticket purchase agreement

Re:profiling is needed (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#43879783)

and just make profiling part of the ticket purchase agreement

Do go on. We'd love to hear your brilliant plan. No, really.

Claim: Verified (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43879791)

Critics called this an invasion of privacy and questioned whether the scanning devices truly lacked the ability to save the images, as the TSA claimed."

It has always had the ability to save such images; The TSA merely claimed that such a 'diagnostic mode' was not available during normal operation. There is no way for you, the passenger, to know if and when it is in such a diagnostic mode, however. So the TSA's claim is technically true.

But since the radiation levels have also not been published, it's also technically true that the radiation levels are safe, in spite of those cancer clusters showing up, because the TSA says they're safe and therefore there is no need to publish the emission limits.

In other words... all you have to go on is their word in both cases. Which, given as many times as their statements haven't been found to be credible, is no assurance at all.

Re:Claim: Verified (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#43879975)

These machines not only provide, supposedly, security for our air travelers but they also provide fun and entertainment
for the TSA employees as well.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/06/tsa-worker-arrested-jokes-fight-size-genitalia/ [foxnews.com]

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/woman-body-scanned-times-tsa-dallas-airport-cute-figure-article-1.1022803 [nydailynews.com]

http://www.infowars.com/ex-tsa-screener-officers-laughing-at-your-naked-image/ [infowars.com]

We all knew this kind of stuff would happen and it has and let's not forget the guy who really pushed these forward
was at one time in charge of the DHS, Chertoff, represented rapidscan... http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2010/01/airport-scanner-scam [motherjones.com]

This whole excercise will be looked back upon with two possible outcomes: Rational beings will once again govern and they'll be looked upon as an assault on civil liberties or The status quo will be maintained into the future and you won't be able to go anywhere, be online and transact any business anywhere without at least 20 or thirty government snoops tracking your every movement. Frankly the way things are going, the latter is probably the outcome we'll all be living with shortly.

What? (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about a year ago | (#43880079)

Cancer clusters showing up? This is the first I have heard of this. Do you have an article I can read? I'd love to know more!

Re:What? (3, Informative)

steve6534 (809539) | about a year ago | (#43880119)

Here you go. It came up about 2 years ago now - http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/30/did-airport-scanners-give-boston-tsa-agents-cancer/ [time.com]

Re:What? (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about a year ago | (#43880299)

Hey thanks for the reply. I didn't know what to make of the original claim, but after reading that link, I have mixed feelings. I thought she was referring to passengers who were scanned but that didn't make sense. The cancer clusters are from the agents working the machines. Like many folks on here I hate the TSA and power hungry cops. So since it is they who are getting cancer I find myself torn between caring, since they are people, and eerily satisfied that karma is working as it should. I mean the types of people who take those jobs aren't the greatest people in the first place. We would be better off with a few less sociopaths.

Its a zero-sum game (2)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | about a year ago | (#43879797)

We are neither safer nor more at risk with these machines gone. As long as we're limited to 1-1/2oz shampoo bottles, we know TSA is on the job.

Re:Its a zero-sum game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879945)

At least get the size limit correct. It's 3.4 fluid ounces, also known at 100mL.

Re:Its a zero-sum game (-1, Troll)

murdocj (543661) | about a year ago | (#43880179)

Yeah, I would much rather that people be able to lug as many machine guns and bombs onto the planes as they can carry. I mean, it's not like there are crazed terrorists wanting to hijack planes and fly them into important buildings...

Re:Its a zero-sum game (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880349)

How many planes have been hijacked by machine guns, anyways? Actually, come to think of it, how many have been hijacked by bombs?

Oh really (2)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#43879827)

Can't save images? Then how is it that they have found TSA personnel with collections of images from the machine, not to mention the ones printed out and posted in the breakroom? Subjects were apparently females with better than average anatomical traits of course.

At least they recently fired the one caught masturbating to the screens while on monitor duty.

Better name: Radiation Scanners (4, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | about a year ago | (#43879847)

I don't care that much about the "Virtual Nude" thing. (Although I might care more if I were an attractive young female, I guess.)

My objection to the thing is the X-ray radiation. I am by no means convinced these things are safe.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=us-glossed-over-cancer-concerns [scientificamerican.com]

Four doctors from the University of California, San Francisco wrote an open letter expressing their grave concerns based on their expertise. They listed dangers of these scanners and requested to see the safety studies and get access to the raw data of the safety studies; they also asked for the names of the people who conducted the safety studies. The government's answer boiled down to "our experts have studied this and it's safe". Completely non-responsive to the listed concerns and not sharing any data.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126833083 [npr.org]

So I never yet have let them scan me; I always have requested the pat-down. When they ask if I would prefer it in private, I tell them no. I'd rather the patdown be out in the open where anyone could watch. I have no particular reason to think any TSA agent would give me extra trouble in private, but I'd prefer as much publicity as possible.

I guess millimeter wave isn't ionizing radiation? That's a giant improvement right there. Maybe the new machines are safe? Safer, anyway.

Re:Better name: Radiation Scanners (2)

steveha (103154) | about a year ago | (#43879991)

Hmm. Wikipedia says that the government did answer the open letter:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backscatter_X-ray#Health_effects [wikipedia.org]

Here's the citation:

http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmittingProductsandProcedures/SecuritySystems/ucm231857.htm [fda.gov]

I still want to minimize my exposure to ionizing radiation.

Re:Better name: Radiation Scanners (1)

loneDreamer (1502073) | about a year ago | (#43880077)

Cheers! I do exactly the same, wish more people did... ok, being wishfully thinking already, I really wish the TSA wouldn't exist.

Re:Better name: Radiation Scanners (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880255)

My objection to the thing is the X-ray radiation.

Your objection should be that it exists to allow the government to violate people's constitutional rights, which is a far more important matter than any health concern.

We need to scrap the TSA completely; it's an evil organization that is only capable of violating people's rights and privacy.

Re:Better name: Radiation Scanners (3, Interesting)

GoChickenFat (743372) | about a year ago | (#43880511)

My last trip to the airport the pilot and crew were allowed just in front of me. There was only one open lane and it was for the body scanner. When the crew showed up they opened the old magnetic line so I tried to join right behind them (btw, the body scanner line was completely open with no one waiting). The TSA agent said "you can go over to the other line". I said no I don't want to go through the body scanner. He said why not and I simply said I don't want to. He asked again why not. I said well if it was safe why isn't the crew going through it (I got a couple funny smiles back from the crew). He said why are you asking so many questions and then added if I go through I'd get an extra pat down. At that point I just kept following the crew through and he didn't stop me. I did get just my legs checked by another TSA agent - no big deal.

The other thing I've noticed is if you travel with young children they take you out of line and directly to the magnetic scanner. Not just your child and one parent but your entire family. For me it was four adult family members along with my 4yr old - no extra pat down needed.

in summary - the body scanners cannot be completely safe and they know it.

Probably the REAL reason... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880581)

There were several reports of cancer clusters in the operators of the machines - the people who stand right beside a scattering x-ray day in and day out. X-rays are waves, and they bounce, but there is no shielding on the entrance and exit. So if you stand beside them, you are bound to get SOME xrays each time. Anyway, many people think they were shut down because the cancer clusters became so obvious that it would be hard to deny the relationship. They prevented more risk by switching to terahertz, where they get similar results but without the x-rays.

http://www.infowars.com/cancer-surges-in-body-scanner-operators-tsa-launches-cover-up/

(yes, I know infowars has a mixed reputation, but it has supporting links)

It's not ionizing (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#43880547)

mmW is very low frequency, relatively speaking. Remember visible light is in the 750-380nm range and it is (obviously) non-ionizing. mmW, also called terahertz radiation, since that's the range it is in, is obviously much lower frequency. It is below infrared, but above microwave.

As such it is non-ionizing, and there is no reason to believe that it could cause any damage, other than thermal damage, and then only if done in large quantities in a short time. There was a paper that claimed it could "unzip" the DNA double helix, however it was based on a simulation, without experimental verification and later analysis has concluded this won't happen at the temperatures in the body.

The reason why it wasn't widely deployed to begin with is, as it often is, nepotism. Rapidiscan makes the X-ray scanners, L3 makes the mmW ones. Michael Chertoff, the homeland secretary at the time, had ties to Rapidiscan.

Re:Better name: Radiation Scanners (1)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#43880607)

My objection to the thing is the X-ray radiation. I am by no means convinced these things are safe.

That's a good argument against these for terrestrial applications, but not at the airport. Your increased ionizing radiation exposure from the flight is roughly two orders of magnitude higher than from the scanners. So complaining about radiation from the scanners makes you come across as either ignorant (didn't know about radiation from flying), or hypocritical (upset about a small dose from the scanners, while accepting of a much larger dose from the flight).

Stick with the privacy and unreasonable search arguments.

Re:Better name: Radiation Scanners (1)

mha (1305) | about a year ago | (#43880791)

This is about the SCREENERS much more than about the passengers. You forgot those guys who are next to those machines all work-day long. See other articles with links right here about this very topic.

I've never understood the fuss.... (1)

MrBovineOrdure (2443096) | about a year ago | (#43879913)

If some perv wants to go blind looking at a blue-man-group version of my naked body, fine! I never understood this. I guess the only way to accept this is if we see a skeletal structure that sees weapons ala Total Recall. Can't imagine doing this without a great deal of radiation though.....

Re:I've never understood the fuss.... (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43880271)

give more consideration to other's feelings. would your mother like this? your grandmother? your sister?

Re:I've never understood the fuss.... (1)

MrBovineOrdure (2443096) | about a year ago | (#43880459)

Mom's been dead for 4 years. Grandma for 33 years. My sister & brother likely would take an adult view. (I suspect the same would hold with Mom, Dad, and grandma, though Windows 95 would have been beyond their ken.) If someone told you a web address of a picture of a prurient nature of someone you know, would you go to that address? Would you say no, secretly go there and publicly say you didn't (and take umbrage at the very thought?) Just not bother to look, or see and just move on with your life? No, nudity doesn't bother me. Its the way you came into the world, Endured by family members until you're about 1 1/2 then only sanctioned by serious movies like Schindler's list. (Where all those depicted to be forced to march naked were pasty unattractive white folks in black & white so it would be OK for broadcast over the public airwaves.) The pictures that those things take aren't exactly HD color. A publicly released image of those machines would be no more meaningful and prurient than a Photoshopped picture of your loved one's head on someone else's body. (Unless that actually WAS a gun in his pocket and he wasn't just glad to see you.)

Re:I've never understood the fuss.... (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43880667)

But we're not talking of your views or my views, we're talking about how your dear departed mom or grandmother would have felt about such thing and it's not about "an adult view", it's about them (if they are like majority of women in USA) likely having similar feeling in their mind as some stranger walking up to them and ripping their clothes off would give. It's about them feeling violated and humiliated.

Re:I've never understood the fuss.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880599)

Do not want to see!

What about the images they already took? (1)

ntw1103 (1208178) | about a year ago | (#43880013)

There is still the problem of all the images they already took. Those images are probably stored on a server somewhere. Now is not the time to rejoice, the job isn't finished yet. We, the people, need to demand the destruction of those images.

Where did the machines go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880049)

They removed all of these nude scanners from the Airports. Where did they go? Does anyone really believe the government would just discard all of this expensive security theatre hardware they've already paid for?

Hardly.

http://tsaoutofourpants.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/tsa-admits-plotting-nude-body-scanners-for-rail-bus-refuses-environmental-impact-study/

Re:Where did the machines go? (1)

pete6677 (681676) | about a year ago | (#43880773)

Actually they will throw them away. Chertoff's company already made money on the scanners, which is the only reason they were ever purchased to begin with. Therefore, the scanners have already served their useful purpose and the government will now gladly scrap them. After all, its only tax money they wasted. They don't care.

which machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880259)

Are these the X-ray machines that Chertoff was supposed to have made so much money on. (Yeah, I know, preposition...)

Thankful (1)

geezer nerd (1041858) | about a year ago | (#43880499)

I am just thankful that most of my air travel is NOT in the US! Security checks in other places can be onerous, too, but rarely as bad as when in the US. But security practices used worldwide are mostly at the behest of the TSA.

Enemy Combatants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880513)

The employees of the Department of Homeland Security [a euphoric term] are by definition Enemy Combatants using the language of Obama's secret Executive Order Directives.

Enemy Combatants can be killed on sight at will by the lawful citizens of the United States of America and Its Territories so long as the killing occurs within the United States of America and Its Territories.

Fucking prudes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880621)

I swear /. must be occupied by nothing but Pentecostals and Muslims.

Get over it weenies.

me love you long time mistah charly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880713)

That was a lot of cameltoe!

Underpaid. (1)

Snufu (1049644) | about a year ago | (#43880797)

Have you seen the travelers in the security check line? If I was a screener I would demand a machine that makes people seem MORE clothed.

Sad story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880973)

Is that since 9/11, the terrorists have won and rule America. And I'm not talking about Bush's home boys from the Bin Laden family.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...