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Homeland Security: New Body Scanners Have Issues 181

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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  • Re:Devil's Advocate (Score:4, Informative)

    by thegreatemu ( 1457577 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @10:14AM (#39941001)

    As most of you probably know, the "new scanner" operates at the THz range

    If only that were universally true. The THz or millimeter wave scanners are in use in some airports, and I have no problem going through them, although sometimes I opt out out of patriotic duty to make life difficult for TSA.

    The problem is that most US airports in fact have the x-ray backscatter scanners. Now, I know that if the device is operating within it's design parameters, the dose you get from it is significantly less than the one you get from actually flying. But even before you start to include factors like a) the dose is concentrated all in the outer skin layers b) it's being operated by a high school dropout, the design dose is NOT ZERO. When you have two technologies, one of which uses ionizing radiation and one which doesn't, yet they accomplish the same goal, why in all the hells would you choose to subject everyone to ioniziing radiation?

  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:58AM (#39942333)

    The airport in Bozeman, Montana did at least.

    The screen shows just a generic outline with a highlighted area of where something was detected.

    However, this doesn't end the privacy concerns. The device still has a full-res picture (visualization) in it, it just doesn't put it on the screen. And I don't believe for a minute that the device doesn't store the picture despite what they say. If I were designing the system, I'd store the picture at least for a couple days.

    What happens if they are doing testing where they try to sneak weapons on board and they make it on? You would want the data so it can be analyzed after the fact to see why the system didn't detect them. What happens if a plane blows up? You would want to look at the images to see if the software missed a carried device.

    There's no way you'd just throw the data away, it really harms your capability to improve the system over time.

    So I still have privacy concerns.

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