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TSA Body Scanners To Show Less Revealing Images

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the a-little-less-leg dept.

Privacy 202

tgtanman writes "The Washington Post reports that the TSA will begin installing new software on millimeter wave body scanners at 41 airports that will replace the controversial body images with generic images of the body. While the change is currently limited to millimeter wave scanners, similar upgrades for backscatter scanners is being developed, according to the TSA. The ACLU has applauded the changes but continues to note other concerns with the scanners."

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TSA "Cancer Coffins" (1, Troll)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831384)


If you travel by air in the US, never EVER go through those scanners the TSA runs. Insist on a pat-down then get out of the area as fast as possible.

Those scanners spew microwave and other radiation which pools up in the area effectively soaking people in the radiactivity. Working in that melange of microwave and backscatter radioactivity is sure to cause nerve damage and subluxations in people. Left untreated, those subluxations and nerve blockages will go rancid and cause all sorts of health issues: headache, back spasms, heart disease and even cancer.

There was an issue not long ago in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research which showed a definite link between exposure to these types of radiation and chronic health issues. If you work in the security field near these "Cancer Coffins" or are exposed to them more than a few times per year, it's imperative that you have your spine and nervous system examined by a Chiropractor. They're trained to detect and treat the issue. Make sure you tell the Doctor that you're there for radiation exposure and he/she will know exactly where to look for subluxation issues.

Take care,
Bob.

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831444)

What does radiation have to do with the gross adjustment of your bones?

If I have high exposure to radiation, why on Earth should I see a chiropractor and not an actual doctor?

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (2, Funny)

OttoErotic (934909) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831486)

Don't try to fool me. Everybody knows that chiropractic medicine is quack science, just like global warming or vaccinations for children. The truth is that subluxations are easily cured with a homeopathic bleach solution. And don't get me started on radiation. Just sleep under a crystal pyramid each night like a normal person and you don't have to worry about radiation. Or Thetans.

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (2)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832414)

Don't try to fool me. Everybody knows that chiropractic medicine is quack science, just like global warming or vaccinations for children. The truth is that subluxations are easily cured with a homeopathic bleach solution. And don't get me started on radiation. Just sleep under a crystal pyramid each night like a normal person and you don't have to worry about radiation. Or Thetans.

Don't try to out-looney the resident looney. It won't work.

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831636)

Wait, so you're into chiropractics and you think think that these are deadly dangerous...

Cool, they're probably fine then. I shall no longer worry about it. Not that I really did anyway.

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832434)

Wait, so you're into chiropractics and you think think that these are deadly dangerous...

Cool, they're probably fine then. I shall no longer worry about it. Not that I really did anyway.

He is really from the TSAs marketing department trying to make you believe these machines are harmless.

Most likely they are harmless but we can't be totally sure for another 10 years at least.

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831642)

A Chiropractor? The real scam is that loons like you are licensed by anybody to do anything. I believe I heard it best on Penn & Teller's Bullshit - "baby twisting motherfuckers"

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831686)

"Dr." Bob,

Don't take this the wrong way, but please fuck off with the whole subluxation thing.

You have a gift for relating any story to chiropractic issues, but it's starting to wear a bit thin. You need to understand that the kind of folks who frequent this board are the ones that prefer their research to come peer-reviewed, double-blind tested and based on at least a small shred of reality. Otherwise, you'll just end up getting lumped into the same pile as Mormons, Scientologists and Jenny McCarthy. And nobody deserves to get thrown on a pile of Jenn McCarthy.

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831796)

Brilliantly done, sir. I wish there was a "+1 Troll" option - you already hooked half a dozen... How long did you have to wait for a body scanner article to post this?

And for those who thought this was real, here are two other very real, very scary sites:

The Onion [theonion.com]

Christwire [christwire.org]

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831858)

I don't get it - if the guy's a troll, he's certainly a very odd troll. His posts have been consistently batshit insane. His Facebook page has over 500 friends, but almost all of them appear to be chiropractors. He may have gone out and tried to friend every chiropractor he could find online, and if so that just seems a bit sad. If he's trying to get a rise of tech geeks, spine adjustments is a very obscure attack vector.

If it's an attempt to discredit chiropractors, it's a pretty brilliant Kaufmanesque move. However, I'm going to apply Occam's Razor and say that the most likely answer is that he's a total nutjob.

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832004)

His posts have been consistently batshit insane.

If anything, a very clear hallmark of a troll. Normal people usually post sane comments occasionally (unless their mother named them Michael Kristopeit, anyway).

His Facebook page has over 500 friends, but almost all of them appear to be chiropractors.

Anyone can create a fake FB account and friend some people. The question is, how many people have friended him?

And even that wouldn't tell you much. Many people will friend anyone who friends them if there is so much as a distant reason - and for chiropractors, being in the same "business" and spreading the word certainly counts as a valid reason.

If he's trying to get a rise of tech geeks, spine adjustments is a very obscure attack vector.

Slashdot is very much negative towards any form of pseudoscience - just read comments in any story on homeopathy. Chiropractics usually get mentioned in such discussions pretty fast, as well. And it doesn't take long reading Slashdot to find that out. So, if anything, this guy is not even particularly creative in his choice of the subject matter.

Really, though, the only piece of evidence that you need to know to realize that it's a troll is that he consistently posts flamebaits as first posts. His only other comments are occasional replies to anyone who bites the bait, in that same thread.

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832014)

Don't get me wrong, someone who would go to this extent and length to satirize chiropractic medicine on site like slashdot almost has to be a bit messed up. But brilliant, nonetheless.

And I'd argue based on the pure number of "perfect" flags of chiropractic quackery that Occam's Razor argues the opposite. If he's a nutjob he's one in a million... (but one can dream).

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831944)

The man is a genius. You'll note that only the first sentence and the first few words of the second paragraph actually refer to the TSA scanners, the rest is simply about "radiation" - and a frist psot, at that - pure genius.

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831872)

Dude, the reason you keep getting modded as troll isn't because there are still some of us dumb enough to bite, it's because that if you put your mind to it, you can actually be funny, like you were in that cyberwar book review today. Please, try for moar of that and less of this.

Re:TSA "Cancer Coffins" (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832404)

You are a loony. People will dismiss what you say as lonny babble and may associate your nonsense with the real reasons to avoid the TSAs lightly tested radiation machines.

You do the world a great disservice with your crazy talk.

Successful project (2)

zget (2395308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831386)

Now people can applaud them for doing the good thing and changing the controversial scanners to better ones. I don't feel so bad anymore. Good job!



wait, didn't I still lose privacy somewhere in the process?

Re:Successful project (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831790)

Worse, these aren't any less invasive of your privacy. They're still, by definition, still taking the image. The computer is just throwing away some of the data. Translation: it is just software that can change at any time, even to the point of sending a complete copy of the unprocessed image data to a porn site in Russia.

Just to put on my cynic hat, the government had better hope that they rounded up all those Anonymous hackers the other day. Otherwise, I'd give it a year, tops, before somebody manages to pull off "Girls Gone Wild, Airport Security Style". Really, when you have something so utterly ripe for abuse, it's not a question of if, but when.

Re:Successful project (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832590)

DAE remember that before these scanners were first installed the TSA, in combination with the Department of Homeland Security, certified that there was software in place which blurred the naughty bits and prevented any sort of saving, printing, etc, of the images... and that it all turned out to be a COMPLETE AND INTENTIONAL LIE?

DAE ever go look at the TENS OF THOUSANDS of high quality images that have been posted on the internet by TSA agents who saved the images to a personal thumb drive since there is no security whatsoever which would prevent saving of images to a USB device? Who needs Anon? "GGW: Airport Scanner" is already a reality (at work or I'd link it)

Re:Successful project (4, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831836)

YES.

If the only reason you weren't going through the machines as it was is because you didn't want someone keeping an archive of your naughty bits, then you were standing up for the wrong reason. Treat it as any other aspect of your privacy. Exercise it. I won't go through the machines for the same reason I don't just invite an officer into my house or give an officer a reason to snoop around my car. Rights are meaningless if you don't exercise them.

Re:Successful project (1)

capedgirardeau (531367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831966)

Yes, what you said, exactly.
I hope your comment gets modded up.

The new image (4, Funny)

margeman2k3 (1933034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831414)

Re:The new image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831664)

Porn alert!

Re:The new image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831774)

And this is what it looks like when a terrorist tries to get through:
http://procrast-nation.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/sf8.png [procrast-nation.com]

more like (2)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831844)

http://thewashingtonfancy.com/2011/06/man-takes-viagra-wears-sweatpants-for-tsa-pat-down/

Re:more like (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832234)

Hey, if it wasn't for pat-downs in airports, I wouldn't have a sex life at all. Hell, that's the whole reason I'm flying!

When I told that to the pat-down guy last time he was really pissed at me for some odd reason. Do I really look that bad?

Does it matter? (5, Insightful)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831422)

Does it matter if it's less revealing if the radiation is just as dangerous?
Does it matter if it's ineffective now and continues to be ineffective?

I think we could better spend the money on monitoring the TSA screeners who keep stealing our stuff.

Re:Does it matter? (2)

zget (2395308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831502)

I've traveled a lot in asia, including Cambodia (one of the poorest countries in the world) and China. Not once they have stolen anything from my backs. It's kind of funny that it happens in the US.

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831668)

I've traveled a lot in asia, including Cambodia (one of the poorest countries in the world) and China. Not once they have stolen anything from my backs.

Did they steal anything from your fronts?

That would be smart, you know. To do it right under your nose.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832244)

My guess is that in Cambodia, people who work at the airport are effing GLAD they have such a great job and wouldn't dream about doing anything that could even possibly endanger this position.

In the US, otoh...

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832520)

My guess would be anecdote doesn't equal fact.

Re:Does it matter? (2)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832524)

After being in Nepal, that's what I think:

  • Smaller airports --> bigger accountability. In some cases the bags were always in public sight while they were checked / sent to the plane.
  • Even when the baggage was not in sight, the traffic was so little that I imagine that there could be no more than two - three people looking baggage. It makes workers a lot harder to say "But I did not see nothing" if someone complains.
  • I do not know if it was because we were obviously foreigners, but I did not feel that the checks were very thorough. It looked like they were looking more for smuggled goods than for bombs, which makes it easier to check (you can hide a bomb almost anywhere, if you are smuggling goods probably you'll have to get your luggage full of it in order to make a profit).
  • Also, as Opportunist says, probably having a stable work in an office in an airport is a way better prospect than most of the population there has, while here it is just a minimal wage work.
  • And finally, low traffic allowed for some measures that would not be practical in other airports. When leaving Katmandu airport a security officer checked that the code in our bags matched the label we had in our tickets. Think how much would it cost doing the same in, say, Heathrow or JFK.

Re:Does it matter? (3, Insightful)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831506)

I never understood how they justified this. X-Rays are considered high risk. They keep quoting radiation dosages, but it doesn't seem to factor the fact that this is ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation that damages DNA. Damaged DNA that causes cancer cells. Why is this allowed?

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831608)

X-rays? I thought they used millimetre wavelength rays. That's how it can pass through clothing, while still reflecting off skin, which is why the whole being able to see you naked thing was a problem in the first place.

Re:Does it matter? (3, Informative)

blindseer (891256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831656)

These scanners come in two varieties, one uses millimeter waves and the other uses x-rays. X-rays will pass through clothing, and people, but the detectors are placed and tuned in a way that only the X-rays that bounce off skin and solid objects is detected.

I am guessing the X-ray machines are cheaper which is why they are more popular.

Re:Does it matter? (2)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831934)

These x-ray scanners give you a much smaller ionizing radiation dose than you'll get from the flight itself [nasa.gov] . When you're flying at altitude, there's less air to absorb ionizing cosmic radiation, so you end up encountering and absorbing more of it. Airline crews on certain routes actually get a higher annual dose of radiation than nuclear plant workers.

While I agree that the scanners are an abomination, the radiation from them is (assuming the machine is working properly) a tiny fraction of the increased radiation exposure you subject yourself to when you fly. If you're that paranoid about radiation, don't fly, drive.

Re:Does it matter? (4, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831956)

It may be a very small amount of radiation or they may be calculating it wrong or they may be lying.

In any case, it is radiation and can cause cancer. There is no safe amount of radiation. Any amount of radiation can cause cancer. The more radiation, the greater your chance of cancer. I choose not to expose myself to this extra radiation.

Yes, it matters (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832072)

These x-ray scanners give you a much smaller ionizing radiation dose than you'll get from the flight itself

True but any radiation exposure increases the risk of cancer. The risk is acceptable if there is a corresponding benefit to be gained from taking it. However for security screening X-raying is not needed. Tera-hertz imaging can produce the same quality of images with no known risks. There are some people concerned about it but, if there is a harmful effect, it is so small that it has not yet been detected. This is before you even start asking about effective this type of screening really is at stopping terrorists.

Although I disagree with it, I can see the argument for security theatre like this but when that theatre increases the risk to my health, even by a tiny "almost negligible" amount, for no reason it has gone too far. Besides, multiply that tiny risk factor by the ~800 million people who fly each year and you'll almost certainly get a number greater than one as the people who will get cancer each year just from airport security scans.

Re:Yes, it matters (2)

Oceanplexian (807998) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832224)

That is not necessarily true, plenty of radiation workers live long healthy lives, and there is a lot of controversy surrounding the linear no-threshold model wherein all radiation exposure is dangerous.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_hormesis

Back to the point, the real problem with the scanners isn't the pictures or the "radiation", it's the blatent invasion of privacy and expenditure of tax dollars on security theatre.

This isn't for the X-ray ones (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831994)

It is for the millimeter wave ones. Those ones are not ionizing radiation (as the wavelength indicates, it is below visible light). Remember there are two different kinds of body scanners out there.

Re:Does it matter? (4, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831638)

This was a compassionate move, to lessen the burden of watching as vast hordes of portly American travellers waddle naked through their magic gate.

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832300)

I think it was more of a compassionate move for the passengers, as it is well known that the TSA employees can print / download the images, and that some of the high resolution models, can give you a hell of a picture.

I live in a country which doesn't have them yet (Australia), but the government is planning on bringing them in, and I also have friends who work for our version of the TSA. They've seen some demo runs of some models, and these guys are fucking excited. The amount of girls they're going to get to check out, is going to add a significant perk to their job. Even though the figures are coloured in such a way as to not be sexual, when you're looking at the girl, and then looking back, the imagination fills in the blanks. As it is, they already use inocuous codes, which sound like their regular codes, but aren't, to signal when there's some hot girl coming through the checkout, and a code to tell the guy on the monitors to take some good pictures.

Now, being a guy, and knowing that they wouldn't be checking me out, I don't have a problem with this. However, I'm sure most women, if they knew they were getting this treatment, WOULD have a huge problem with this.

Re:Does it matter? (5, Insightful)

blindseer (891256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831644)

I agree. These scanners will find nothing that a metal detector and those bomb sniffers don't already find. Sure, I suppose someone might be able to sneak one of those ceramic or high density plastic blades on board the plane that these back scatter scanners might find but that problem has already been addressed. Tactics like a bolted door to the pilots and a cabin filled with people (crew and passengers) that know that someone that wields such a weapon can kill everyone on board. These people will react with lethal force using their own fists, feet, and teeth if they must to take that person down.

Bomb sniffers and metal detectors are enough on the ground. Bolted doors and a "to the death" attitude in the air can handle what gets through the detectors. Pat downs should be reserved only for people that are placed under arrest for failure to comply with the safety rules. Anyone that has been patted down is automatically not going to fly, with rare exceptions.

Those bomb sniffers aren't even that great since they are often too sensitive and will pick up a variety of cosmetics, medicines, and just stuff people pick up from the environment and flag it as explosive. Common sense needs to prevail when screening for explosives. The sniffers are great in picking up potentially explosive compounds but really bad at finding an actual bomb. Turning people away only because the sniffer picked up something is stupid because the false positive rate is so high, and if the screeners truly felt the person did have a bomb then that person should not be allowed to walk free, that person needs to be arrested, investigated, and charged with attempted murder or something.

When it comes to the TSA screeners stealing there are two separate issues here. One is the unconstitutional search by an agent of the federal government without warrant or probable cause. No one can tell me that attempting to take a flight in an airplane is probable cause to a government search for explosives or weapons. Let the airline and/or airport staff take over control of the security. I recall that history shows that they are more effective at securing the airport anyway. Might have something to do with the fact that it is their own planes that are being protected, no airline wants to lose an airplane or the passengers within it.

The second issue with items disappearing in the handling of luggage is that the TSA is allowed to search bags in private where no one can see them steal stuff. There is also the plausible deniability on both the part of the TSA and the airline, both groups can point fingers at the other on who stole what. If it is only the airline that handles the luggage then they are solely responsible for any loss along the way. No luggage should be opened without the owner present, excepting some very rare instances. The policy of routinely cutting locks needs to go.

I have flown only once since this TSA nonsense began and that is only because I had a deal on some tickets. After the crap I went through to get on a plane I'm not sure I'd fly if the ticket was free.

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832100)

They should get rid of the TSA, x-ray and millimeter machines, metal detectors and everything else. Period.

It's beyond theatre. This can be made so simple.
1. Everything goes in checked luggage.
2. Instead of this security BS, have everyone required to wear a "airline safe" uniform which is basically just a high-grade(eg not low-thread-count chinese shit, but high enough grade that you can't see through it) skin-tight yoga type clothing with no pockets and no seams. If you can't afford it, you don't fly. They can wear their normal clothes on top, but must take them off at the security checkpoint. Put them back on after the security checkpoint after it goes through an explosives trace test. You can use a thermal camera on it then if it's needed. Even a regular camera with the IR filter modified (look up "sony-see-through-cam") can see through it.

It's one point less intrusive than the expensive scanner bullshit, and removes the TSA-molestation brigade. All they need is a curtain so people in line and after the security check point can't be voyeurs.

Anyhow. Take the train, less hassle.

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832130)

The second issue with items disappearing in the handling of luggage is that the TSA is allowed to search bags in private where no one can see them steal stuff.

Solved easily enough by travelling with a firearm. Buy whatever cheap pistol you prefer (even a starter pistol) and a metal suitcase. At the ticket counter, declare your pistol to the agent. At this point the TSA agent will come over to inspect your luggage at the counter, in your presence. Once they are done, you will be instructed to lock the case (with whatever lock you choose, even if it's not a "TSA Approved" lock) and take the key with you. If they need to open it for more inspection, they are required to come find you in order to do so, since they do NOT want to risk losing a registered firearm.

How does this help prevent theft? The requirements for checking in a firearm state it has to be in a lockable metal case. Nothing says it can't also be large enough to hold your clothes, documents, and laptop/tablet at the same time. =)

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831718)

When you drive a whole country by means of "think of the children" and puritanism. You know that this will please the masses, as they know your country is still "doing" something, but it's not "abusing" of the images.

Doesn't address the issues. (3, Insightful)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831426)

While it's slightly less of an invasion, it doesn't change the invasive nature of these scans, nor does it address the possible health concerns. It's still an invasive search of your person without probable cause, and they're still ineffective at detecting even known types of dangerous items. Ineffective, invasive, (violating the conditions for a legal administrative airport security search) and without probable cause, that means they're still prohibited by the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Re:Doesn't address the issues. (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831448)

For those who want to see the criteria for an administrative search to be legal, see my blog [blogspot.com]

Re:Doesn't address the issues. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832210)

Or if you want the information without padding his blog's ad revenue, just go to his source: http://llr.lls.edu/docs/41-1kornblatt.pdf

Oh Goodie (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831434)

But what about the pedophilic patdowns and geriatric groping?

Those sick TSA pigs will use any excuse to stick their hands into shit-ridden diapers, not matter how old their wearers are.

GO GO GO Anon, Lulzsec, and Wikileaks!

DIE DIE DIE sick sociopath pigs of DHS, FBI, CIA, and NSA!

Re:Oh Goodie (1)

trytoguess (875793) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831620)

Anon and Lulzsec are about as effective as someone spray painting on some mob boss's house, and Wikileak's does what it does so that the rest of a nation will get off their asses and demand justice/change for the better. In short, we're pretty much on our own when it comes to the TSA. Better start thinking up some plan against them.

USA USA USA (2, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831436)

Get fucking rid of them. And the TSA. But now that those assholes unionized, they'll never go away I'm sure. Land of the slave, home of the serf.

Wait, what? (5, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831450)

If it was possible to do this in software to begin with, and they knew the images were "controversial" to begin with, why the hell didn't they just do this from the very beginning? My understanding of the system was that it was the fact that the images revealed everything, so to speak, that they were effective. So either they need to be revealing (which they clearly don't), or they've just been lying the whole time.

Which brings me to my second question. Who is being paid to develop this software? Is this literally a case where they could have done something in the beginning, but didn't so that they could charge extra later, and then look like good guys because they are "protecting our rights"? Or am I missing something here? Because it looks very much to me like this move shows that they were pressing as hard as they could to see how far they could go "to stop terrorists", then, when people object, stepping back the tiniest inch (and BTW, anyone who doesn't go through these still has to be frisked) and trying to look like good guys.

Seriously, this absolutely reeks of deception and probably downright lying. Of course, now people will back off and the TSA can continue with their security theater. The ACLU doesn't need to applaud this decision: they need to launch a class action lawsuit and corruption investigation to shut down the TSA.

Re:Wait, what? (2, Interesting)

evil_aaronm (671521) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831640)

I forget the term for this, but I think it's along the lines of, "They set the bar at this height, we resist a bit, and they lower the bar a little, and we relent, now that the bar is lower, but we've still lost because the bar exists in the first place."

Re:Wait, what? (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831758)

Exactly. I won't go so far as to say that this was intended all along--there has been too many blunders for such to be the case--but I will say they are now in the position to offer a compromise that any reasonable person should accept. Just like a swindler trying to sell a car or a politician trying to get more advantage from a bill, these guys, having bid high to begin with, can place the burden of compromise on their opposition. Now, those of us who have said all along, "but, I'm a little concerned due process is dying a x-ray induced, cancerous death here", are going to be treated as doctrinaire fanatics who are unwilling to give a little for the common good.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832162)

I think what you're referring to is called an Overton Window

Re:Wait, what? (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831772)

If it was possible to do this in software to begin with, and they knew the images were "controversial" to begin with, why the hell didn't they just do this from the very beginning?

Because it's all about behavioral conditioning, not safety.

Not only that (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832006)

They were not real useful without the software because the idiots operating them didn't know what to look for. A magnetometer is right on par with what a no-training TSA 'tard can deal with: Greed = good, red = bad. It tells them when there's a problem. The mmW scanners didn't do that. They produced an image you had to analyze, which is something they were bad at. At Denver they were sending people through, but then taking them for a pat down because the moron running the thing kept saying he couldn't figure out what he was seeing. It was actually LESS secure than using a normal metal detector.

With this software, they might be useful again. The person running them can see if there's a problem. Still a huge waste of money, but at least now they are a step back in security.

Of course it only works on the mmW ones, not the backscatter X-ray ones.

Here is how it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832566)

why the hell didn't they just do this from the very beginning?
For the public
i) gov/corps set very low standards for new system or update
ii) gov/corps raise standard ever so slightly when people complain, but principle of the search is accepted.
iii) wait a while
iv) goto i)

For corporations it is
i) profit from sales
ii) profit from changes
iii) count profits, buy yacht and say 'buahahaahaaahaaaa' very quietly out of public view
iv) goto i)

Meh. (2)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831456)

It's still the SAME thing. They're still regularly blasting folks with unnecessary radiation. Still misappropriating priorities and funds.

Let's be real - how many planes are going to be coming down with knives and similar now that The Door (tm) is in place? Perhaps I'm grossly misinformed - if so, by all means educate me. But I'd rather see more investments being made in explosive detection [wikipedia.org] .

Heck, there was a story recently about the TSA busting a guy with C4 [tsa.gov] by using an explosive detection device.

Re:Meh. (2)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831812)

Heck, there was a story recently about the TSA busting a guy with C4 [tsa.gov] by using an explosive detection device.

Funnily enough, that story is about the TSA congratulating itself for detecting a small amount of detonatorless explosive (1/2 ounce of C4 in a tobacco tin), in checked luggage. - ie. a non-threat to anyone on the plane.

The really sad thing is that the luggage would have been searched (and the C4 found) not because the explosive itself was detected, but because trace amounts of probably unrelated residue on the outside of the bag were detected. I suspect that 99% of 'trace' detections lead to searches that don't end up finding anything; mainly because there are too many legitimate ways that 'explosive' residue can find its way onto a bag.

Re:Meh. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831888)

No, it's worse. Because they are still misappropriating funds and blasting radiation, and in addition they are wasting funds to build these computer recognition algorithms. More wasted money.

So what, they're still looking at you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831464)

People still look a the naked body scans, they're just not doing it there in front of you any more. Scans are sent somewhere else to be examined. This is a total scam to appease the masses while still doing business as usual.

Then of course you still have all the other issues mentioned in this thread.

Re:So what, they're still looking at you (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831690)

People still look a the naked body scans, they're just not doing it there in front of you any more. Scans are sent somewhere else to be examined. This is a total scam to appease the masses while still doing business as usual.

Then of course you still have all the other issues mentioned in this thread.

The best hope is for the scans to be published on the web.

--

Here's looking at you.

Less Resolution isn't going to help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831478)

The scanners already don't work, making them work less well isn't going to help anything. From the day they rolled out they couldn't detect the one thing they were meant to, (the explosives used by the underpants bomber weren't dense enough to show up in the scans).

It was possible that the scanners could catch something, though, which won't be the case if they lower the resolution. This is taking security theatre and turning it into a Michael Bay action movie, without any pretense of the original premise, (i.e. security).

Its the money really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831482)

It will be interesting to know who gets the contracts to make these scanners and a huge revenue every time they release a new version. It will be surprising to know
1- How much it makes to build these scanners
2-How much government pays for those
3-And how often TSA makes such changes to put new versions into production and use tax payer money
4- Which companies make these scanners and whether they have any known subsidiaries or parent group of companies.

As long as Chertoff is still getting his kickbacks (5, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831530)

Let's be perfectly clear on this, the purpose of these body scanners was NEVER to increase security, it was a gigantic kickback to former homeland security chief Michael Chertoff who received very well documented "consulting" positions with the company that makes those scanners. They are no more secure than competing, less invasive scanners, but the manufacturers of those scanners obviously didn't bribe the right officials.

The Solution (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831556)

Instead of removing the problem, lets spend time (and money?) to add a 'feature' to lessen the problem instead of just shoving those stupid devices off a cliff.

Re:The Solution (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832358)

It did not even lessen the problem. The scanners still take the same image as before, it just gets processed and "masked" before being displayed to the operator. It's the usual "I can't see it so it ain't there" fix.

Should let me run it (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831580)

They should let me run airport security, well have x-rays and bomb sniffing for bags, metal detectors, and bomb sniffing dogs for people. If you're allergic to dogs then, you can go through a bomb sniffing machine. ta da airport secure! No I won't search your laptop/iphone for porn, no I won't cavity search you for drugs. I'm not worried about you breaking the law I'm worried about keeping people safe. So long as you're not carrying any weapons you're fine.

Only in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831596)

Only in the USA could "someone seeing an x-ray of my dick" be considered more serious than having all your communications monitored by the government.

From a frequent traveller. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831604)

I am someone who frequently travels. And by that I mean at least two, and up to 5 flights a week. I've yet to see a full body scanner at any Priority Access/I First Class/Business Class/blah blah line that I travel in. To me, I think it's because they know that this just wouldn't stand for the people who really bankroll the airlines.

To me, even though I benefit from this, this is insane. I should be scanned just like everyone else (albeit in a much shorter line) if it's really about security. But I don't think it's about security. Just like everyone else here, I think it's all about the theater of it all, and they do pretty well at that.

That being said, I accidentally brought through a bottle of water a few weeks ago, and a corkscrew a few weeks before that. I didn't mean to, and meant to leave them at one of the hotels I normally stay at. No idea they were there. I really question the amount of actual security is being provided, given that I waste hours a week (even in priority lanes) waiting at security.

Re:From a frequent traveller. (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831654)

I hate to admit it, but my brother works for the TSA. He regularly slips "stuff" past the screeners. In fact, that's his job. If he approaches another agent, they know they've already screwed up.

Re:From a frequent traveller. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831726)

You don't even need to slip it past the guards - I was in an airport lounge last week and watched one of the staff open a box of chips with a box cutter knife. How hard would it have been for me to swipe it or have someone on the inside to give on to me? Unlike water bottles, box cutters have been used to kill people during a terrorist attack.

Re:From a frequent traveller. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832348)

Terrorists come from poor countries and can only afford economy, don't you watch the news? They also have no kids they could stick their bombs to.

Meanwhile... (2)

evil_aaronm (671521) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831624)

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832096)

Just wait until some idiot terrorist sticks explosives up his backside to avoid the body scanner - then we'll all be getting free enemas too!

Re:Meanwhile... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832340)

And I thought I already get shitty flights now, I don't even want to imagine what it must be like then!

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831648)

Too little too late. I'm not flying until they trash 'em all.

I'm glad I don't live in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831704)

Last time I traveled on a plane I didn't even get a metal detector waved over me. I didn't even have to talk to a person, just scan the barcode on my ticket as I walked through the gate

It's a fakeout (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831714)

It's the same image, they just draw a smiley face on it.

Don't like it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831730)

Don't fly. Take the bus. Drive. Take the train. Stay home.

Want to fly? Then STFU and go through the body scanner. I doubt TSA gets enjoyment out of patting people down or looking at body scan images. It's their job to screen people and keep the flights safe.

For my safety, I don't mind the tiny dose of radiation a couple times a year, some husky dude patting me down, going to the dentist or being screened for colon cancer.

It's a stupid non-issue.

Re:Don't like it? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831770)

Want to fly? Then STFU and go through the body scanner. I doubt TSA gets enjoyment out of patting people down or looking at body scan images. It's their job to screen people and keep the flights safe.

Troll Rating: 3/10.

Re:Don't like it? (2)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831818)

Been on a bus lately? Shit, I'll take my chances with the nukeatron and getting felt up at the airport. At least I have some assurance that my blood will stay in my body by the time I reach my destination.

Re:Don't like it? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832326)

If it actually brought on any security, I'd maybe even consider accepting it.

I dunno if I'm already a terrorist if I just list the ways you could avoid and evade the whole security theater and get pretty much anything but a megaton nuke on board of a plane, so I'll refrain. But if you know at least a hint of airport dealings and how things run at most airports, the whole thing simply disgusts you.

You might FEEL safer. But only if you never worked at an airport and never had to audit airport security (that's where I lost every semblance of a feeling of security). Hell, most of the things are even blatantly obvious to people who fly frequently.

All this talk about security... (1)

cavePrisoner (1184997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831806)

And all I want to know is will I still get a free groping at the airport? It's FREE people. jeez...

This isn't going to stop anytime soon (4, Interesting)

hamburgler007 (1420537) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831828)

It's sad how far down the shitter we are, namely past the point of no return. If the supreme court ruled against these invasive searches, it would stop, but scotus almost always sides with the federal government. If travelers protested by not travelling by air it would stop, but that certainly isn't going to happen. All the budget problems won't stop it, the government would sooner cut education than "defense." It's not realistic to see a genuine concerted effort by the majority of the public to stop this. Sure there are stories that infuriate the populace from time to time, but generally speaking those stories are quickly forgotten, with the occasional token legislation to treat a symptom of the disease, but not the disease itself. Say what you will about the tea party (I find most of their ideals reprehensible), but they are the only party for a long time who have motivated private citizens to become politically active. While I may not agree with the legislation they try to push through, I have a great deal of respect for them, in that they actively get involved with flaws they perceive in the government rather than grumble about standing in line to get scanned or the latest TSA faux pas.

The ACLU has applauded the changes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36831830)

The only thing the TSA can ever do to gain my applause is to disband.

Re:The ACLU has applauded the changes... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832298)

They could do a lot to get my applause. Most of all, stop the whole security theater and either step down or start doing something that actually has an effect on security.

What bugs me most is that scanning, patting and anal probing is not universal. Either do it on everyone or forget about it altogether. The whole thing has so many holes that it's simply not funny what hoops I have to jump through to get into airport, let alone on a plane, while knowing exactly that it's all pointless and just a hassle and nuisance without any benefit.

TSA, a risk factor (5, Interesting)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36831840)

I heard that Al Qaeda was going to use rogue TSA agents to smuggle explosives into the secure areas of the airports.

The only way to be sure is to perform a cavity check on each and every TSA agent when they arrive for work, every day they show up.

Spread the word about this risk.

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We're still raping you ... (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832030)

... but we take care to not go all the way in!

Re:We're still raping you ... (1)

Ghengis Khak (1967518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832278)

I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.

With your taxes you also buy body scanners that irradiate and invade your neighbors. Good work there.

Re:We're still raping you ... (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832408)

My taxes buy a good deal of things, and most of them are nice to have. If your solution to body scanners is not paying taxes, then may I suggest seeking citizenship of Somalia?

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Getting cancer from scans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832214)

Increased cancer risk is a small price to pay for false security.

Epic fail! (1)

Wildmuffin (2395384) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832242)

The first generation of scanners was crap. Even if you came down from your hermit cottage for the first time in years, and watched a scan of a person of the opposite (?) sex, it would definatly NOT give you a boner, therefor NOT making it in any way invasive or controversial. Making the second generation scanners even less revealing is just a slap in the face! Airport staff need some sort of excitement in their daily work..

This time they're telling the truth (1)

Ghengis Khak (1967518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832258)

The TSA has repeatedly [thehealthrebel.com] lied [unicornbooty.com] about [prisonplanet.com] these [naturalnews.com] scanners [boingboing.net] in the past, why should they be believed now?

Yeah, great, great... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36832268)

But are we still at security theater or are we now patting and scanning everyone? Last I heard is that kids don't get scanned (ok, I can see why they shouldn't be patted...). And while I understand the argument, the whole thing is rendered pointless if that's the practice: If you don't test everyone, you can just as well not test anyone. Security is the security of the weakest link, and if I can stick my bomb to little Ali to get it on board, I'll do just that if I'm enough of a lunatic to accept blowing myself up as a really good idea. Ali's gonna be a hero and beloved of whatever deity I abuse for the whole shit.

Re:Yeah, great, great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36832496)

Actually, the TSA does hold kids down and abuse them. There are videos of 3-year-olds screaming "NO!" as the TSA thug molests them.

http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-11-17/entertainment/27081483_1_tsa-security-pat-down-full-body-scanner

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