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TSA Body Scanners To Show Less Revealing Images 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 Body Scanners To Show Less Revealing Images

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  • Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Boogaroo ( 604901 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @11:43PM (#36831422) Homepage

    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.

  • by gstrickler ( 920733 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @11:43PM (#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.

  • USA USA USA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cosm ( 1072588 ) <thecosm3@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @11:45PM (#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.
  • Re:Does it matter? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ModernGeek ( 601932 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @11:55PM (#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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blindseer ( 891256 ) <`blindseer' `at' `'> on Thursday July 21, 2011 @12:23AM (#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.

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @01:04AM (#36831790) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @01:16AM (#36831836)


    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:Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @02:01AM (#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.

  • Re:Does it matter? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @08:58AM (#36833582)

    In any case, it is radiation and can cause cancer.

    No, its microwave radiation [] (not even that!), and noone has ever shown a conclusive or even likely link to show that it causes cancer. From the wiki article on it...

    The terahertz region is between the radio frequency region and the optical region generally associated with limits are based on extrapolation.... It is expected that effects on tissues are thermal in nature and, therefore, predictable by conventional thermal models.

    In otherwords, there really isnt any credible "it causes cancer" hypothesis out there based on where it lies on the electromagnetic spectrum.

    Please stop spouting nonsense, every time one of these TSA Millimeter wave discussions comes up someone inevitably spouts nonsense about cancer.

Trap full -- please empty.