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Privacy Government Security Transportation United States Your Rights Online

Homeland Security: New Body Scanners Have Issues 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the many-tax-dollars-were-spent-to-reach-this-conclusion dept.
Fluffeh writes "Although the DHS has spent around $90 million upgrading magnetometers to the new body scanners, federal investigators 'identified vulnerabilities in the screening process' at domestic airports using the new machines, according to a classified internal Department of Homeland Security report. Exactly how bad the body scanners are is not being divulged publicly, but the Inspector General's report (PDF) made eight separate recommendations on how to improve screening. To quiet privacy concerns, the authorities are also spending $7 million to 'remove the human factor from the image review process' and replace the passenger's image with an avatar."
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Homeland Security: New Body Scanners Have Issues

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  • Another DHS Fail (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:19AM (#39939885)

    This is getting to the point of ridiculousness due to the another article bringing up issues with the body scanners. The public really needs to send letters and sign petitions in mass to get rid of this expensive cancer causing paper weights.

  • Re:Not perfect???? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tx (96709) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:21AM (#39939905) Journal

    When the imperfection means you can casually walk onto a plane with a pocketful of 12 inch blades [cnet.com], then it's worth taking a bit of notice.

  • Human Factor (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:22AM (#39939907)

    When they said they were removing the "human factor" I assumed that meant they were removing the TSA agents looking at the images and replacing it with some kind of image analysis software... not slapping the equivalent of a black bar over the naughty bits.

    Also, I'm surprised they only estimate it to cost $7 mil... seems like it's not enough for sufficient profits even with the inevitable budget overruns.

  • Re:Not perfect???? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:31AM (#39939973)

    The thing is we don't know how imperfect it is. Considering these machines allegedly broke a medical device in recent news. Considering that U.S. citizens are being made to go through humiliating procedures that these machines are a part of and may or may not work well? "Exactly how bad the body scanners are is not being divulged publicly" is a big thing.

    Also $90 million? That is $90 million less towards the debt. That is $90 million that could be towards STEM promotion in education. That is $90 million that is money that could have been used as an incentive or subsidy to get businesses to hire more employees (if you believe in trickle down) or applied to the people directly (if you believe in trickle up). That $90 million could pay ~5500 people to work for one year at minimum wage.

    Whether you think it could go elsewhere or no where, why spend it on a program that isn't working? That's just direct cost anyways.

    Think about how many people fly. Let's make this easier, how many people fly for business. How much time is wasted going through this extra security that may or may not be working to suitable levels. Multiple that extra time by their salaries. That is another economic hit.

  • by bmo (77928) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:43AM (#39940081)

    ... along the lines of "if they did this avatar thing from the beginning the TSA maybe would have only earned half the animosity they deserve" and go on about how sometimes focus groups actually work that might bring out, you know, glaring errors in design.

    But you know what? That doesn't fucking matter. What matters is that the American Public is crisis fatigued out. I am crisis fatigued. I turned on the news yesterday to find out that we discovered another underwear bomber and that the design was "sophisticated" and a dog and pony show was trotted out on the Today show by the fucking CIA.

    I want you, every one of you, to ask yourselves, when was the last time the CIA did intelligence press releases? It's like science by press release - you get bogus shit like cold fusion because what it's really about is someone trying to stoke his budget.

    And that's what it's all about. It's just corporate welfare and agency empire building, marketed through fear. On a societal level I can't think of anything more evil except waging war through bogus excuses all the way from the Gulf of Tonkin to GWB's "weapons of mass destruction" bullshit.

    And we're going to shovel good money after bad because so many honest, hard working people are just trying to get through life without increasing the rage factor and generating more heart disease worrying about shit like this.

    Jeg opgiv.

    I am so disheartened.



    About sophistication:

    The fucking Soviet Union of the 1980s could launch nuclear tipped missiles and have them explode over a US city with an accuracy of a couple of feet and this was entirely credible. Comparing the war on terror enemies to the enemy of the Cold War, I do not find any fucking sophistication. Yesterday's announcement of more underwear bombs paired with the word "sophisticated" made me want to scream. What an abuse of language. What fucking Newspeak. What fucking doublethink.

  • Re:Avatar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RivenAleem (1590553) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:45AM (#39940101)

    No, only one avatar is available.

    It is decidedly suitable [kym-cdn.com].

  • by Extremus (1043274) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:48AM (#39940129)

    I never quite understood this privacy thing. What is the problem of someone watching a shadow image of your genitalia? Even if some agent chuckle a bit at your not-so-male panties or broccoli-shaped penis, what is the matter? Probably this sort of thing gets boring after some days having to look at this machine...

  • Re:Not perfect???? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:54AM (#39940191)

    Why? What's he going to do with them that he couldn't do on the ground?

    You can't hijack a plane and crash it into a building anymore. That shit stopped working before 9/11 was even over. Why should I give a fuck if another passenger has a pocketknife? I don't care if they have a pocketknife on a bus, do I?

  • Re:Not perfect???? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Theophany (2519296) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:56AM (#39940215)
    You forgot

    3) treats small children and little old ladies like terrorism suspects because their 15 minute training video neglected to mention that their standard issue plastic badge and 12-pack of Krispy Kremes are not substitutes for common sense.
  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @07:59AM (#39940241)

    My point was that the principle of searching travelers without probable cause is far more offensive than being viewed naked.

    That said, there is no reason to believe it's just one pervert viewing your naked picture (or the naked picture of your kids). The scanners capture digital images which can be easily stored or transmitted in several ways, the most obvious of which is pointing a smart phone's camera at the monitor.

  • Re:Not perfect???? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @08:24AM (#39940519) Homepage

    2) deter all but the most determined and clever enough terrorists ...

    There's nothing particularly clever about beating security - the C4 goes in the same body cavities as people use every day to get drugs and cellphones into prisons.

    Or if you prefer liquid explosives, just get several people with permitted-size bottles of liquid to go through and combine the liquid in a bigger bottle (or plastic bag) on the other side.

    Or...any of many other obvious ways to do it.

    As for determination...they're religious whacko suicide bombers. Enough said?

    (All this assumes that terrorists are magically impotent if they can't get through Airport security, which is laughable...just bomb the queues for the scanners)

  • by kilfarsnar (561956) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @08:41AM (#39940669)

    I turned on the news yesterday to find out that we discovered another underwear bomber and that the design was "sophisticated" and a dog and pony show was trotted out on the Today show by the fucking CIA.

    I want you, every one of you, to ask yourselves, when was the last time the CIA did intelligence press releases?

    This alone tells you that it's bullshit. Does anyone expect the CIA to play it straight? These guys invented "cannot confirm or deny", so when they confirm on national TV, you know it serves an agenda. Good post!

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @08:42AM (#39940673) Homepage

    Probably this sort of thing gets boring after some days having to look at this machine...

    Why don't you ask the hot girls who have to go back and forth through the scanners [cbslocal.com] while they call a few more people over to have a look, "just to be sure".

    Or the pedophiles [google.com] who've been arrested while in the employ of the TSA.

    Just because you don't mind, or you think you'd get bored, doesn't mean everybody else feels the same.

  • Re:Not perfect???? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekmux (1040042) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @08:57AM (#39940859)

    Right, because radicalized old ladies would never blow up a plane: they have too much to live for.

    If you truly feel that "radicalized old ladies" are that much of a threat to our society, then please come forth with your blue-haired statistics before Congress.

    Toss something in there about why we won't "think of the children", and you'll have a nice one-two whammy to hit common sense with.

  • by Extremus (1043274) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @08:58AM (#39940883)

    Cases of abuse have to be dealt with disciplinary actions, as with any other area of society. In any case, I doubt they are widespread. Also, pedophiles exist everywhere. For instance, there are numerous cases of pedophile teachers; but I doubt you feel uncomfortable to send your kids to the school.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe