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Full Body Scans On Order

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 1:50 PM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Body Scanners, Rapiscan, Chertoff, Airline Security,

Full body scanners are the subject of a Senate hearing and are already on order.


IMAGE SOURCE: Mother Jones/ Kevin Drum Web site/ Full body scan image

Scan Baby Scan

James Ridgeway of Mother Jones reports about the push to scan after the Christmas day underwear bomber.

The Nigerian man accused of trying to ignite explosives over Detroit Christmas day did not go through such a scanner in Amsterdam, where his flight originated.

He is believed to have tucked explosive powder in his underwear or trousers, which would have not set off metal detectors.

The question is whether high tech security scanners might have caught the man before he boarded the Northwest Airlines flight. The technology is used at 19 U.S. airports. Europeans have limited its use to test runs.

In the Dutch case, the full-body scan “could have been helpful in this case, absolutely,” said Evert van Zwol, head of the Dutch Pilots Association to MSNBC.

In June, 2009, the House voted 310-118 to prohibit whole-body imaging. Both Democrats and Republicans agreed in voting for the ban, largely over privacy issues.

But since Christmas, the Senate Homeland Security Committee has announced hearings and Joe Lieberman asked why whole-body scanning wasn’t in wider use.

Digital Strip Search

Known as “Digital Strip Search” machines, the full-body scanners use millimeter wave sensors of backscatter X-rays. They do not reveal anything hidden in body cavities. Tests in the UK find the machines unreliable in detecting plastics, chemicals, and liquids.

But that doesn’t matter, Mother Jones reports hundreds of machines at a cost of about $150,000 each, are on order.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who heads the Chertoff Group, represents leading manufacturers of the machines, Rapiscan Systems, something he did not reveal when promoting their use to the media, reports the Washington Post.

40 body scanners are in use at 19 U.S. airports and TSA reportedly purchased 150 machines from Rapiscan this summer. The cost - $25 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

Other lobbyists represent manufacturers, American Science & Engineering Inc., Smiths Detection, and L3 Systems, represented by former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato.

Privacy Concerns

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Technology and Liberty Program has concerns about the scanners because they “see through your clothing and reveal the size and shape of your body.”

Full-body images are walled-off from public view and the officer viewing the image never sees the passenger. The machines do not store any image they produce. They would show details of your body and medical details such as whether you have a colostomy bag.

TSA says the scans will be used as a secondary screening and only for people on a “watch list.”

But will this latest wave of technology eventually go the way of technologies of the past?

Puffer Machines

TSA has largely abandoned the so called puffer machines” made by General Electric and Smiths Detection ($160,000 each) because they cost too much to maintain and regularly broke down in the presence of dirt and humidity.

Still, 18 are deployed around the U.S. at a cost to taxpayers of about $30 million. Only one-quarter of them were ever deployed at U.S. airports. #


Anonymous User
Posted by Btok
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 3:04 PM EST

Scanner 'Violates Human Dignity,' Say Civil Rights Canada!
Calling for petitions, boycotts and lawsuits en mass in an effort to block the nationwide implementation of full body scanners that represent a total violation of privacy a health risk, and the next wave of tyranny being metered out against the American people and the people of the world under the phony pretext of fighting terrorism.
Our long journey into domestication and dependency on the scientific dictatorship is accelerating our entire society is being turned into a massive surveillance grid it has been designed to persecute the people, adding that the scanners were the latest manifestation of the prison planet being constructed around humanity.
Allied with the contrived global warming movement, terrorism is the other prong of the pincer being used to crush freedom and advance totalitarianism in the developed world as Homeland Security follows the plan it was created to carry out the gradual implementation of martial law in America characterized by the kind of stifling security we now see in airports being introduced into our daily lives in shopping malls, public schools, and many other buildings. Those who refuse the body scan and opt for a pat down will be subject to a strip search and treated like terrorists.
“We’re being trained like dogs….we are the people they want to train to accept this!

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 9:25 PM EST

An unruly passenger on a Portland, OR plane bound for Hawaii forced the plane to be turned around and escorted back to Portland, with a fighter jet escort.


Anonymous User
Posted by Leonard
Thursday, January 07, 2010 10:42 AM EST

Body scanners make everyone a porn star including mothers and children.I cant wait to hear the lawsuits and not to mention the radiation.

Anonymous User
Posted by William
Sunday, January 10, 2010 12:35 PM EST

Body scanners dont use dangerous radiation? Body scanners dont save images?.Well heres another story at LINK

Posted by Gerry McGill
Sunday, January 10, 2010 2:52 PM EST

How curious that former head of The Department of Homeland Security during the Bush administration, Michail Chertoff, would have a financial stake in pushing the purchase and use of full body scanners.

Anonymous User
Posted by Steve Lombardi
Sunday, January 10, 2010 4:11 PM EST

I'm at a point with the hassle of air travel where I could care less if the TSA uses scanners and can see how out of shape I am. If scanning passengers can get us all on our way faster and with less hassle, then I'm all for it. If it keeps us safe, then who cares what they see. If the TSA employees get a thrill out of looking at scanned images of a person's physique, then have it. Just catch the bad guys while saving our tax dollars and moving the line at the luggage check point. In fact turn it over to General Electric - I own their stock and perhaps I can make up some of what I'm losing in bailing out the next billionaire bonus CEO with my tax dollars. And another thing, when you catch the little vermin with the explosives, take him off the plane and send him out in a field where he can get it right. Let the Dems and the Reps stop bickering, start solving problems or else let's put them all on a plane to Afghanistan where they can personally fight in the trenches.

Anonymous User
Posted by Steve Lombardi
Sunday, January 10, 2010 4:12 PM EST

PS: Great story Jane, thanks for presenting the facts! The public needs to hear more about this technology and what it can and can't do.

Comments for this article are closed.

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