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TSA Terminates Its Contract With Maker of Full-Body Scanner 268

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-to-go dept.
McGruber writes "The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has ended a contract with Rapiscan, a unit of OSI Systems Inc., manufacturer of about half of all of the controversial full-body scanners used on air passengers. TSA officials claim that Rapiscan failed to deliver software that would protect the privacy of passengers, but the contract termination happened immediately after the TSA finally got around to studying the health effects of the scanners, and Congress had a hearing on TSA's 'Scanner Shuffle'."
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TSA Terminates Its Contract With Maker of Full-Body Scanner

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  • Just another day. (Score:2, Informative)

    by vinehair (1937606) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:17AM (#42624759)
    It's a shame that nothing will really change despite having this validate almost everything that was ever said by the anti-crowd against these things. Health and privacy concerns, a nice double-whammy. I was tempted to skip these the last time I flew, but I'm a Brit and I was trying to get into the USA, and I was already having trouble with people not believing my passport photograph (oh no, new hair styles, you're a different person!!!) and I think I would have just gotten immense grief from security if I'd have asked for the extended groping session. Plus, my balls are for my fiancée only.
  • Re:alpha test? (Score:5, Informative)

    by lorenlal (164133) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:20AM (#42624771)

    Because Chertoff was the principal lobbyist for Rapiscan was a former DHS head. They were able to just get the contract in without any sort of vetting. It's one of the more shameful episodes in shady government contracts, except those involved seem immune to shame.

  • by ahecht (567934) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:49AM (#42624919) Homepage

    From the TFA:

    "The TSA plans to remove 174 Rapiscan machines from U.S. airports, with the company absorbing the cost, according to TSA officials. The machines will be replaced by L-3 scanners."

    It's not like the scanners are going away. They're just replacing the backscatter X-Ray scanners from Rapiscan with the millimeter radio-wave scanners from L-3 Communications.

  • Re:alpha test? (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:52AM (#42624937)

    Chertoff Group, which he founded represents scanner makers. They are a security consulting group that sells the things as well. How does that not look like a revolving door?

    Personally I would prefer something that did not use ionizing radiation or waste everyone's time. If that means going back to metal detectors that would be fine.

  • Re:Just another day. (Score:3, Informative)

    by isorox (205688) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:01AM (#42624985) Homepage Journal

    It's a shame that nothing will really change despite having this validate almost everything that was ever said by the anti-crowd against these things. Health and privacy concerns, a nice double-whammy.

    I was tempted to skip these the last time I flew, but I'm a Brit and I was trying to get into the USA, and I was already having trouble with people not believing my passport photograph (oh no, new hair styles, you're a different person!!!) and I think I would have just gotten immense grief from security if I'd have asked for the extended groping session. Plus, my balls are for my fiancée only.

    There are no scanners on the way into the U.S. You were either in the U.S. leaving (or an internal flight), or you encountered the scanner in the UK.

    In the UK you are not allowed to opt-out from these scanners. You don't go through, you don't fly.

    The same happens in Russia and Israel

  • Re:alpha test? (Score:3, Informative)

    by blueg3 (192743) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:12AM (#42625099)

    The health effects were actually a key design criterion for the original product. Hell, they were a key criterion in the research that preceded the development of the product. In the patent (which is pretty readable for a patent), they work through the math for figuring out resolution and sensitivity given a maximum total dose, where the maximum total dose is limited to a well-accepted definition of "negligible".

    It's not actually something you can test. You can test the emitted dosage, sure, but I guarantee you they did that. (Many times and by multiple different agencies, eventually.) You can't test the health effects directly because they're too infrequent. Even if you spent ages exposing thousands of people to the scans, the number of cancers caused by the machines is much lower than the random variability in the number of cancers gotten through other means in your test population.

  • Re:Just another day. (Score:4, Informative)

    by vinehair (1937606) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:17AM (#42625137)

    There are no scanners on the way into the U.S. You were either in the U.S. leaving (or an internal flight), or you encountered the scanner in the UK.

    Didn't know Schipol, Amsterdam was really in the U.S.A. That's some good-ass weed, right there.

    No, seriously, they had them and they had people choosing not to use them, but the representatives just prior to that had refused to believe my passport photo and my drivers license photo, so I wasn't going to press it.

  • Re:alpha test? (Score:5, Informative)

    by lorenlal (164133) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:56AM (#42625417)

    Huffington Post? Try Washington Post, oh and he disclosed it on CNN.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123102821.html [washingtonpost.com]

  • by xenoc_1 (140817) on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:49AM (#42625829)

    There are scanners and TSA upon arrival at many USA airports. If you got out of your basement and traveled the world you would see them at SEA (Seattle-Taccoma International), MEM (Memphis International), and at least up until a year or so ago, at ATL (Atlanta International). In those and likely some others, US Customs (which happens after US Immigration) exits into the airside "sterile" section of the airport, not "landside". So in order to arrive in the USA and exit the airport, yes, you do have to clear through TSA. I've flown into the USA into all three airports internationally and have had to go through TSA to get out.

    More common in US airport layout is where the US ICE section exits to the outside, or to the main concourse, such as Boston Logan Terminal E, Denver International, the TBIT terminal at LAX, the various terminals at JFK, O'Hare International in Chicago, etc. But not all.

    BTW there are no X-Ray whole-body scanners in Amsterdam, as the EU doesn't allow them [forbes.com]. What there is at AMS is at-gate security of the typical x-ray carryon bag scanner, before you are able to enter the actual departure lounge area. Plus if flying out of AMS on a USA-based airline, a contract employee asking you the stupid questions that they stopped asking in the USA 10 years ago. "Who packed your bag?", etc.

    vinehair could have hit scanners and the TSA full monty in the USA. If flying out of AMS to the USA, there is a high likelihood he was on either Delta or KLM, a Delta hub because of the old KLM-Northwest joint venture, and two of the AMS-US likely routes are into either MEM or ATL. With SEA also a possibility; I think KL still flies that.

  • Re:pronounciation (Score:2, Informative)

    by reboot246 (623534) on Friday January 18, 2013 @01:17PM (#42626587) Homepage
    Sorry, but it is "pronunciation". It's how you pronounce words. Look it up if you know how, doofus.
  • Re:alpha test? (Score:4, Informative)

    by jafac (1449) on Friday January 18, 2013 @03:13PM (#42627921) Homepage

    uh - no.
    This is FoxNews fantasy.
    The way the USSR was brought down was:
    Their party mukity-muks were getting rich off of illegally selling Soviet oil on the black market, and rigging prices by manipulating OPEC. (1970's).
    The US did the same with KSA, getting them to open the spigots; (by playing Iraq and Iran off of each-other, dating back to 1953, and Operation AJAX - and keeping KSA, UAE, and Kuwait, terrified that Iraq was going to come in and invade them and take over. . . as long as the US protected KSA, UAE, Kuwait - they did our bidding).
    So when KSA opened up oil production in the 1980's, oil prices collapsed, Soviet revenues collapsed, and their economy collapsed. The problem of how to pay their massive army while they were engaged in the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan, and operations in Chechnya, became a practical issue, and elements began to desert (and rebel).

    This is what caused the USSR to fail.

    Those same corrupt party members who were privately profitting off of selling Soviet oil? They became the heads of the privatized oil industry in the 1990's. Some of them actually went to jail; (but this was the result of political infighting, not actual law enforcement - the LOSERS went to jail). The winners - well some of them went on to con Iceland into privatizing their national banking system in the 2000's. They walked away with billions, and Iceland's economy collapsed. Julian Assange has information to expose these guys; but guess what happened to Julian Assange?

I've got a bad feeling about this.

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