Saturday, January 9, 2010

TSA Naked Body Scans

When I was a young teenager there were ads for various items in the back of my comic books. They included pimple syringes (remove blackheads with suction), some apparatus that would give you big muscles and my favourite (at the time anyway) X-ray glasses. To drive home the intended use for the glasses, the ad showed some young man looking at an attractive female through the glasses; his tongue was hanging and eyes popping out. Anyway, I never bought any of these items (except for a stop watch that was really cool), but as a young man I fantasized how cool it would be to have those glasses. Well, the technology has finally caught up, but it is the size of a phone booth. Phone booth? Oh yeah I forgot, cell phones. Anyway, the next time you go flying on a commercial airlines, they are going to walk you through a square fish-bowl that will take a full body scan of you, that result in a 3-d picture of you naked. I'm not talking about some blurry image, I'm talking Playboy quality naked photos of women. You see the scanners produce a negative image that looks a bit like an X-ray, but because it is digital, all you need to do is reverse the image and you get a positive, that any software program can colorize. I'm sure they will tell you that the scanners don't contain that technology, which would be ridiculous, reverse imagining is an option even with most printer software. Included in the posting a very small photo that can be enlarged by clicking on it (I wonder if this poor girl knew her naked photo would go viral on the net).

The first problem with these scanners is the males that are hired as TSA agents. Most are want-a-be cops who washed out from one reason or another, the most common reason being psychological screening. The minimum requirements are a GED and background check. Training is a week and a half in a classroom and then on the job training. No wonder complaints of lack of professionalism have poured in. Further, while the TSA has not released the number of complains by female fliers, there is a mountain of anecdotal evidence the attractive females are chosen much more often for the "random" searches, including Carmon Electra who is searched every time she flies. And here's the main issue; it doesn't work! Officials at the British Department of Transportation and Home Security tested the scanners were not persuaded that they would work comprehensively against terrorist threats to aviation. Further from the Independent UK;

Since the attack was foiled, body-scanners, using "millimetre-wave" technology and revealing a naked image of a passenger, have been touted as a solution to the problem of detecting explosive devices that are not picked up by traditional metal detectors – such as those containing liquids, chemicals or plastic explosive.

But Ben Wallace, the Conservative MP, who was formerly involved in a project by a leading British defence research firm to develop the scanners for airport use, said trials had shown that such low-density materials went undetected.

Interestingly enough the US had not allowed the Dutch to use the full body scanners at their airports because of what they said were, "privacy issues". Now, however, the Netherlands will immediately begin using full body scanners for flights heading to the United States to prevent future terrorist attacks like the foiled Christmas Day attempt. Remember what Raul Emanuel said, "Never let a good crisis got to waste".

It looks like Homeland Security still has some bumps in the road before these full-body scans are excepted. First there are advocates for children, who have brought up that photographing naked children is unlawful throughout the world and the idea of simply exempting scanners, as was done in England, has not been well received. Further, A national Muslim civil rights group is asking the TSA for clarification on whether Muslim women wearing Islamic head scarves, or hijabs, will be singled out for additional security checks after a traveler said she was targeted for a "humiliating" full-body search.

A background story here is Former Homeland Security Director (Bush 43) Michael Chertoff and his association with Rapiscan. For about a week after the Christmas bombing attempt, he was was running around Washington pushing the Rapiscan full-body scanners without disclosing his connection to the company (he's also one scary looking dude). Further the lobbying for these scanners is littered with other Washington cronies, like Tom Blank, Former TSA director also under Bush 41, and John P White, Former Dep Secretary of Defense under Clinton and Nation Security Adviser to President Obama. White is the director of L-3 Communications, which got the first scanner contract ($165 million) after the Christmas bombing incident. A prior 150 units ($25 million) came from Rapidscan.

1 comment:

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