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TSA Accepting Public Comments On Whole Body Airport Screening 223

New submitter trims writes "The TSA is now in the public comment stage of its project to roll out Advanced Imaging Technology (i.e. full-body X-ray) scanners. The TSA wants your feedback as to whether or not this project should be continued or cancelled. Now is your chance to tell the TSA that this is a huge porkbarrel project and nothing more than Security Theater. You can comment at http:/// and reference the docket ID TSA-2013-0004." Note: the backscatter X-ray machines are being phased out, in favor of millimeter-wave systems; the linked documents give the government's side of the story when it comes to efficacy, safety, privacy, and worth. The comment period runs until June 24.
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TSA Accepting Public Comments On Whole Body Airport Screening

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  • Yes but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:16PM (#43507439)
    Will it detect a pressure cooker?
    • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @12:35AM (#43507709)

      Will it detect a pressure cooker?

      If you swallow it, no.

    • Is that a pressure cooker or are you just looking forward to participating in our voluntary pat-down?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:19PM (#43507449)

    Years of delays, violating a court other many wondered what the heck was up with the TSA delaying this public comment.

    Now it's clear: They were waiting for a terrorist attack.

    • by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:57PM (#43507569)
      Homegrown Terrorist attack.
      But I will still not give up my liberty for my security. I will die for my Freedom and rights, including being a victim of an attack.
      Unfortunately, I am not the only one in this country... so I must yield to societies decision.
      • But I will still not give up my liberty for my security. I will die for my Freedom and rights, including being a victim of an attack.
        Unfortunately, I am not the only one in this country... so I must yield to societies decision.

        Now you're jumping to conclusions, and ignoring the obvious solution.
        Do you think it a futile endeavor to convince society to make the right decisions by sharing your mind with others?
        Have you no drive to become everyone in the society? This is why you will be assimilated: As predicted, your resistance is futile.

        • by flyneye ( 84093 )

          "Have you no drive to become everyone in the society?"

          Hell, NO! Do you realize how many out there don't brush their teeth, change their underwear daily and do pick their nose and eat it?
          Recant that silly statement NOW!

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by erroneus ( 253617 )

        Liberty has NEVER been something you "give up." You can't give it up while the next person keeps his. It is something everyone has or no one has. So to correct your statement, your liberty is being TAKEN with apologies and excuses given. So what you're saying is you're not accepting of their apologies or excuses. What follows is what you plan to DO about your liberties being taken.

        It's probably already too late for me to secure firearms -- I don't have any now but I might be attending the next gun show

      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        Unfortunately, I am not the only one in this country... so I must yield to societies decision.

        What's the reason? Society can and does make bad decisions all the time which aren't respected by the members of that society. There's plenty of law is that is more honored in the breach (and sometimes more honorable to do so - such as US abolitionists refusing to turn in runaway slaves in the mid 19th century).

        I think it's a poor excuse myself.

    • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ayertim]> on Sunday April 21, 2013 @12:23AM (#43507671)

      Years of delays, violating a court other many wondered what the heck was up with the TSA delaying this public comment.

      Now it's clear: They were waiting for a terrorist attack.

      Give them some credit.
      They may also be looking for reasons to phase out millimeter-wave systems for super-duper-wave systems. These machines cost $250K/pop and don't do shit to detect anything. The contractors who made the first batch and then the replacement batch must be salivating already.

      Where do I sign up to deliver machines without any quality control? I can do it much cheaper.

      • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @01:23AM (#43507863) Homepage Journal

        I can deliver witching sticks for less than ten dollars each. THEN, I can train agents to use those sticks for less than a hundred dollars each!

        Or, if you prefer, I can supply magic wands, with or without pixie dust, for less than fifty dollars each. I don't offer training for magic wands though - it will be the government's responsibility to locate and/or train qualified wizards.

        • These machines at least can give terrorists cancer, witching sticks are not even good at beating someone. You don't want terrorists to have cancer?

        • by gutnor ( 872759 )
          You are a lousy business man, you are destroying the market for the good, honest to God, snake oil vendors.
      • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @01:52AM (#43507969)

        Where do I sign up to deliver machines without any quality control? I can do it much cheaper.

        US Department of Homeland Security
        ATTN: Office of Security Technology System Planning and Evaluation Group
        Transportation Security Administration
        601 South 12th Street
        Arlington, VA 22202-4220

        Make sure you ask for their blanket immunity from prosecution plan, which also has options to avoid house oversight committees and contractual exemptions that all other federal agencies must comply with, like, for example, a requirement to choose the lowest-cost contract that meets requirements.

    • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @12:27AM (#43507683)

      Now it's clear: They were waiting for a terrorist attack.

      And yet I couldn't find a single comment in support, even right after a terrorist attack, on the webpage, until about 10 pages in. And you know what? It'd still be a bad idea even if there was a boston bomber situation every month from now until doomsday. But you know what they say about our most inept public agency... "You can't cure stupid."

      • If they'd had backscatter machines at the race, the bombing wouldn't have happened. Right?
        • by mianne ( 965568 )
          Not necessarily. However the standard security apparatus from the 1970's, known as the "Walk-Through Metal Detector", would have easily detected these devices.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by erroneus ( 253617 )

        I'd like to see a new program put into place:

        Forget "air marshalls" Start handing pistols to people with willingness and a profile that works when you board a plane. Screw searching people for weapons and dangerous items. Make sure a deterrent is available. So far, the only REAL terrorist threats have been defeated by civilians beating the crap out of assholes. The people believe the threats are real and so far, people have demonstrated a willingness to take action against those threats. Proof that th

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      FYI, the public comment period began nearly a month ago (26 March)

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:32PM (#43507479)

    Isn't it a little late for a public comment period?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:34PM (#43507487)

    Body scan was of the most high-standard quality! Great holding pen. Quality of the internment was superior. TSA is exceptional.

  • I'd like to comment first, by saying " We should re-purpose the units and the TSA to the Mexican border immediately" . At best they'll deter a few from crossing. At worst they'll make them submit to an intrusive search and check their junk out with the units and do a body search before permitting them to cross,due to anti-profiling regulations.

  • by White Flame ( 1074973 ) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:48PM (#43507539)

    Are the TSA just going to say "We have listened to your comments, and are continuing to pursue security theater^W practices as they best "serve" our country", or is there some sort of accountability set up for what the comments are saying?

    It's nice to see that even right after the Boston bombing, the comments appear to still be 100% against AIT scanners.

    • I was pondering pretty much the same. But I guess in Soviet USA it's a step ahead when the government starts to actually listen to its people. Nobody said anything about acting upon what is heard, though.

      The lack of support for those scanners is, I hope, no surprise. If they actually DID anything to increase security, you might see some support for them after an attack, but since they're as useful for detecting something capable of blowing ship up as Lisa's rock is for defending against tigers, even a bomb

  • by litehacksaur111 ( 2895607 ) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @11:49PM (#43507543)
    I am afraid that Michael Chertoff only made hundreds of millions with the old backscatter machines and needed even more government money, so his company decided to come out with some new units which the TSA will spend over a billion dollars to acquire. The military industrial complex will bankrupt us as Eisenhower predicted.
    • Can't we dig up Ike and put him in charge again? Even as a corpse he's more competent than any other choice we have right now.

  • Prediction... (Score:4, Informative)

    by flimflammer ( 956759 ) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @12:20AM (#43507657)

    Wow, I jokingly made comments a long while back that it wouldn't surprise me if the TSA opened up these comments the moment a bomb went off somewhere, considering how long they've just been sitting on it.

    But now that it's happened, I am surprised. If there really is a connection to the timing, that's downright shameful. However that's not entirely anything new for the TSA.

  • by cervo ( 626632 ) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @12:52AM (#43507755) Journal
    In any case I found this fascinating article [] that Israel does not have x-ray machines, or taking off your shoes to go in the airport. They have behavioral based interviews. And in the end everyone wants to blow up Israel, and yet I cannot remember hearing of planes crashing into buildings, or even being hijacked. It's really quite amazing. I would cut the security theatre and go do what Israel is doing.... Which seems to be behavioral based interviews and paying attention to how people act.

    Also they do a ton of screening on cars. In some US airports, the parking lot is right near the terminal. Drive in a car full of explosive material and you could do a lot of damage. Or even pull right up to the terminal unchecked for dropping bags. In some terminals you could even crash the car right through the glass doors and then go do something..... That's not security.
    • You are aware that for such interviews you need highly skilled, highly trained people. How the heck does this double as the job creation scheme for the unemployable the TSA is now?

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @08:41AM (#43508905) Homepage

        That is definitely an issue. Israel only has two international airports, and spends quite a bit of money on security in general, with every citizen serving in the military.

        That makes the entire society far more security conscious, and military training means that people know how to follow procedures and generally stay alert. The fact that everybody serves in the military also means that the guards are diverse and not just those who couldn't find a job or get a scholarship.

        The result is that a security program that works in Israel will not necessarily work in the US, and certainly not with bottom-dollar security guards.

        Also, Israel has a lot of defense in depth. Maybe the airport security isn't as tight, but they have far more border security at drive-in points, and even checkpoints at places like malls. All of this makes it a lot harder to get weapons to the airport in the first place. There is also a much higher state of vigilance - when bombs have been planted on buses in the past they've generally been noticed resulting in immediate evacuation before they go off.

        Oh, and the last I heard El Al depressurizes every bag before putting it on a plane to set off altimeter-triggered bombs. So, some of the security is behind the scenes.

    • The "behavioral based interviews" are thinly veiled racial profiling. Illegal in America, so we can't use that method.
    • by garcia ( 6573 )

      I did my masters thesis on this subject and the TSA is doing the same thing the Israelis are. In fact, they spend a lot more than you would think on doing it. The problem seems to be that because people A) don't recognize this effort, B) because it's just as expensive as the machines, and C) it's just as ineffective because it ignores the fact that terrorists could walk into the building strapped with explosives in front of the screening area and kill hundreds+ of people.

      • by garcia ( 6573 )

        My bad, I meant to include the source: []

        Behavior Detection Officers (BDOs): An increase of $20M and 350 BDOs (210 FTE) is
        requested to further enhance TSAâ(TM)s Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques
        program. The FY 2011 request includes a total of 3,350 officers, to enhance coverage at
        lanes and shifts at high risk Category X and I airports, and expand coverage to smaller


        Transitioned validated multi-cultural indicators of hosti

    • by sootman ( 158191 )

      And every time someone posts that, someone else has to post a reply saying that just does not scale. I guess it's my turn. Even Bruce Schneier says so. [] Bruce, quoting someone else with whom he agrees: " matter how safe or how wonderful the flying experience on El Al, it is TINY airline by U.S. standards, with only 38 aircraft, 46 destinations, and fewer than two million passengers in 2008. As near as I can tell, Cairo is their only destination in a majority Muslim country. Delta, before the Northwest m

  • I couldn't care less if they see my nekkid body. I JUST WANT TO KEEP MY SHOES ON!!!!
  • We know why these damn things sell so well. They're every teenager's dream come true: X-Ray Glasses!
    The problem is they were build by morons, and have no adequate safety testing.

    We must replace the scanners with better options, while considering the actual target market.
    It's clear we need non-ionizing under the clothes imagining systems that replace people's bodies with those of a supermodel's.

    Put out a call for engineers married for at least seven years, or with children. They have the required ex

  • by bradorsomething ( 527297 ) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @01:52AM (#43507971)
    My Comment to Them:

    "I travel about twice a month and have been a regular traveler most of my life, and because of this, the deployment of this technology has had a major impact on my life.

    This technology is not wanted by air travelers, and was put in place with less testing than the shampoo I am no longer allowed to carry through security. Experts have found that shadowing can cause items to slip through this screening, and these devices cannot detect anything inside the body. They have also created long, bunched up lines of people at airports, outside of the "secure" cordon, which would allow a terrorist to kill many more people than would be on a single airplane... and these deaths could ironically be attributed directly to the delays caused by these devices, which regularly slow the lines and require pat-downs when they don't read properly (my experience when waiting).

    Security at airports has become a reactive reflex which always fights the last threat. I am confident I am not the only tax payer who feels their money was completely wasted on these devices, whose only value, I feel, was to make some contractor rich, and get some person re-elected by convincing the under-informed that they were "safe."
  • Have these machines ever stopped an actual terrorist? What were the results when undercover security testers tried to smuggle simulated explosives? I am not sacrificing my liberty for security, but I can sacrifice my modesty for security, if that security is any good.

  • Filibuster it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spectrokid ( 660550 ) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @03:34AM (#43508213) Homepage
    Everybody here should enter the same comment: "I would like an independent body to calculate the cost vs. saved lives and compare it to other possible investments like traffic safety, cancer research, or promoting healthier lifestyles to school children."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Only the machines from Rapiscan are being phased out. It's not because of safety, rather it's because Rapiscan can't deliver software to remove human-in-the-loop (eg removing the need for a human to look at you naked).

    They've awarded additional contracts to both Smiths (makers of the garbage "puffer" machines) and AESi (in addition to the current millimeter wave machines from Level3). I believe that AESi's devices are back scatter x-ray.

  • Disclaimer: I am, and always have been, completely opposed to the existence of the TSA and their Security Theatre.
    However, I'm equally opposed to the concept that public input to what should be a scientific decision (assuming you include demographic studies and threat assessment as potentially scientific) is a good idea at all. You can't vote on reality, and the overwhelming majority of people are nto qualified to make an educated assessment of nearly any issue. It's like asking your neurosurgeon to att

  • They don't want your comments, they want you to think they want your comments. To which they'll respond that the public demanded more awesome scanners.

    Only slashdot would post such an incredibly naive headline. Must be timothy ... yep, scroll back to the top and see its slashdots' #1 moron.

  • The TSA is now in the public comment stage of its project to roll out Advanced Imaging Technology scanners. The TSA wants your feedback as to whether or not this project should be continued or cancelled.

    If we convince the TSA to cancel the project, does that mean that the TSA will keep the x-ray machines, and not replace them with millimeter-wave systems? That's actually a bad thing. Given a choice, I would prefer the millimeter-wave scanners over an x-ray scanner.

  • T.S.A. should stand by its word and get body scanned everyday; also, they should let some psycodic moron put their hands on their reproductive areas and comment about their body shape out loud in front a group of strangers. Of course if this were to happen lets say in a public area, all I would have to do is file a criminal complaint. it means going to the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Law, but hay; the T.S.A. has deep pockets.

    Movie idea, "Women walks up to the TSA offical, dressed in a TSA uniform. H

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly