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Government Privacy Security Transportation United States Politics

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

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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  • reasons (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:24AM (#42624789) Homepage Journal

    I wish I were optimistic enough to believe that this change had something to do with safety or people's rights.

    My guess is that the right people made enough money or the right favors were repaid and now it's time to move on to making someone else richer.

  • by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:01AM (#42624993)

    I flew for the first time in a while a couple of months ago and gave it a try. The line was shorter and if they want to go blind seeing me nekkid then so be it, and I doubt one time would mean much with the health concerns (frequent flyers another story).

    I'd gone to the airport prepped accordingly and took of my slip-on shoes, my thinner belt, emptied my pockets entirely... ready to just go through quickly.

    STILL... they had to pat me and a bunch of people down.

    W T H I thought the whole point of this thing was to go through quicker AND not have to be man-handled!?

  • by Comboman ( 895500 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:12AM (#42625097)

    Why wasn't this determined during the test and acceptance phase for this product.

    It was. You, me and millions of others have been alpha testing this product for years. Now, bend over and get ready the beta testing phase.

  • Re:alpha test? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:20AM (#42625161)

    What's "this"?

    The health effects were well-studied long before they even tried to sell them to the government. They did ensure the health effects were acceptably small, but nobody believes them, because it combines the TSA and radiation. One is always scary and the other is always incompetent (only one of the two deserve the label), and so the combination can't possibly be good.

    You say you work for the government -- do you really think that "we're agreeing to study the health effects (again)" turned into cancelling their contract in less than a month *and* they dug up an excuse?

    As far as the stated reason for cancelling the contract -- which is probably really the reason -- without additional information, I'm going to assume incompetence over malice. They probably simply did not realize that people would view it as such a big privacy problem. Surely the engineers didn't -- it's easy to get blinded into thinking your product has no flaws. I don't know about the government folks, but it can be hard to resist flashy new technology that will Totally Stop The Terrorists(tm).

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

    by Zemran ( 3101 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:39AM (#42625285) Homepage Journal

    I think the real irony is that if you want to blow up a plane you need to use the tried and tested methods as they are the only ones that we do not protect against. No one has ever blown up a plane with a bottle of water, it was theoretical, but you cannot take a bottle of water onto a plane. Most planes were blown up with bombs made to look like ordinary objects. The bomb that blew up the plane over Lockerbie was made to look like a radio and the explosives were disguised as batteries, this would still work today as no one stops you from having a radio in your suitcase in the hold.

    The security theatre has only served to frighten the people into letting our rulers do as they wish. The lack of real terrorist events is because no one is really trying to kill us. If a group started up today with the brains of the IRA we would be just as screwed today as we were back then. Although most of their success was due to American help which might not be as easy to get today.

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

    by Agent0013 ( 828350 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:39AM (#42625737) Journal

    It's almost to the point where the terrorists don't need to actually pull off an attack. They just release "chatter" about an attack and watch the West scurry around.

    It's pretty close to how the U.S. brought down our big enemy during the cold war, U.S.S.R. We made these big plans about Star Wars, and having satellites that would be able to shoot down any missile. Our side was mostly talk. On their side they spend enormous amounts of money trying to keep up with what they thought we were doing. Our president actually hired science fiction writers to come up with some of these fantastic ideas that sounded plausible and expensive. If the terrorists figure this out they can just up the chatter until we spend ourselves into bankruptcy and fall like Rome. Then the terrorists win.

  • Re:pronounciation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @01:11PM (#42626535) Homepage Journal
    The last few times I've gone through security, and they tried to move me to the scanner rather than just the simple metal detector, I asked for a manual pat down.

    Every time I have asked for this, the guard I asked said "Oh, but there's no radiation on these scanners", and I still insisted.

    I try these days to make sure to get there in plenty enough time (1.5 hours before flight leaves) to request manual pat down, if more people would do it...they'd start seeing they have a problem maybe.

APL hackers do it in the quad.