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DHS Eyes Covert Body Scans 386

Posted by timothy
from the oh-do-they-ever dept.
CWmike writes "Documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) suggest that the US Department of Homeland Security has signed contracts for the development of mobile and static systems that can be used scan pedestrians and people at rail and bus stations and special event venues — apparently at times without their knowledge. Under consideration: An Intelligent Pedestrian Surveillance platform; an X-Ray Backscatter system that could detect concealed metallic and high-density plastic objects on people from up to 10 meters away; a walk-through x-ray screening system that could be deployed at entrances to special events or other points of interest, which could be installed in corridors and likely scan people walking through it without them knowing it, EPIC said."
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DHS Eyes Covert Body Scans

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  • by DJ Particle (1442247) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @05:14PM (#35373286) Homepage
    That was how the recent Moscow bombing happened. The terrorist in that case simply got into the security queue and blew *that* up. -.-

    There is no way to be 100% safe. People somewhere forgot that freedom means being willing to take the risks associated with it.
  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @06:02PM (#35373914)
    Sorry, that has nothing to do with flying and everything to do with crossing the border into the country. The article you linked to is about Customs seizing and inspecting laptops. The idea that the Fourth Amendment does not apply at Customs goes back to when the Framers of the Constitution were still running the country.
    We really need to improve education in this country. Seizing and inspecting laptops is not a new invasion of privacy. It is just that we carry more information about ourselves and our business on a laptop then people traditionally did when most information was on paper.
  • by jeko (179919) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @06:05PM (#35373946)

    The American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society of North America [radiologyinfo.org] have already expressed concerns about the levels of radiation given to patients in the normal course of medical practice. They've already recommended limiting scans [radiologyinfo.org] to cases where absolutely necessary, where you can justifiably state "getting this scan is worth increasing the odds my patient will get cancer."

    Of course, the reality is worse. Dr David Brenner, head of Columbia University's Center for Radiological Research is reporting the machines are likely to routinely emit 20 times the radiation reported in the spec and are flat out a major public health risk. Dr. John Sedat, Professor of BioChemistry and Biophysics at the University of California San Francisco and a member of the National Academy of Sciences sent a letter to the White House with the following:

    “it appears that real independent safety data do not exist There has not been sufficient review of the intermediate and long-term effects of radiation exposure associated with airport scanners. There is good reason to believe that these scanners will increase the risk of cancer to children and other vulnerable populations.”

    By the TSA's own numbers, which are undoubtedly low, they calculate more people will die from the eventual cancers than have been killed by all the terrorist acts in the world put together.

    OK, so that's one side of the argument. What does the DHS have to say? Where are the medical professionals willing to certify these machines as safe?

    Turns out, there aren't any. No medical professional of any kind has yet been willing to sign their name in public stating that these machines are safe. The only people saying so are the vendors who won the contract, and even they refuse to state unequivacably that the machines are safe, falling back instead on "We've built the machine to your spec and they should perform as ordered."

    No one, not even the maker of the machines, is willing to certify them as safe.

  • by scorp1us (235526) on Thursday March 03, 2011 @06:16PM (#35374090) Journal

    Mod parent up.

    As someone who worked in medical imaging, I'll add there is no documentation of what exposure you are getting, when you got it, etc. At least in a hospital, they make sure they don't X-ray you too much.

    TSA does not have your health in mind, else these scanners would be FDA approved. Unlike a hospital which would get sued into oblivion if they ever used something not FDA approved.

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