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TSA (Finally) Studying Health Effects of Body Scanners 225

Posted by timothy
from the different-kind-of-transparency dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A 2011 ProPublica series found that the TSA had glossed over the small cancer risk posed by its X-ray body scanners at airports across the country. While countries in Europe have long prohibited the scanners, the TSA is just now getting around to studying the health effects." I'm not worried; the posters and recorded announcements at the airport say these scanners raise no health concerns.
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TSA (Finally) Studying Health Effects of Body Scanners

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  • by InvisibleClergy (1430277) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @12:42PM (#42326575)

    The real issue with these was never the health effects. That was just an extra thing that privacy advocates tossed in there to lend additional weight to their arguments. The primary argument against these things is the fact that they are a violation of privacy. Arguing the health issue just weakens objections, when it gets defeated.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @12:49PM (#42326663)

    I can't speak for everyone, but personally I value my lack of cancer more than I do my privacy.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @12:53PM (#42326717) Homepage

    Well, that's OK then. So long as YOU don't care, neither should anybody else.

    The rape victims, the sexually assaulted, the people with any sort of problem should just get over it, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @12:53PM (#42326719)

    Hate to rain on your parade, but nuclear radiation is a completely different thing from electromagnetic radiation. They happen to both have the word "radiation" in them, but they're really not the same thing.

  • Re:Let me guess (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @12:55PM (#42326751) Homepage

    Says who? Do you have hard info on this type of radiation?

    If the machines only give one person in 100 million cancer, they're still more dangerous then the terrorism they're supposed to be preventing.

    (Which they aren't...terrorists can put the C4 up their asses...)

  • by BrendaEM (871664) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @12:57PM (#42326777) Homepage

    These scanners should have to go through the same FDA approval process as any medical device. People are putting their kids in there.
    If the odds of getting cancer from the scanners in their lifetime is 1: 1,000,000 then 1.5 people will get cancer from them--every day!

    We cannot suspend our judgement just because there are terrorists in the world and money to be made.

  • Re:Let me guess (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @01:02PM (#42326833)

    Says who? Do you have hard info on this type of radiation?

    GP is suggesting that the TSA study will back up whatever the TSA wants it to. Almost as if it's a foregone conclusion. Almost like they're gonna deliberately fudge the results. See?

  • by cellocgw (617879) <cellocgw&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @01:07PM (#42326887) Journal

    Forget whether or not there are scanners. The real issue is whether or not there should be a TSA at all. There's no evidence that the $BIGNUM dollars spent has done anything whatsoever to stop or dissuade terrorist in-flight attacks.
    I'd suggest to the libertarians, Repubs, and other "personal liberty small government invisible hand of capitalism" folks that airline security should be the responsibility of the airlines themselves. I'd choose a "walk-on no problem" vendor over a "scan, remove your clothes, and provide a blood sample" vendor every time.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @01:10PM (#42326931)

    It's more than that. It's a blatant violation of the 4th Amendment. They have no good reason to search so invasively each and every person in this country who flies. There's no basis for them to believe that every person is a possible terrorist. It's just a blatant, idiotic expansion of powers and a jobs program for the terminally unemployable so jackasses can stand behind the metal detectors and look like they're important.

    The TSA has accomplished precisely shit in the entirety of its existence. It's successfully engaged in mission creep as it starts doing things for the DEA and whatnot, and managed to violate the dignity of a growing number of people. I have no respect for anyone that works for the TSA, on both a professional and personal level.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @01:40PM (#42327381) Homepage

    Don't you think you should care about both of those things even if one of them doesn't particularly bother YOU, personally?

  • by loneDreamer (1502073) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @02:58PM (#42328411)

    The medical danger should be a concern to everyone, but evidence suggests that the danger is negligible (though possibly nonzero).

    But, ironically, bigger than the terrorism risk it's designed to prevent. Apart from the rest of your opinion, which I share, it also feels incredibly stupid to spend trucks of money to actually INCREASE my risk, especially given the economic circumstances and alternatives.

    And I'm not even considering that how efficient the scanners are in preventing the terrorism risk in general, which I deem next to zero too. So all things considered, you spend a lot, hazzle and disrespect people considerably, step over privacy rights, don't prevent much and end up adding a new, bigger risk. Fucking brilliant!

  • by loneDreamer (1502073) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:45PM (#42329087)
    I did find this talk some time ago: http://www.ted.com/talks/marc_goodman_a_vision_of_crimes_in_the_future.html [ted.com]. It's interesting in noticing that security is almost impossible as damaging is much easier than preventing damage. The problem with terrorist is that little can actually be done to stop it. As it was recently proved, a single person with a gun can shock the world. Do that 10 times in random locations and see what happens... hell, I can think of many ways to create terror myself, without trying much.

    I read somewhere that one of Bin Laden's objectives was to make the US spend 1 millon for each dolar that they spent. It is guerrilla warfare, it's all they've got, and they have been extremely successful at it. The values and way of life the US people were so proud about are gone. The millions were spent and continue to be. Sadly, the root of the issue it that, bared some reasonable efforts, the only way to fight terror is by enduring it and not being scared. Luckily, very few people are actually determined to do real damage and cause pain.
  • TSA & Gun Control (Score:5, Insightful)

    by assertation (1255714) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @05:04PM (#42330169)

    One guy, over 10 years ago, makes a failed shoe bombing attempt so the Republicans make all of us take off our shoes whenever we get on an airplane.

    One guy successfully guns down almost all 30 people and they will not pass one law regulating guns.

  • by radtea (464814) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @05:12PM (#42330265)

    The problem with terrorist is that little can actually be done to stop it.

    The much, much bigger problem is that there are a small number of people who are getting very rich selling the illusion that they can do something to stop it. If it wasn't for the opportunities to funnel money into the pockets of unproductive generators of dead-weight losses in the security/industrial complex terrorism would simply be a minor nuisance, akin to traffic accidents.

    It is the quislings who make terrorism so problematic.

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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