Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Which is it: Millimeter Wave or Backscatter?

As TSA continues to deploy new technology, some people continue to be confused about whole body imagers. Millimeter wave, backscatter, privacy filters… it all adds up to a confused traveling public.

Since one of our readers asked about the difference between millimeter wave and backscatter images in a previous post and we’ve also seen other blogs get the two confused, we thought we’d put the correct information and images out there to clear up any misinformation. Both millimeter wave and backscatter fall under the classification of whole body imaging, which gives security officers a virtual image of a passenger that highlights potentially dangerous items.

Here’s the lowdown on the two technologies:

How millimeter wave works:

Beams of radio frequency (RF) energy in the millimeter wave spectrum are projected over the body’s surface at high speed from two antennas simultaneously as they rotate around the body.


The RF energy reflected back from the body or other objects on the body is used to construct a three-dimensional image.

The three-dimensional image of the body, with facial features blurred for privacy, is displayed on a remote monitor for analysis. The image is not saved – once it’s off the screen it’s gone forever.


This is the millimeter wave image a security officer sees:


A millimeter wave machine looks like this:







Here’s how Millimeter Wave imaging works (WMV, 3.4 MB).

Here’s how Millimeter Wave technology detects threats (WMV, 3.4 MB).

How backscatter works:

A narrow, low intensity X-ray beam is scanned over the body's surface at high speed.
The technology relies on the X-ray radiation that is reflected back from the body and other objects placed or carried on the body, where it is converted into a computer image, embedded with a modesty filter and displayed on a remote monitor.

Passengers will walk up to the backscatter unit, assisted by a transportation security officer and remain still for several seconds while the technology creates an image of the body.
Images will be deleted immediately once viewed and will never be stored, transmitted or printed (the passenger imaging units have zero storage capability).

This is the backscatter image the security officer sees:




This is a backscatter machine.




Click here to see a demonstration of backscatter (2Mb, wmv).


And while we’re at it:

Because we see it time and time again, we wanted to clear up another bit of misinformation. This is a raw backscatter image with NO privacy algorithm. This is NOT what security officers see – this image was used to show what the capabilities of the technology are.

198 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, my, here we go again: the front image of what the backscatter sees, please. One would have thought that you have had enough intelligence to not post just a rear image. However, since this is the TSA we are dealing with, I guess it’s understandable.

To tsa loves you:

I’m taking the liberty of bumping your post re quote from Kippie from the cartoon thread to this one; hope you don’t mind and thank you for your research:

"KH: We're still evaluating backscatter and are in the process of running millimeter wave portals right alongside backscatter to compare their effectiveness and the privacy issues. We do not now store images for the test phase (function disabled), and although we haven't officially resolved the issue, I fully understand the privacy argument and don't assume that we will store them if and when they're widely deployed."

Non-weasel worded translation: go back to every single assurance any blogger has given us and add "...for the test phase" to the end of it.

As for the person who opined that some people must have a lot of time on their hands: One never has enough time when trying to keep government agencies honest; it’s almost a full-time job.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so what is the difference between microwaves and millimeter waves? Aren't you just using fancy microwave machines?

Anonymous said...

So we know the backscatter scans are capable of high definition images, and are not allowed to see what kind of images the screeners are seeing. How do you expect us to believe they are actually only looking at the cartoon version? Even the privacy assessment by the TSA says the quality of the images may change, giving us no guarantees.

Bring the image viewing out where the person screened can see it, or I, for one, will not go through with this.

Anonymous said...

If they start using these X ray machines I will never fly again.
I dont care what you say,,it a gross invasion of privacy.

Anonymous said...

All the world is a conspiracy to the ill informed. So many assumptions are made with no proof to back them up. If you do not intend to harm anyone on an airliner than you should have nothing to worry about.

The intelligent traveler understands the need for such devices and welcomes them as a means to ensure our safety.

Dave Nelson said...

OK, Kippie, here you go again. We, the people, demand to see the EXACT image that your screener will see -- front and back in the exact resolution.

After all, you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide, right?

Anonymous said...

Can you provide information on the radiation dose from the backscatter machines-- along with comparisons to transcontinental flights and lung x-rays?

Lynnie said...

Anonymous said:

"The intelligent traveler understands the need for such devices and welcomes them as a means to ensure our safety."

WRONG! The intelligent traveler knows it's nothing but theater for the benefit of Ma and Pa Kettle. Which one are you, Ma or Pa?

Cat said...

Can you provide information on the radiation dose from the backscatter machines-- along with comparisons to transcontinental flights and lung x-rays?

Backscatter X-Ray machines work by reflecting weak particles from your skin. The x-rays do not penetrate your skin (which is why the image, raw, looks like it does) or any dense objects that may be concealed under clothing.

I Am Not A Doctor, and I Do Not Work For the NRC or NIOSH or OSHA, however the exposure from these (and all other x-ray generating machines the TSA uses) does not exceed the amount of radiation you may get in front of an old Cathode Ray TV. TSA employees, who are occupationally exposed a lot more than passengers, don't even get dosimeters.

(And some of them are upset about that, too.)

Abelard said...

If you do not intend to harm anyone on an airliner than you should have nothing to worry about.

Does this philosophy only apply to air travelers? Because I could use the same "wisdom" to demand to know why you feel it necessary to have blinds or curtains on your windows at home. After all, what could you possibly be doing in there that would cause you worry if someone saw you?

Anonymous said...

To be Stripped Searched either virtually or physically is an excessive measure to ensure safety.

Reserve this for situations that cannot be resolved by other less invasive or demeaning methods.

To the poster who said, "The intelligent traveler understands the need for such devices and welcomes them as a means to ensure our safety."

I guess you would have no problem with non-LEO federal agents entering your home at anytime so ensure your safety.

TSA has over-stepped their authority. They still do not protect the airport, aircraft and passengers from threats introduced by cargo,vehiclesor employees entering the airport. They do not protect checked baggage from having contraband introduce after being inspected.

The real security holes are so large that passenger threats are a very small problem since cockpit doors remained locked regardless of what happens in the cabin.

Yet TSA spends a large amount of manpower to inspect ID's which provide little in the way of improved security.

TSA is mis-managed and until an overhaul of the agency happens no significant improvement in real security will happen.

Anonymous said...

So are Shampoo and Coke Hazmat or aren't they? And if they are, why aren't they treated like Hazmat? Stop ignoring these questions.

I don't think it's kosher putting the MMW screen in some far-off room... if these images are G-Rated, there should be no problem letting other people in line possibly see them. You say the separate screening room is for our privacy, but why do we need privacy if the images aren't revealing? Personally, I'd rather get a good look at what the agent is seeing of my body. What with all the contradictory info available, I'd prefer to observe the truth for myself. I certainly don't trust TSA to be straight with us. The contents of your carryon (still in view of other people in line via the X-Ray machine screen) are just as private as the shape of your body, if you ask me. Possibly more so since, the shape of someone's body is viewable without the need for special equipment. Still, X-Ray, Public, MMW, Private. Hmmmm... I wonder why?

Btw, I was very happy to hear about feedback forms being available at security. It's a step in the right direction towards better accountability. I imagine the next time I fly out of Boston, unless the security situation there is very different than last time I flew, the TSOs there will get a much-deserved smackdown

Anonymous said...

The blog publishing issues are resolved. We are a little short-handed regarding moderators. So comments may take time to be approved. ~Neil 12 days ago


-------------------------
No Neil they are not! Gripes and Grins is still messed up.

Anonymous said...

Through sheer insistence, we finally got the front and back male and female MMW images. How about insisting now to change something in TSA procedures?

I suggest the form of full body scans. They are still being implanted, so policy is more easily changeable. Many of us have suggested the screeners be seen in the general screening area. It is our right to be able to see the persons seeing our images, as well as the images themselves.

CHANGE THE SCAN PROCEDURES AND BRING THEM OUT INTO THE OPEN!

jonjacobjingleheimerschmidt said...

Anonymous said -- "If they start using these X ray machines I will never fly again."

Well anonymous, since the machines have been operational, in some cases for over a year, (thanks for being so informed) I thought I would help you out.

Amtrak - 800-USA-Rail or
www.greyhound.com

Anonymous said...

"All the world is a conspiracy to the ill informed."

And once you are well informed the world is a vast conspiracy of power hungry people looking to expand their power.

Of course the only truly successful conspiracy is the one we have not heard of.

The lust to control people was never made a sin. But then it wouldn't be, would it?

,>)

T. Saint

Anonymous said...

Dave Nelson said
"OK, Kippie, here you go again. We, the people, demand to see the EXACT image that your screener will see -- front and back in the exact resolution.

After all, you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide, right?"

Code of Federal Regulations 42 1520.5(b)(9)(iv) protects as SSI "Any electronic image shown on any screening equipment".
The purpose of this rule is to prevent terrorists from learning ways to obscure prohibted items, from identifying strengths and weaknesses of various screening systems.
The United States is not the only country protecting these images. Every nation that has deployed this equipment has provided only a very limited number of sample images. All other countries who are signatories to ICAO protect screening images. This is not some random decision made by TSA (and FAA before it). It is a security related decision that all other countries have also reached.

Sandra said...

Bumping from the thread on cartoons wherein some TSA apologists were trying to convince others that the TSA is not as disliked as it is, here's a quote from a J.D. Power survey on customer satisfaction with the airport experience:

"In particular, customer satisfaction with the security check aspect of the airport experience has declined considerably since 2007.

"Service inconsistencies in the security check process from airport to airport are particularly frustrating for customers, who report lower satisfaction with the professionalism of security staff and the ability of the security check process to make them feel safe, compared with 2007."

Anonymous said...

Other countries may protect their images, but at least in England the scanned person sees his/her own image and the person analyzing it. Much better than the seedy system in the US where you can´t see anything (and can´t complain if something is not correctly done).

Bob said...

The front and rear backscatter images have been posted. The omission was simply an oversight.

Thanks,

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting front and back images with the "privacy filter". Can you explain why the filter allows you to see the person´s navel but not nipples? Seems strange to me.

Can you assure us these will always be the images viewed? Can we see our own images, please?

Dave Nelson said...

Code of Federal Regulations 42 1520.5(b)(9)(iv) protects as SSI "Any electronic image shown on any screening equipment".


Wait a minute. When the TSA pushed through this CFR (without public comment, by the way), the only imagery they had was from the X-ray. We're waiting for the notice of proposed rule-making in order to update the CFR. I'm sure they'll get to it right after they respond to lost baggage claims.

Kippie is the SSI authority for SSI release (unless he has delegated it). If he really was transparent, this would be a no-brainer.

The purpose of this rule is to prevent terrorists from learning ways to obscure prohibted items, from identifying strengths and weaknesses of various screening systems.

I don't seem to recall this in writing. Nonetheless, it's one heck of an assertion. I guess this makes the blog images and the blog itself and every computer on Planet Earth that has accessed the blog SSI-high, right?

All other countries who are signatories to ICAO protect screening images.

Big deal. Countries have done lots of things in order to comply with US extortion. I haven't found this criterion as a condition of ICAO membership.

Guess you've never met a threat that you didn't like.

Marshall's SO said...

"The front and rear backscatter images have been posted. The omission was simply an oversight."

Want to tell us another fairy tale, Bob?

If anyone believes him, I have a bridge I'm willing to sell - cheap.

JD said...

This whole thing is BS. The so-called "Department of Homeland Security" is BS. My experiences as a Marine returning from Iraq have shown me that the TSA is nothing but a show and a farce. Semper Fi

Anonymous said...

How about addressing the request to bring the persons analyzing images out into the open? It would bring peace of mind to all of us that the images generated are, indeed, not used inappropriately.

Anonymous said...

"U.S. air travelers are deeply frustrated and avoiding flying, says a new survey by the Travel Industry Association. They're so fed up that they avoided an estimated 41 million trips over the last year, estimated the TIA, costing the U.S. economy billions of dollars."

"Travelers' top concerns are delays, cancellations and inefficient security screening."

Trollkiller said...

Marshall's SO said...

"The front and rear backscatter images have been posted. The omission was simply an oversight."

Want to tell us another fairy tale, Bob?

If anyone believes him, I have a bridge I'm willing to sell - cheap.


The images were up in less than two days, for a government entity two days is lightning fast.

Trollkiller said...

JD said...

This whole thing is BS. The so-called "Department of Homeland Security" is BS. My experiences as a Marine returning from Iraq have shown me that the TSA is nothing but a show and a farce. Semper Fi


Thank you for your service.

Things could be worse, the TSA could have hired Blackwater to run the security.

Buffalo native said...

I guarantee that within hours of this technology being employed TSA employees will be watching high resolution images of attractive young women - protestations of TSA notwithstanding..

TSA TSO NY said...

Buffalo native said...
"I guarantee that within hours of this technology being employed TSA employees will be watching high resolution images of attractive young women - protestations of TSA notwithstanding..

May 31, 2008 10:56 AM"

And I guarantee that morons like you who will never be satisfied, will continue to post no matter how transparent the policies become!

Anonymous said...

"Personally, I'd rather get a good look at what the agent is seeing of my body. "

That's actually a great idea! Have moniters facing the person being scanned. You know somebody, somewhere is not going to empty their pockets. By showing them the image the TSO is seeing, maybe it'll spped up the process.

Or not. I can't tell you how many times the person infront of me forgets his cell phone and sets off the metal dector. They always looked shocked! Geeze, a cell phone is made of metal?

Axendra said...

Interesting read, I quite liked looking through your blog.
I had seen a little on it before so it was rather interesting reading about it.

Anonymous said...

tsa tso ny said: "And I guarantee that morons like you who will never be satisfied, will continue to post no matter how transparent the policies become!"

We are asking for more transparency, and are being ignored! Please bring full body image viewers out into the open!!

Anonymous said...

mnhI like how people call TSA "non-LEOs" as if that would make influence the situation one way or another.

Would you be more willing to be scanned if the TSO had a gun on his hip?

Seems like those who complain about the security being "security theater" are most subject to visual impact above all other.

Oh, and if the US has such bad security and it's only purpose is "to represent"... can you please indicate which country is doing it right? (Israel doesn't count, their security is WAY too intense for what is needed here) Because from my travels, I've noticed, that while the TSA leaves a lot to desire it is still the airport security with the highest trained and most effective security methods...

I can walk through most countries' airport security with a huge ACME bomb and they would probably let it through.

Seriously, there are approximately 300 countries in the world... which ones have better SECURITY, not better customer service, than the TSA?

If TSA is bad but is still better than 299 countries in the world, and let's even say that the UK and Israel is better, the top 1% isn't too shabby.

Anonymous said...

I like how many people here think the TSOs are salivating over the idea of watching fuzzy, black and white low resolution scans of a person holding their arms up in which you are not even allowed to compare the scan to the person.

Honestly, it takes less than 10 seconds to find porn on the internet people, 10 seconds.

Seeing a fully clothed person is much much more exciting than that guys... give me a break.

Anonymous said...

TSA TSO NY said...
Buffalo native said...
"I guarantee that within hours of this technology being employed TSA employees will be watching high resolution images of attractive young women - protestations of TSA notwithstanding..

May 31, 2008 10:56 AM"

And I guarantee that morons like you who will never be satisfied, will continue to post no matter how transparent the policies become!

May 31, 2008 3:35 PM


Hey TSO NY, your the TSA Expert who said if a medical item didn't have a perscription it wouldn't go, aren't you? Yeah, that was you, want me to pull up that post?

And you change the rules as you see fit.

You have the gall to question others?

No wonder why you guys get so much respect!

Anonymous said...

tsa tso ny: "And I guarantee that morons like you who will never be satisfied, will continue to post no matter how transparent the policies become!"

As they have every right to, and very much should. Any move away from transparency is a move toward control.

Anonymous: "I like how many people here think the TSOs are salivating over the idea of watching fuzzy, black and white low resolution scans of a person holding their arms up in which you are not even allowed to compare the scan to the person."

Who says they're fuzzy? The machines are capable of storing extremely clear pictures. We have only the TSA's word that those capabilities will not be used. Or rather, they aren't being used, for the test phase.

As for porn in ten seconds, I have only pity for any TSA agent seeing me naked. It's my ten year old niece I'm concerned for.

Anonymous said...

Here's a blog post which doesn't succumb to EPIC's backscatter hysteria. Why don't we hear more from the TSA Privacy Officer? Unlike the blog spokescritters (nothing personal, Bob), he seems to know what he is talking about. Plus, he came from Francine's Chief Counsel shop, and we know her posts have always been well thought out.

http://www.jeremyduffy.com/tsa-at-the-cfp-conference/

Robert Johnson said...

Quote TSA TSO NY: "And I guarantee that morons like you who will never be satisfied, will continue to post no matter how transparent the policies become!"

Thank you for being a poster child of why your agency is ranked with the IRS as the worst federal agency.

"Morons" like us will be satisified when you can pass red teams tests at 80% or better rather than fail them 80% of the time.

"Morons" like us will be satisified when TSA realizes its role in breaking air travel.

"Morons" like us will be satisified when TSA spends its money on better technology, training, and professional people rather than focusing on smurf uniforms that make you look like wannabe cops, PR spin, and mood lighting.

"Morons" like us will be satisified when TSA actually keeps us safe rather than just tries to make us feel safe. And even at feeling safe, TSA is starting to fail miserably.

Yes, the curtain is finally starting to be pulled from the TSA show.

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from anonymous: "Here's a blog post which doesn't succumb to EPIC's backscatter hysteria. Why don't we hear more from the TSA Privacy Officer? Unlike the blog spokescritters (nothing personal, Bob), he seems to know what he is talking about. Plus, he came from Francine's Chief Counsel shop, and we know her posts have always been well thought out."

So what exactly makes Francine and her crew more trustworthy than someone like EPIC? Quite honestly, lawyers are paid to justify whatever position their employer or client wants them to defend. Just as a lawyer can make up an argument, another can make up a counter argument then a judge has to decide.

I've seen a lot of well thought out posts on here that have been blown off because they're not cheerleading TSA.

EPIC and other organizations are exactly right here: these are virtual strip searches and they go well beyond the means of an administrative search. Cops can't even strip search without an articulable reason. Showing up at the airport to take af light is not an articulable reason.

All we have is TSA's word that these "fuzzy" pictures are being shown. They admitted that much more detailed pictures can be taken ... they're just "disabled." Given the average TSO, I don't trust them.

I don't trust them when they say they're safe when that's still up for debate.

I don't trust them period.

Quote from anonymous: Would you be more willing to be scanned if the TSO had a gun on his hip?

Great. Give already chest thumping and power tripping TSO's a gun to make them feel like wannabe cops even more? The smurf uniforms and badges already make them feel like that even more than before. And given the mentality of a lot of screeners on here, I don't trust them not to exceed the scope of their limited authority even more than they have coplike uniforms.

Quote: "Seems like those who complain about the security being "security theater" are most subject to visual impact above all other."

It's more than just visual when the theater aspect amounts to harassment without a quantifiable benefit to security.

Oh, and if the US has such bad security and it's only purpose is "to represent"... can you please indicate which country is doing it right? (Israel doesn't count, their security is WAY too intense for what is needed here) Because from my travels, I've noticed, that while the TSA leaves a lot to desire it is still the airport security with the highest trained and most effective security methods...

Japan. I get thru security quickly, efficiently, and am treated well to boot. Never happens in the US anymore. They have technology to detect liquids and have had it for sometime. The lunacy that has to be dealt with there is imposed by other governments such as the US so they have to comply if they want to fly to the US. Yes, enforcing our "high" standards drags security down at other airports across the world.

Quote: "I can walk through most countries' airport security with a huge ACME bomb and they would probably let it through.

A terrorist can walk thru most US airports and be let thru too 80% of the time. What's the difference, except we're harassed more along the way and have to wait longer for the privilege?

Quote: Seriously, there are approximately 300 countries in the world... which ones have better SECURITY, not better customer service, than the TSA?

Customer service is inextricably tied to security. It's a key part of it. TSA provides neither security nor customer service ... only hassles and the illusion of security on a good day.

People will at least feel safer if they're treated better. I think Japan does a better job at security overall. Maybe they don't. But the impression I get going thru security there is that they know what they're doing and they're efficient. Maybe it's an illusion, but I feel safer getting on a plane there than I ever have in the US.

If TSA is bad but is still better than 299 countries in the world, and let's even say that the UK and Israel is better, the top 1% isn't too shabby.

If TSA is cream of the crop and other nations are worse, then God help us all.

Robert

Anonymous said...

"Robert Johnson"

Maybe they were being polite but I've had a couple tell me the security in Japan is a quick glance and a nod and they felt safer going through the US security.

I admit I know little on the subject... he he, I guess I have an excuse to travel to Japan now.

At to the places I travel to oftenly (JFK and back to MIA, Brazil and Buenos Aires Argentina) I've found the TSA to be the best in my opinion, even though it's popular to bash it... I mean the IRS is the most hated agency... that tells a lot about people...

The IRS don't do their job poorly, their job is to collect income tax, but maybe people complain about the TSA because it's inconvenient, people used to hate the DMV, but now that most of their stuff can be online, people don't hate it as much.

And in this country we do have private security companies that are not TSA, but must follow the security procedures and wear the uniforms, like San Francisco and Key West and they actually have a WORSE public opinion than TSA airports...

Sometimes I think the only way to satisfy some people would be to scrap the TSA completely and put a person that is all smiles and just asks "Are you a terrorist?" and if you say no you just get to walk into the plane...

I guarantee a lot of people would be saying "OH MY GOD, THE SECURITY HERE IS SO GOOD! I FEEL SO SAFE"...

Anonymous said...

TSA TSO NY said the following,

"And I guarantee that morons like you who will never be satisfied....."

TSA TSO NY also said,...

"that may be true, but without a prescription it doesn't go."

and

"It's all well to know the rules, but when you're on the checkpoint sometimes the rules get "changed" to suit the situation."

and

"TSA states that if those bottles are not labeled, they aren't allowed to go."


So TSO NY, now that all passengers are morons per your standards do you still stand behind your words that have been saved for all to see?

Just wondering who the moron really is!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
TSA TSO NY said the following,

"And I guarantee that morons like you who will never be satisfied....."

TSA TSO NY also said,...

"that may be true, but without a prescription it doesn't go."

and

"It's all well to know the rules, but when you're on the checkpoint sometimes the rules get "changed" to suit the situation."

and

"TSA states that if those bottles are not labeled, they aren't allowed to go."


So TSO NY, now that all passengers are morons per your standards do you still stand behind your words that have been saved for all to see?

Just wondering who the moron really is!

No need to wonder . . . it's as clear as the MMW image before filtering.

MoiN said...

Buffalo native said...

I guarantee that within hours of this technology being employed TSA employees will be watching high resolution images of attractive young women - protestations of TSA notwithstanding..

--

I kind of second that :D

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: Maybe they were being polite but I've had a couple tell me the security in Japan is a quick glance and a nod and they felt safer going through the US security.

That's a gross oversimplification. Security is quicker ... partly because they have appropriate staffing, and a lot of because they don't require the song and dance that TSA does. Liquids are quickly tested using a machine (technology TSA says doesn't exist). Same metal detectors and x-rays. No barking, no shoe removal, long lines. They seem to believe that good and effective security doesn't have to be a big show ... and they're right.

Quote: I admit I know little on the subject... he he, I guess I have an excuse to travel to Japan now.

I'd recommend it for more than that ... it's a wonderful place to visit.

Quote: At to the places I travel to oftenly (JFK and back to MIA, Brazil and Buenos Aires Argentina) I've found the TSA to be the best in my opinion, even though it's popular to bash it... I mean the IRS is the most hated agency... that tells a lot about people...

I agree that there are worse places in the world. That doesn't make TSA automatically the best though.

Quote: "The IRS don't do their job poorly, their job is to collect income tax, but maybe people complain about the TSA because it's inconvenient, people used to hate the DMV, but now that most of their stuff can be online, people don't hate it as much."

Of course no one likes paying taxes. That said, if an issue arises with the IRS, I have a clear recourse and there's accountability within the ranks. TSA offers none of these.

Quote: And in this country we do have private security companies that are not TSA, but must follow the security procedures and wear the uniforms, like San Francisco and Key West and they actually have a WORSE public opinion than TSA airports...

I've generally had better experiences in SFO than in other places. A lot depends on how management runs things. Screeners are also more likely to be held accountable at a private company where they don't have the red tape in getting rid of bad apples.

Quote: "Sometimes I think the only way to satisfy some people would be to scrap the TSA completely and put a person that is all smiles and just asks "Are you a terrorist?" and if you say no you just get to walk into the plane..."

People generally acknowledge the need for security. TSA just isn't meeting it.

Security wasn't what failed on 9/11. It was letting the hijackers into the cockpit that failed. Boxcutters weren't prohibited at the time ... don't think they necessarily should be since knives can be found in premium cabins anyway and with reinforced cockpit doors, no one's going to cut thru that with a knife.

That's not saying security didn't need to be improved ... it did. Thing is though, it hasn't changed much except a lot of the people are just wearing federal uniforms now and largely the same technology is being used then. Additionally, we have much longer lines which creates a soft target for a terrorist to bomb. No one needs to get on a plane to wreak havoc on the aviation system ... just send some suicide bombers into the long lines TSA creates at a few airports across the nation and boom. Does that really make us safer or is it just shifting the threat from inside the "sterile" area and out to the public area?

Quote: "I guarantee a lot of people would be saying "OH MY GOD, THE SECURITY HERE IS SO GOOD! I FEEL SO SAFE"..."

I'd love to be able to say that about our security. Of course, you're also going off a second hand assumption of Japan when you even state you have NEVER been there.

Funny thing is, I see just as many planes falling out of the sky in Japan as I do in the US. Do you really mean to say that the Japanese are just lucky and here it's because we're so good?

Robert

Ayn R. Key said...

You forgot to include my explanation of the difference between microwave, milimeter wave, and x-rays. I thought that gift to you would be included in a "yes this is safe" portion of posts from now on whenever you discuss these technologies.

Ayn R. Key said...

Milimeter waves, micro waves, and x rays.

All of these, as well as visible light, are on the electromagnetic spectru. The difference between them is wavelength or frequency. Higher frequencies are lower wavelengths, and vice versa. The two key features of any radiation are frequency and amplitude. In colors it is represented by the different color being the frequency, but the brightness being the amplitude.

Both miliwaves are similar to microwaves, but have a different wavelength / frequency. Both of them are lower frequency than infrared, which is lower than visible light. Microwaves of certain frequencies are used in communication technology, and of other frequencies in cooking.

The key feature of all frequencies lower than visible light is that the radiation is non-ionizing or non-lingering. That means the exact moment the radiation source is removed there is no more radiative energy. That is why it is safe to eat food from the microwave. All of the energy has been either disappated or converted to heat. None of it continues to be present to irradiate other objects.

The only danger of microwave and miliwave radiation is the amplitude. If there is sufficient of it, it will cook you. Since our bodies are largely water, we are susceptible to this if the dosage is large enough. It could cause fluid filled organs to boil or even burst (and cause blindness as a result) and it could even cause individual cells to boil and then burst. It is likely that long before it got to that point you would be aware of the harm, because you would feel unusually warm. The TSA, while it employes these frequencies, does NOT employ these amplitudes. Their technology is safe.

Our bodies can even absorb a certain amount of excess, which is why we can go outside on warm days without immediately boiling. Instead we get a tan.

All microwave and miliwave radiation do is excite individual molecules causing them to vibrate faster (which means they are hotter).

This is very different from x-rays, which our luggage goes through but we don't. In the case of x-rays the frequency is so high (the wavelength so low) that scientists initially named these "rays" instead of "waves" until it was discovered that they are also waves.

High frequency radiation is dangerous no matter the amplitude, so if the TSA were to use full body x-rays that would be cause for full scale riot and revolt. Doctors use very brief exposure at a very low amplitude in an effort to make this unsafe process as safe as possible.

The key to this is that high frequency radiation IS lingering, it remains after the source is removed. If exposed to gamma rays, and then the source removed, a geiger counter will etect those gamma rays to whatever was so exposed. At lower frequencies it only breaks molecular bonds (which causes mutations in our cells) and at higher frequencies it breaks up atoms themselves. That is why it is called "ionizing radiation" because of the effect it has on the atomic structure itself. X-rays are the safest of the bunch, and dangerous in themselves, which is why all areas that don't need to be exposed while you are at the doctor are covered in lead.

So high frequency radiation breaks atomic bonds and remains to continue doing damage long after it is removed. Thankfully the TSA doesn't use that. What the TSA uses is physically safe, even if 4th and 5th amendment issues say it is politically and constitutionally unsafe.

Ayn R. Key said...

One final note, one thing the TSA hasnt addressed. You've admitted this technology has the capability to give overly clear and revealing images. You've said you've downgraded it to make sure our pirvayc isn't invaded. What guarantees do we have to ensure that the downgrades aren't re-upgraded? I know the line TSO can't do it, but that doesn't mean that others in the TSO can't do it at some future point without telling us - in the name of security, of course.

Anonymous said...

"JUST SAY NO"

That is my answer to the TSA with these new machines. I will not go through one and will advise all I know to not go through these. It is time that TSA targets the very small group of real potential suspects and quits trying to remove all rights from everyone else.

"JUST SAY NO"

Anonymous said...

1. Being Muslim, Ill be blunt and honest. Most Muslims who are conservative and who you would want to check more would have a huge problem with this screener based on religious and moral views. They would much rather be patted down by someone of their own gender. If you wanted to use this imaging against people who are potential hijackers, particularly Muslim fundamentalists, you need to ensure that there is both a male and female screener. That would make a lot of the privacy and moral things a non-issue.
I myself would ask to be patted down for religious reason unless I was told that the screener was male.

2. I was told that plastic can hide parts from this screener. that issue should be addressed.

Jessica said...

I shudder to think what impact these machines will have on the lives of transgendered people who fly. :/

I'd like to think we won't be mistreated, but... the TSA's track record for handling issues correctly has been less than stellar.

Anonymous said...

RE TSA TSO NY

Amazing that anytime this TSO is questioned about past remarks that he/she displays the backbone of a jellyfish and wimpers away.

How about standing up and defending your remarks or telling all of us that you made an error and regret those remarks.

Remember you represent your agency!

Anonymous said...

The issue with these new machines, is TSA "dummies" the image because of the traveling public's complaining. If TSA, and the public, was really concerned about catching stuff, they would make the image clearer. We tax payers are "buying" these machines, which are not being used to the fullest extent. Do you want security... or not?

Anonymous said...

re: Do you want security... or not?
.........................
I think the real question is at what cost for security.

Security at any cost?

Security where one must be virtually stripped searched to gain access to air travel?

Security where one must display travel documents to gain access to air travel?

I will take no security if these are my choices. Freedom is more important than this type of security!

Ayn R. Key said...

We tax payers are "buying" these machines, which are not being used to the fullest extent. Do you want security... or not?

This is the logical fallacy of "Does Not Follow". Does using these machines to their fullest extent give us security? Do we actually want these machines bought in the first place? Two assumptions that are necessary to answer for your question to follow your comment.

Anonymous said...

My husband is an airline pilot and I am NOT comfortable with the idea that he may be going through these machines numerous times during a given week. Where can we find documented medical information about the type of exposure and expected side effects on the health of those that will endure repeated exposure (much more so than the average traveler)?

Anonymous said...

I find it abhorrent that passengers are expected to allow themselves to be electronically strip searched in the name of "security". But even worse is that so many people have no better sense than to passively accept such a gross invasion of privacy.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...
I find it abhorrent that passengers are expected to allow themselves to be electronically strip searched in the name of "security".

But even worse is that so many people have no better sense than to passively accept such a gross invasion of privacy.


I personally do not have a problem being subjected to the MMW. I would rather do that then be frisked. The thing is I KNOW what the screener sees and that is acceptable to my level of modesty.

Most people being funneled through the MMW have no idea what it is or what the screener sees. That I do have a problem with, people must be informed and it is the TSA's responsibility to do so.

Anonymous said...

I think the real question is at what cost for security.
ANNOYMOUS SAID:
"Security at any cost?

Security where one must be virtually stripped searched to gain access to air travel?

Security where one must display travel documents to gain access to air travel?

I will take no security if these are my choices. Freedom is more important than this type of security!"

This is the world we live in. If it bothers you so much that some screener can get a quick look at your junk then I suggest you take the bus or drive. I want my family safe when we travel. I don't want to worry about what some idiot has stashed under his clothes. My god people get over it certain things need to be given up during these times of terror. How many 9-11's before people learn, one is enough for me. I am happy when I get searched or questioned I have nothing to hide therefore it doesn't bother me. If you are trans-gendered too f*ing bad you are the minority and catering to the minority is what got us into this mess. Time to worry about TRUE Americans or move to Canada. C-ya

Concerned Citizen said...

When are you TSA perverts going to give it up?

We obviously value our privacy more than some feel-good security measure. We don't want you pervs taking naked pictures of everybody.

Soon, every child molester not in prison will be working for TSA, receiving taxpayer dollars to look at pictures of naked children all day.

You people are sick, and you had better start coming up with some better ideas for terrorism prevention than to give everyone a virtual strip-search.

Anonymous said...

Privacy filter? What kind of privacy filter is that? I can clearly see the outline of that mans genitals. This is a complete invasion of privacy! Nobody should need to see my penis for me to get on a plane. From what I understand they are currently testing these machines and it is optional to go through them but I keep reading about more of these machines being installed. Pretty soon it will probably be mandatory to go through one of these. Where does that leave people like me that don't want to be seen naked? Will I not be able to get on a plane anymore? Because I really don't see the point in installing all of these machines if it is going to be optional to use them. Anyone wanting to sneak something into a plane will simply refuse to go through them. So what is going to happen? Will I have to give up my privacy in order to travel or are these machines just being installed to get money into some big company/politicians pockets?

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how we think we are so much more advanced than our ancestors.

In 1755 it was written "“Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety".

Who would have known how much that quote applies 253 years later.

Anonymous said...

I see no problem with these machines. I believe they are better than being frisked by Bubba at the other end of the metal detector. The way I see it is I did nothing wrong. I am not taking anything illegal on a plane, so I have no problem being checked. We'll see how you feel when you are on a plane and Achmed Allah blows your plane out of the sky because you felt you were being violated.

Anonymous said...

The government will continue taking more until the people say stop. Who dares to say "stop"? - We will go crazy!

Anonymous said...

As a hospital x-ray technician of 25 years, there's no way I'd let myself be subject to this sort of technology. 30 years AFTER dental xrays were introduced, we finally had enough data to show the regular dosage was very, very dangerous; there has been less than 3 years testing with this technology, and what's out there - the studies performed by independent agencies, vs. the TSA's contractors - is mixed.

We need a lot more data before we entrust our health to a company that won a sweetheart contract with the TSA!

Ayn R. Key said...

As I explained, this is an entirely different frequency than X-rays. These are low frequency. X-rays are high frequency. The danger of high freqency is in both the frequency and amplitude. The danger of low freqnecy is only amplitude, and they don't use that much power.

This is not x-ray. It is physically safe. Constitutionaly on the other hand.....

Ayn R. Key said...

Blog team,

I give you full permission to copy my entire comment about frequency and amplitude, microwave, miliwave, and x-rays, and to post it as a blog entry all by itself.

All the other questions that you have to answer for I won't help you (in fact, I'm one of the ones who asks the questions) but on this single solitary issue where I as an engineer have some expertise, I am actually willing to help.

Neil said...

Ayn R. Key said...
I give you full permission to copy my entire comment about frequency and amplitude, microwave, miliwave, and x-rays, and to post it as a blog entry all by itself.

All the other questions that you have to answer for I won't help you (in fact, I'm one of the ones who asks the questions) but on this single solitary issue where I as an engineer have some expertise, I am actually willing to help.


Thank you, Ayn R. Key. Your's was a particularity clear explanation. It might be a good addition to our web page on MMW.

-Neil
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

After working for a company that required me to fly extensively after 9-11, I believe we were signaled out for all these safety checks. Not once did we get on a plane without being pulled aside and asked to take off our shoes, get scanned and have TSA employees rip apart our luggage. I think it’s bad enough someone is going through my panties and other unmentionables.

I am a Law Abiding American Citizen and do not believe I should be raped by this new machine just because I would like to board a plane to go help take care of my ill mother in another state.

The people TSA should be checking out are the people who have committed any sort of crimes (except for minor traffic violations) in the past or have come here from other countries. After all, the majority of people do not want to spend even 1 day in prison.

I find this machine to be a serious invasion of privacy and anyone using it should be put in jail for the rape of its customers!!!

Flying today just isn’t worth it; the price is too high to be hassled!

I will wait till I can afford my own plane to fly again, thank you.

MSO TSO said...

Comparing MMW to rape is over the top hyperbole and offensive to real rape victims. This machine is a choice for those that would prefer the in and out quickness over the length of time and being touched that is involved in a hand wanding and/or a patdown. This technology is much more thorough and less invasive than being touched so I do not understand the fear and over reaction.

Anonymous said...

There's a few real issues here:

- US Society needs to grow out of it's puritan state of mind. Low res, bi-colored outlines of your genitals, chest and thin or fatty curves really aren't going to be sexy to. Less so with the face being obscured. Arms up standing distorts your body too. If the tech is used as indicated, grow up. Worst case, I think a fair compromise would be a male and female officer scanning line. Get in the line you want.

- You should be able to see the image and the observing officer, no doubt.

- That said the technology is excessive (this a near equivalent to a strip search) IMO and I wonder how exactly they solve the problem with obese people being able to tuck items underneath their "folds". No matter how high you hold your arms, big bellys can hide stuff.

- We already know people can hide objects in body cavities. How does this tech address that?

- What about thermal imaging? (or is it hazardous?)

- You just wait to see the abuse of this tech the minute a celebrity walks through this machine.

- The fact the images can be clearer, finer with a higher resolution is problematic. There's obviously a potential for abuse by screeners, or the government once the systems are in place and it's time to market the TSA and some upper management/executive has to justify his job and decides to make a case to take off the filters.

There certainly are potential issues to be concerned about, but the last thing you should be worried about is someone catching an outline of your flaccid, distorted and squished manhood or breasts.

Just Me... said...

Here is a question that NO ONE seems to be asking...
If, "The officer is unable to print, export, store or transmit the image" is true;
THEN WHERE ARE THESE IMAGES POSTED HERE COMING FROM?

Anonymous said...

Ask yourself this...
First, how many terroristic activities occurred on ANY U.S. airline since 09/11/2001?
None
Second, how many terroristic activities occurred in ANY other country’s airlines since 09/11/2001?
None
Third, how many terroristic activities occurred on ANY U.S. airport that does not have these machines?
None
Like any other criminal, terrorists will not strike where the government is looking, they will strike where the government is not; trains, cruise ships, tanker trucks, etc.
These machines are a multi-billion dollar wubby; useless and unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, what are the technical specs on backscatter? kVp, mA, ESE?

Radiation is radiation. You are using untrained people to expose people to radiation without any form of probable cause.

And who's protecting the TSA agents? Will they be wearing OSL's?

Concerned American said...

Well, what is the next step? Handcuff all passengers so they will be physically unable to cause
mischief? Where does all this end?
Anything can be done in the name of
"state security". We saw this in
Germany and in Russia for example, and millions of people died to ostensibly irradicate such offensive human policies.

Mark said...

Passengers have the power here, not the TSA. No one is holding a gun to anyone's head telling them they have to fly.

We've seen the power of the people re: gas prices: We pared back our driving, and prices have plummeted. We can do the same thing re: airline security - and security theater.

I made a conscious decision to quit flying after 9/11 and have never regretted it. It required me to make some substantial changes in my work and personal life, but each one has been worth it. I hate being under constant suspicion and subject to search, which everyone who enters an airport is. So, I've actively protected my privacy re: my person and my belonging by re-ordering my life so I don't fly. (I also don't go to events or buildings where I'm subject to search - and life is just as good - or better - without them.)

If you hate the TSA's rules, regs, and security theater as much as I, use the power you have - and just quit flying.

Anonymous said...

I do believe that the new scanners are an invasion of privacy. There is no guarantee that in the future the images will not be saved. I want to see what the TSA sees and should I ask be able to see the image. I'm more and more tired of flying and being cramped. We are constantly being told to be more scared and that the government is our great protector. I say no to scanning. I have nothing to hide. I don't like the invasion.

aussie trucker said...

Wow what a machine i sure hope i get picked one day and all the best looking girls within the TSA is standing around i reckon i will have few dates to fill my diary to go out with .

But all jokes aside remember 911 i sure do if anything like these machines can stop that would be disaster i say thumps up to the TSA or the homeland security for these machines
pete PA

Anonymous said...

This is a gross violation of my privacy. I would not fly if I had to get virtually naked in front of the world or anyone.

Anonymous said...

i dont think that it is an invasion of privacy honestly maybe everyone should be scanned i mean why does everyone worry about stuff like that people would rather be patted down than have a scanner check you and then move on......

i do agree that you should be able to see what the people with the monitor are seeing but couldnt we all agree that if the airlines felt like it they could show the views that they wanted to show to you but be looking at a completely different view than that

honestly we need to look at safety for everyone its not an invasion of privacy it is a mature of security

Anonymous said...

"The RIGHT of the PEOPLE to be secure in their PERSONS...against unreasonable SEARCHES and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause..."

Look familiar? How much of our Constitutional Rights are we willing to give up in the name of security? Like other programs TSA is pushing and/or has already implemented, our rights are being slowly stripped away until there will be nothing left, and then we will sit there wondering how we got there. And we will realize we passively allowed them to be taken away from us. How much are we willing to pay?

Anonymous said...

I fly regularly and don't mind the extra security in place. However, I draw the line where this technique is concerned. That is invasion of privacy, nothing else. And to have the choice of submitting to it or not flying is lunacy and abuse of power. I have rights just like everyone else and I don't have to submit to this type of humiliation in the supposed name of safety. I choose liberty and freedom instead. If I wanted others to see what my body looks like without my clothes on, I would be a nudist. I'm not, so I won't. Also, no matter what is said, I don't believe this technique won't end up causing serious health issues to people in the long run. Every time something new comes out, it is said that it is totally safe... than years later, and ooops is discovered.

Find a better way to keep us safe without compromising our rights. Find a way for the machine to not show the body but only have metals, plastics, etc etc etc show up on it while the background is gray. What you want to see is what a person could be hiding, not the person's body, so why not work on obtaining that image instead.

Jezveli said...

Well, what is next, will we all soon be individually monitored throught the airport?

This is in my opinion an unnecesary "security" measure. To some extent I think government agencies are seeing just how far they can push us, to see how much control we will give them over our lives, and let me tell you; if there is one thing that the government is consistently sucessful at, it is convincing us that implementations to society that give them more power, are for our bnefit.

Why? because we as a nation highly value our safety, if not, at least our peace of mind; that is why we have allowed things to come to this. It is wht some parents are now having RFID chips inserted into their children, because they think it will help them be better parents,to keep their children out of harm's way; but all it really does is subject their children to full government scrutiny througout their adult life.

Then there are also things that they don't bother to tell us such as the fact that any traveling by air in which we participae is carefully tracked for any "suspicious behavior". At least your records are availiable to you, although it may take over a year to recieve them, you may have to pay as much as $50 to get them, and they won't reveal how they obtain this information. They even know from which IP adress you purchased the tickets.

I consider all of this just another way of "stripping" us of our privacy, and I will not further support this invasive implementation to our airports. My message to the TSA is I will not allow you to dictate my level of exposure either physicaly or idealisticaly.

On a final note one reason why we may have allowed this invasive measure is because a vast majority of US citizens trust the government with their lives (whereas they shouldlearn to rust only themselvs in that regard)however if one is not aware of the exten of their rights, they will also not know when said rights have been unrightfully encroached upon.

Anonymous said...

I feel violated by this...I want good security but, I don't want my body over the internet due to some TSA scam in the future...

Jezveli said...

Well, what is next, will we all soon be individually monitored throught the airport?

This is in my opinion an unnecesary "security" measure. To some extent I think government agencies are seeing just how far they can push us, to see how much control we will give them over our lives, and let me tell you; if there is one thing that the government is consistently sucessful at, it is convincing us that implementations to society that give them more power, are for our bnefit.

Why? because we as a nation highly value our safety, if not, at least our peace of mind; that is why we have allowed things to come to this. It is wht some parents are now having RFID chips inserted into their children, because they think it will help them be better parents,to keep their children out of harm's way; but all it really does is subject their children to full government scrutiny througout their adult life.

Then there are also things that they don't bother to tell us such as the fact that any traveling by air in which we participae is carefully tracked for any "suspicious behavior". At least your records are availiable to you, although it may take over a year to recieve them, you may have to pay as much as $50 to get them, and they won't reveal how they obtain this information. They even know from which IP adress you purchased the tickets.

I consider all of this just another way of "stripping" us of our privacy, and I will not further support this invasive implementation to our airports. My message to the TSA is I will not allow you to dictate my level of exposure either physicaly or idealisticaly.

On a final note one reason why we may have allowed this invasive measure is because a vast majority of US citizens trust the government with their lives (whereas they shouldlearn to rust only themselvs in that regard)however if one is not aware of the exten of their rights, they will also not know when said rights have been unrightfully encroached upon.

Anonymous said...

How is this an invasion of privacy?
Is it because someone might have the ability to store your nude picture? People have the choice of whether or not to fly, just like if you want to drive they take your photograph and finger print. Honestly, if people were not so self conscious about there appearance would anyone really have a problem?

Anonymous said...

I used these machines while I was stationed in Iraq. The images are pretty graphic. It looks like a naked ghost you are looking at but it was detailed enough. I will say this. The machine was detailed enough that men were not allowed to scan women, they were hand searched. I showed some Iraqis what it looked like and they were very embarrassed.

Manda said...

I say no to the invasion of privacy. I have nothing to hide but people have things such as piercings for their own personal reasons and residual things such as screws or metal plates etc....I do not think peoples bodies in and out are anybody's business. I am all for protection but there is a point were enough is enough.
to make matter worse, in my opinion, my husband is a Marine and yet even he has to walk through those scanners with orders in hand.
Privacy is one of the few things we have left and even that is being stripped away.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, this is the Government that you folks are making this Tech for.
Do you think for one minute that if the ability is available, the Gov will not use it?
If you had built an Xray scanner bet your proffits they would surely find some excuse to enact it's usage under color of law and in most times, we would have NO idea it had even been done.

Anonymous said...

There is no way in hell I would consider stepping up to one of these machines.

The TSA's answer to terrorism is to have people take off there shoes, throw out their water bottles, and bag their toohpaste and aftershave..

In the UK, where attempted shoe bomber Richard Reed boarded and then attempted blow up a transatlantic flight in route to the US.. They still to this day do not make your take off your shoes and put them through an xray at London Heathrow..

Nope only in America are you subjected to this sort of braindead attempt at thwarting terrorism.

Now they want us to step up to these xray machines, for what? The UK isn't installing them. Canada isn't. Mexico certainly isn't. Only America.. and only people inside America are being subjected to this nonsense.

These machines are more prone to finding drug mules carrying cocaine or heroine taped to their bodies than a fanatic with RDX stuffed in his jeans.

No X-ray machines for me. I'll take the manual pat down from the homely woman over there with the halitosis and bad attitude please, thanks.

And yes, for those of you who don't know. You can deny a request from a TSA agent to step in front of this machine and instead opt to have a manual pat down.

If any TSA agent gives you attitude, or retaliates against you for making such a request file a complaint with the External Compliance Division of TSA's Office of Civil Rights and Liberties.

http://www.tsa.gov/research/civilrights/civilrights_travelers.shtm

c.marks Belgium said...

I cannot see what others do or not do but personally I calculated that I avoided at least 50 flights to USA since 2000 only to avoid customs there.
I have nothing to hide but simply feel offended there.

My average trip before 2000, just for fun, did cost me about 10.000 dollars of spending in USA in car renting, hotels, boats. So 500.000 dollar did not go into USA economy because of the decision I made for myself.
Now I did spend that ellswhere.

It is better to understand WHY people want to damage USA interests by terrorism and to spend money to take those arguments away instead of spending money to take everyones freedom away.

C. Marks Belgium

Frenchiet said...

Okay folks, stop the presses; Big Brother is taking away another one of our freedoms! Run for your lives; the sky is falling!!

Give me a break!!!

First of all, you don't have to fly if you don't want to...

Secondly, you can refuse to have your bags and/or body scanned and go through the traditional scanning process, of say, having your bags get exampled by hand and being patted down by some groper...

Be my guest. Personally, I don't particularly care who sees what I look like and trust me, I am a tad more than just a little overweight - have at it folks.

Now let me weight in on those of you who are concerned about some voyeur drooling behind some curtain somewhere...

Folks, I really, really like New England Seafood - Lobster and Long Neck steamed clams are a meal made in heaven. I could eat it all day every day...

No, wait a minute, no I couldn't... I'd get absolutely sick of it after about two days.

You see, one can only take so much of a "good" thing. Same hold true here folks. These guys and gals behind the screen are looking at these images all day every day.

It's nothing special, they become immuned to learing after a very, very short period and simply look for abnomalities.

Bottomline - this is NOT mandatory folks, but does significantly speed up the process of getting through security.

If you are uncomfortable with going through these machine; simple answer - opt out and go through the traditional pat down

If you don't want your bags going through the x-ray machine; simple answer - opt out and go through the traditional hand search.

Be my guest; as for me? Voyeurs, have at it. I'm coming through - all 300 glorious pounds of me

I'm coming through, so get out you drooling rags and get ready for a real treat...

Like I said Give me a break!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I fly often for both business and pleasure. Whereas I am often annoyed by the security procedures that seem redundant, invasive or just plain silly, I also understand and welcome their intent.

I agree with other posters who said that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear. This technology is useful and to not use current and useful methods to maintain our security is a breach of the public trust.

When you fly, you give up certain perceived rights. You can't say whatever you want; you can't use your cell phone as you please, etc. and you have no right to privacy. Your bags and your person can be searched for any reason. This imaging technology does nothing outside of the above stated box and is not any more invasive but it might save us all time at the airport. So now really, where is the complaint?

tom said...

I have absolutely no problem with this. Most people go through a more thorough search when attending a sporting event or amusement park. This is here for our safety. If the scanners are looking at me, I know that they have looked at everyone else who is boarding an aircraft and if they have made it onto the aircraft from that point, I feel a little safer. We are not giving up any rights here. We are protecting ourselves, the crew and people on the ground. It's not like these things are on every street corner and we have to go through them every day. Just like driving, flying is not a right, it is a privilige. Let us let them do their job and keep us all safe. If they don't do that we all scream about it. We can't make everyone happy, but we can make them safer.

Brian said...

We have met the enemy, and they are us.

Anonymous said...

Because I am an expat I do travel internationally on a regular basis. This full body image technology is raising so many internal alarms I can't even begin to explain it!

Not to mention - I have a history of skin cancer - I would be willing to bet absolutely positively NONE of these machines have been thoroughly tested and the results published in peer review scientific journals.

Further to that - if I am asked to submit to one of these scans - is there going to be someone signing a statement for me providing confirmation that absolutely no harm whatsoever can come to me then or in the future? And that said company assumes all responsibility should something be discovered at a later date that links this technology to a particular health risk?

I dare say I might consider refusing if someone wanted to do this - I don't know what I would do - but I seriously hope people will think about these machines and how they do, indeed, invade our very private personal space as well as possibly endanger the health and well being of untold thousands of innocent people.

Anonymous said...

Completely and totally unacceptable. If the TSA says I've been randomly selected to be scanned they can either pat me down instead or go fly a kite cause it isn't happening.

Security would be a non-issue if they let citizens with concealed handgun permits carry them onto planes. I don't understand how I can carry my handgun anywhere in my state but not on a plane (in state flight or not). Do they trust concealed handgun people or not?

(From someone with no police record and has served in the US military.)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear that everyone is so negative toward this technology. I would like to say how thrilled I am to see it in use. It beats having to be formerly strip searched, because no one actually has to touch you in places you wouldn't like a stranger to, and furthermore, If this keeps me from being blown to shreds during a terrorist attack on an airplane, I'm all for it. Thank You TSA. With Much Appreciation.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Said...
"As a hospital x-ray technician of 25 years, there's no way I'd let myself be subject to this sort of technology. 30 years AFTER dental xrays were introduced, we finally had enough data to show the regular dosage was very, very dangerous; there has been less than 3 years testing with this technology, and what's out there - the studies performed by independent agencies, vs. the TSA's contractors - is mixed."

I have been in medical imaging for 20 years. I was taught that radiation is cumulative, that is to say the more you are exposed the greater your dose, it doesn't go away, the damage accumulates; so you should only be exposed to extra radiation if there is nothing else to take its place. This is in addition to the fact that the gross invasion of my personal rights. To whomever posted the argument that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn't be afraid; remember the words of Ben Franklin "They that give up freedom for a little safety, deserve neither."

Anonymous said...

Any IT worker (computer programm/network admin) should know full well that while "security officers" "cannot" view the image without the "privacy algorythm" the raw image is likely still in the machine somewhere and most likely available to a system administrator or other higher priviledged account with access to the machine.

The TSA claims the machine doesn't store the images but are the images offloaded to some other archival process/machine?

So now we just need a collection of electronic photos from various drivers license and passport databases and add a little face recognition software add a little greyscale to color algorythm from the color photo and before you know it your colorized nudy photo will be in some database somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really believe these images will not be stored? If an incident were to occur on a flight, there would have to be some way of accessing security records for the passengers involved to determine if something was missed that shouldn't have been, if someone in TSA was involved and let it through on purpose, or if current technology didn't pick up the threat at all. The records have to be stored, that's all there is to it. It's possible that only top level employees are supposed to be able to access stored images, but no electronic data is ever completely secure, and there is always someone out there who can find a way to get to it if they try hard enough.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea. How about the people that are in the head offices of the TSA offer themselves as examples. We will scan their bodies and put the so called "Edited and Non-Invasive" pictures on the machine that the passengers will be forced into complying with. Would the head Execs with the TSA be willing to show a picture of themselves from this machine to the general public? If not, then why should we trust or compy with you invading our privacy?

Dramon Falling said...

On the plus side, any liquids you are carrying will be automatically warmed up for you at no extra charge.

Concerned said...

I believe that this can help our security, but there are alot of mistakes with this system that needs fixed. First, the person being scanned should DEFINATELY be able to see the image of thier self, and they should be able to see the people that are viewing the images. To me this is a definate invasion of privacy. Most people do not like strangers seeing their complete naked body! So until we are able to see the image of ourself and the person observing it this is an invasion of privacy! So my question is will these changes be made? Will we be able to see our images and the people observing them?

Anonymous said...

I get so sick and tired of those who use the comment "if you don't have anything to hide, then what's the problem. You know who you are in these posts. People need to stand and draw the line somewhere at some point as we have no privacy anymore and as for me, I'm freakin' tired every shred of hair on my body being combed thru by Government or private Industry.

Anonymous said...

The next step is "mandatory taser-bracelets/ anklets" that can disable any passanger with the touch of a button by the flight crew. Think I am joking? Just put "taser" "bracelets" and "airplane" in your favorite search engine.

Timothy said...

I agree that this invention may be going a bit far, but I believe that it is necessary, since there should be some greater protection because I want to fly back home in one piece.

I will feel more safe with higher protection as possible.

and if you have nothing to hide, then it shouldn't be a problem.

ApostleRon said...

I served 5 years in the viet nam war and I am a disabled vet. It makes me sick to read these posts and to see the disrespect and disregard the government people have for the rights we vets of wars fought so hard and many many times died for and are still dieing for as we speak. I know you work for the government and it is you'r job to strip us of as many rights as possible in the name of,well,, anything that will work. In this case it is security. I love America and have already proved I am willing to die for it but that does not include it's government. Seems to me like to become part of the government today it is required you be willing to strip Americans of all their rights by any means, sarcasm being the tool of choice in this forum. The most important factor when anything is considered at anytime by any american is FREEDOM and RIGHTS! Do not stray from that understanding and forums like this one will never be needed. WHEN YOU CREATE SOMETHING,DO IT WITH FREEDOM AND RIGHTS FIRST IN MIND! Everything else takes a back seat.

Anonymous said...

How come the pictures of the images is so small. I can barely see any detail on a pic so small. Can we get a link to a larger picture?

Anonymous said...

It is the same as without clothes!!! This machine just saves time for dressing and undressing a person. It is wrong!!!
I like my body but I am not a prostitute to show it to everybody.

Bob said...

Hey all, I'm curious... This is an older post and it's been getting a ton of comments today from new readers.

First off I'd like to welcome our new readers/commenters and encourage you to stick around.

Secondly, I have to ask where you all are coming from. I searched trying to find a link to this post, but was unseccesful. With all of the sudden interest, there has to be a blog post, radio/tv program, or youtube clip.

Thanks,

Bob
EoS Blog Team

Joe said...

The link is probably from here: http://travel.yahoo.com/p-interests-24971907 This article is being forwarded around and there is a link at the bottom of the page that eventually lands you here.

I am troubled by the images that appear to me (especially the explicit frontal image of the male) to be the sort of thing we would not even allow on television in the US. If this is too obscene for consenting actors to show consenting viewers, then how can we possibly allow an unwilling (or perhaps unaware) passenger to himself be viewed this way?!?

Like all rights, there are resonable restrictions to our rights to privacy, but this does not even fall onto the spectrum of debatable. It is a gross violaton of privacy. It was Ben Franklin who famously said so many years ago: "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither" Wake up America, or you deserve what's coming to you!

Anonymous said...

"We do not now store images for the test phase (function disabled)..."

Whoa.. so, not only are they getting to look at my naked through this screening, but it is also possible for this "disabled function" to be active! How do we not know that someone will find something that they choose to keep and switch the function to "enable?" I don't think so. I think this is sick. Who are they to decide that I can be viewed like this? In my profession, if things like this were to get out, I'd be ruined! This is disgusting, and I would subject myself to a million pat-downs before I would let anyone have any image like this. And, at this rate, I might as well just strip down in the airport for all to see! There is not one bit of difference. We have no way of telling what they are looking at, and I won't have it. Period.

Anonymous said...

certain people let certain events happen, for the "sake of war" and now we all have to suffer for it. It's just not right! Tighten things up at the boarders, and be a little more "picky" about who we let in, THAT's the problem!

Anonymous said...

What about women in their first trimester of pregnancy when radiation causes birth defects or miscarriage? Have any studies been done to PROVE this is safe?

Anonymous said...

I find this appalling and unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

In response to the question about an expectant mother concerned about having a miscarriage or birth defects. For the most part no there should not be any birth defects nor miscarriages just from walking through the machine. If you can walk through a walk through metal detecter at any airport and be exposed to a little radiation, then you should be able to walk through the portal. They produce pretty close to the same amount of radiation as any walk through metal detecter. It's totally harmless.

Anonymous said...

When did you people ever get the idea the USA is a FREE country? There is NO freedom. No rights except what the government chooses to give you! The TSA believes ALL passengers are terrorists!

Anonymous said...

I've quit flying, too. I think all the new search procedures are a violaton of my personal space. I don't care whether they are stored or not. I've been "wanded" in the Middle East, and that wasn't too bad because no one touches you. But I also refuse to go into public buildings where scanning is required. I will not give up my freedom for any false notions of "safety." I know the government feels like they have to spy on everyone, but that's because the government is run by corrupt, powerful, wealthy people who are serving their own financial interests. We are actually less safe and seen in a much poorer manner by the international community because of our over-reactions and warmongering in the last several years. We create the terrorists of whom we are so afraid.

Anonymous said...

If my kid has an RFID chip, will they be allowed to fly? Wouldn't it show up as a questionable item with the associated response.

Anonymous said...

I have flown several years now, And I can say that I'm not a bit happy with any of this. Why you ask any fool would realize that this stuff makes us all safer or doe's it. With any system its not fool proof and someone will find a way to beat it so believe it flying, riding on a train our any other form of mass transit is at risk. Sure this may catch the idiots but there are minds out there in this world who can overcome just about any defense that they think TSA can come up with. Here's my point This is in most part a waste of time and money and has changed our lives dramatically at least for those who travel frequently. I wish I could just apply for a travel pass from my government and walk through security. What! this is a crazy Idea? Well think about it we used to just walk through security back in the old days no problems. We why can't we go back to that. Is it feasible to have a travel pass much like a registration to own a fire arm that says I'm not crazy I'm not a terrorist I'm just a regular person who travels. They could at least do this for non International flights. We are living in dangerous times and I by no means belittle the security efforts of the TSA but come on guys have you ever seen or heard of a little old lady from Arkansas being or attempting to or threatening to harm others on board an aircraft. We are such a paranoid society and often go to extremes to try and plug holes yet we often over look a better means of solving the problem.Retinal scanning and finger printing facial and voice recognition software are all out there and should you have a travel pass and fail one or both of the tests then then send you through the stepped up security check in process. Still your carry on is scanned and but no ones looking at your butt.
I have decided that I will avoid flying because I just hate the security check points, Makes me feel like I'm living in a world were Hitler survived and is ruling our lives so now I drive across country instead and enjoy the site seeing.
Just my two cents.
mikej,
Anaheim, CA

Anonymous said...

Sadly enough, this is all a stopgap measure.. what we need to work on is why people want to blow themselves and others up with planes. I mean.. and I know why we have all this security today... but why did radicals in my grandparents day not start blowing up planes? I read all this, and I keep thinking that this country has traded all it's freedom for security.. and we're finding slowly, as the quote predicted, we have neither. FDR would be rolling in his grave if he knew to the degree how much this country has begun to fear fear since his passing.. and how that fear has been manipulated to infringe upon and take away our citizenry's freedoms. I am a very reasonable person, but to be honest, I really find more personal aprehension concerning the possible misuse of all this collected personal information than I fear actually being blown up by terrorists.. maybe I'm wrong since I haven't been blown up yet.. but I don't know.. but it still worries me somewhat.

Anonymous said...

My concern is not for myself but that of my 14 yo daughter. If the professionalism and difference in policy I have experienced by the TSA from airport to airport is anything like those watching the scanner this technology will be inevitably misused. I have had a few run-ins with some less than moral TSA officers and I would have to vote no to them having access to my children at even the slightest resolution.

Anonymous said...

Soon they'll be herding us through lead-lined corridors equipped with much better technology then this. I doubt anyone will even know exactly what's being read into our lives - it will be too much to take in at a glance, but it'll be archived and tapped into when deemed necessary by big brother. These machines would serve best inside the door of an emergency room. Our freedom should be protected, not scrutinized and insulted by the likes of this kind of oppressed mentality. My judgement of it tends toward dversion. So, once again I find myself replying to a post - giving my IP adress to "who knows" how many more collecters of useless information.

Anonymous said...

the tsa is missing the point, the war is not about killing, it is about creating fear and making weak minded people spend all the money they will never have in an attempt to be safe. Then, when there is no money left for fancy machines and more security guards, the entire system implodes and all safety and security is lost. what is the security risk to america is the monetary system fails? who buys food, has utilities, etc... a terrorist is a mosquito bite, every dollar the government continues to spend only takes us closer to losing the war. the tsa, eyes wide shut.

Anonymous said...

Suppose I have tattooed a brief message writ large on my front and back and backside with the words expressing my negative opinion of governments who engage in this?

Will my private hidden free speech regarding violations of my freedom from warrantless strip searches cause me to suffer for expressing my thoughts in a place no one has a right to see -- will I be detained and cavity- searched,a suspect simply because I mutely, passively, show dissent visible only to TSA viewers?

Contrariwise, if I have an American flag and an appreciation of the fine work of T&A voyeurs tattooed on me, will I be waved through?

Anonymous said...

I had the misfortune of going through the millimeter scanner yesterday not realizing what it was until I saw the movement of the scanner panel. Soon after that I told my travel companion something that I never could have imagined a few years ago. “That I’m beginning to hate this country.” We continue to loose our privacy as the government continues its invasion. If anyone wants to flame me, read the Constitution and the Federalist papers first and then tell me we are the same country.

I was in Argentina in January and felt safer with their security than I ever have with the TSA.

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is whatever happened to the US Constitution, you know, that document that all of our law enforcement personnel and public servants are sworn to protect and uphold?

Anonymous said...

I find these un-Constitutional invasions of privacy so distasteful that I have driven all the way across the country several times in the past few years just to avoid them.
Unfortunately, there are times when that is not an option, and I must fly.
I do not wish to get into anything ugly with Government workers who are merely trying to do their jobs, but there are times, there are times, when I feel that they are worse than what they purport to be protecting us from. This is an example of that, at an extreme. America feels like it is becoming more and more a Police State, and less and less the free nation that was created by the Founders.
And I don't like it.
I went to Vietnam, ostensibly, to protect us from ever becoming that.

Anonymous said...

Killing the flight industry, one scanner at a time.

Anonymous said...

TSA is not at all the enemy. Ignorance is. Appropriate decision making is the key.

The fact is, these machines do not check body cavities. That's it.

so between poorly screened luggage and the ability to use a metal detecting wand we have the core of the issue.

These machines are unnecessary and unnecessarily, uselessly intrusive.

No airline will ever again be taken over by a plastic or metal razor knife, the passengers know not to trust that these are "hijackers" and that they'll be safely released. They will die defending the plane almost right away.

The govt let 911 happen by not scrambling planes to intercept at the towers, they had a terrorism task force after the initial bombings of the towers yet they never imagined a plane attack? No interceptor plane was nearby? that's idiocy.

the police knew about Columbine a year ahead but didn't investigate because "they haven't done anything yet". The govt should have provided oversight for the banks, their policies were not secret but now the banks take all the blame.

Let's use meaningful techniques such as metal detecting wands and sometimes patdowns, those work. These machines won't stop real terrorists using body cavity concealment.

and don't forget, horrible as it was, 3,000+ died in 911. the AMA says 100,000+ die every year from medical mistakes.

Please note these comments are a common thread and relevant to this conversation. Thank you all.

Anonymous said...

Where does this technology stand with respect to picking up metal medical implants? I have extensive stainless steel screws and plating in my pelvis as a result of an accident. Current screening technology cannot pick up their presence because the metal is so deeply embedded in bone, and I do not have a credit card sized x-ray that I can show security personnel. Will the advances in this kind of technology require me to get some sort of confirmation...mini-xray...that the metal signatures are "legal"?

Anonymous said...

The security overkill to avoid another 9/11 is reactionary and doesnt prevent anything.

Do you think another 9/11 type of attack will occur? No.

Did the Japanese attempt to re-attack Pearl Harbor using the same tactic? No.

Get a clue, we are protected by morons. Try thinking one step ahead and not protecting us from something that already happened.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that this world gets more perverted as the years (days really it seems) go by. They hide their sick twisted perversion behind some regulation or "betterment of all" rhetoric. The threat is not from the passenger line anymore, its from the employee line. Why would a terrorist go through security when he can go around it? This seems to me like another liberal measure to control the people. How would you like it if some guy was looking at your wife naked? Or what about your 5 year old daughter? I thought they got thrown in jail? Nope, now they get a job.

Anonymous said...

One question I have not seen addressed is what is happening to my carry-on, purse, etc. while I am being searched? I can't take them with me, I notice. I did see a story about luggage, etc. being stolen while the person was busy being searched. Doesn't make me feel safe there! How about it? Any answers?
And as a 71-yr-old woman, I am beginning to think I would rather drive my car (if I can afford the gas) or it may even get to the point of riding a horse or using a horse-drawn carriage (or no, can't do that - I forgot about NAIS) Oh, well, not seeing my family for years is enough, at least I am safe, right?
What about all the huge containers that are being shipped into the country from all over the world, and being inspected randomly by non-American workers, and the thousands of illegal immigrants that our Speaker of the House thinks are so patriotic? What about the unsecured loans from our sworn enemies that we are getting ourselves into? Yes, I really do feel safe, with our completely trustworthy leaders that would never lie to us.
Please just make sure when I have to be strip-searched in front of my fellow passengers, that I have my carry-on luggage and my purse with me at all times, please. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

Anonymous said...

I feel that the imaging equipment discussed here is electronic molestation. It would be more tolerable, and more meaningful, if everyone, all passengers, all flight crews and ground crews, and all security personel were scanned everytime they entered secure areas.

Anonymous said...

I stopped flying commercially a few years back. I simply can't tolerate being adjucated guilty just because I purchased a ticket and being forced to prove I am innocent.

Anonymous said...

The number of passengers flying has dropped tremedously and now your adding this into the mix? More people will stop flying once they realize what the machine can do; even if the TSA say it's put on a "privacy" setting. Once again, the TSA has opened another can of worms.

Anonymous said...

I understand the reasons for instituting this machine. However, if a person would be innocent of any wrong doing and refuse, what would be the outcome of such actions? I personnally feel that this machine is invading my privacy by showing my private parts. I thought the days of communism have vanish especially in a demoncratic society. If one would refuse, the likelihood of that person being permitted on the plane might become nonexistant because TSA wouldn't allow them to travel. Therefore, your rights as a citzen are violated. If everyone remembers USSR wouldn't allow it's citzens free travel between provinces (states) without having appropriate paperwork. Has the USA degenerated to a police state? I love this country and feel at times that our country is going a little too far. Why isn't one check in point sufficient?

Anonymous said...

I had a cerebral aneurysm clip and my husband has a pacemaker. No one is going to put me through any machine. I don't care what they see on the scan. I guess it's time to start driving to Florida to see our grandchildren and children.

Anonymous said...

I am opposed to this kind of invasion of privacy. This is ludicrous to think all of our citizens should be "stripped" of our dignity just to travel across the country. I don't trust for 1 second that the imaging will be "blind"; that is just nonsense. In addition, 10 years from now when there is some new cancer or leukemia--then the researchers will tell us what we all suspect now.
We are going down a very bad path of losing all of our freedoms, and being "abused" on another level.

Anonymous said...

If you do not like the screening process there are other options. You can drive to your destination, or if it is overseas enjoy the cruise. Some people act like they absolutely have to fly, and for the rare cases people actually do have to fly, suck it up and get in shape so you can be proud of your body. Stop being insecure.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we just have one day, just one, without airport security, and like everything else, let the whole public world know in advance it is going to happen. Let's see what happens and let the public decide if they want airport security ot not.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me if somebody has already said this, but I got tired of reading all of the petty back and forth. It actually serves the public to have the person reading the scans unable to see the person to be screened. This avoids selecting somebody you might "want" to see naked. If the person selecting the "random" subjects also has no knowledge of who is reading the scans at that time, it helps to keep two perverts from working co-operatively. I would rather have somebody in a remote box see me naked for ten seconds than have all of those who will be joining me for several hours on a flight see me naked in a public place, regardless of how detailed the picture is for that person in the box. Have you all really considered what you are asking for?

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but even the cartoon image is far to much of an invasion of my privacy. Does TSA take into consideration religous and personal belief systems when people are asked to step through this machine. The security systems that were in place before hand were excesive and while at one time understandable do to the fact that they were kneejerk reactions to the "shoe bomber" and other terrorists, what possible reasons does the TSA have to do this. Just because we have the technology does not mean we have to or have the right to use it.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has worked the halls of Congress, testified in front of the FDA advisory commitee, and been in a Presidential Report on the matter, I can honestly say, BOTH of these technologies are worthless...

Forget the invasion of privacy issue for a moment.

Do you know how much C-4 or other plastic explosive can be inserted into the Vagina or Rectum? A lot! I have met with the heads of Customs and other agencies, including the Homelad Security office... All of them are concerned about plastic explosives inserted into a body oriface. Yet the TSA does not touch this.

Congress has tried to pass legislation to require internal scans of the body, and even after we proved it was a dose less than that of 1 hour cruising in a plane at 36,000 feet AND had no privacy issues... We got no where!

It will not take long for someone to by pass security multiple times with C-4 internally inserted, compile it into a real bomb and do what they want. Not a lot of effort required in doing this. The sad thing is that the TSA and FAA are too worried with public perception, and not your safety.

So Sad!

Anonymous said...

I personally will opt for being "patted down" rather than go into one of these things. How humiliating. Especially because I am a pilot and I have a better than average chance of being "exposed" (pun intended) to this thing. At least during a pat down it's in public view and I can scream bloody murder if I'm being touched inappropriately. I don't even care if the flight goes out late because of it. Delay code: TSA.

So do you guys want your agent buddies looking at this kind of image of your own daughters? I'd be willing to bet you wouldn't, even on the "privacy" setting. Several comments have asked why we should trust that the privacy settings are being used. I haven't seen an answer to that one yet. "Because we say so" just isn't going to cut it for me. It's not that we don't trust you guys, but, well, we don't trust you guys. Sorry. I won't allow my family members to go into one of these things. I've instructed them all to request a physical pat-down if they are asked to go into one.

Anonymous said...

As a former TSA screener, I'm glad to see that they are implementing these machines at the airports. When you deal with the public on a large scale you need things like this in place. It's especially good for screening the passengers that can't remove their jewelry and wear layers of clothing due to their religious beliefs. It's difficult to properly scan these individuals because you can't see through all the layering, and it allows less room for error.

Anonymous said...

I find this degrading and would refuse to fly if this was my only option. People gave their lives so we could live in a free country, this laughs in the face of that. I'd also like to see statistics on how many crimes the security measures have really stopped to decide if this is really needed.

Anonymous said...

I think this may be a little late, but I am writing about backscatter technology and using it for full body scans. The TSA has removed any mention of privacy algorithms to be used with these nude scans from its website, in fact saying that the areas that would be blurred for privacy reasons are places terrorists can use to hide stuff. The introduction of full body scans, especially without privacy algorithms, is a gross violation of privacy. More people need to stand up and complain about this. How would you feel about your children, wife, husband, or mother being subjected to one of these degrading scans? Sometimes infringement of our rights in the name of safety goes too far.

I've got ocean front property in Nevada for sale... said...

To the Former TSA agent:

Those of us who wear multiple layers of clothing for religious reasons do so to protect our MODESTY.

This machine does not do that. I'll be patted down before I let the TSA strip search me, and VIOLATE my religious beliefs.

My body is a temple, and is not on display to any lowly TSA agent who happens to be there, including males! I ONLY go to female doctors (unless an emergency). My husband is the only man I have let see me unclothed. This machine would change that fact, and would violate the relationship between spouses.

Basically my religious beliefs state that I am covered from my upper arms to my knees. This machine violates that area. It does NOTHING to protect my religious values, NOTHING. (I'm LDS, in case you were wondering.)

You may mock them as silly and backwards, but they are my beliefs, and are sacred to me.

How does this protect the modesty of a woman wearing hijab when a haram male is the one seeing under her scarf? It does NOT.

So very sorry if those of us expressing our religious beliefs make your job hard. Whine all the way to the First Ammendment.

And if anyone believes that the cartoon version is the one they are actually using, can I interest you in some of my 401K shares?

I don't want my daughter, son, husband, mother, father, sisters, brothers, friends, and fellow country men strip searched. It is WRONG.

I'd also like to point out that in most instances taking pictures like these of minors is a felony, child porn. So my daughter has to be exploited so we can take a plane to Disneyland?

I also have a bet running with a fellow tabloid junkie that it will be less than 6 months before a celebrity's picture is posted on the interent. I have little faith in the TSA's interest in even attempting to secure our privacy.

Anonymous said...

I agree that backscatter scans are simply full body strip searches without probable cause. To say this is not true, is to say that TSA has probable cause to suspect that each of us has or is in the process of committing some crime. It is a total invasion of privacy and should be actionable in court. In this country, we are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.

I, for one, will stop flying altogether if this process is implemented. It is simply another way of having a police state, which I do not believe we want. We live in a country that is supposed to protect our rights as individuals. One of those rights is not to have our clothes removed without our permission or due cause.

Backscatter scanning reduces each of us to lab rats, rather than intelligent human beings. And we can only assume that it would be a short trip from implementation to abuse of this type of technology. I object to someone's getting his/her jollies by body scanning individuals. We would have no control over what they were seeing and we could not be guaranteed that the images would not be saved for other personal or non-personal purposes.

It would probably be only a short time before some of these images would begin appearing on the internet -- particularly images of rich or famous people or of particularly attractive men and women who would have no control over this happening. People's lives could easily be ruined by this type of thing.

Yes, you're right! I DON'T trust TSA employees or anyone else with this type of power. As they say "Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely."

This should be put to a national vote. Are we all willing to be guinea pigs due to some edict that is unlikely to keep any of us more safe? It smacks way too much of big brother!

Anonymous said...

To all of those demanding that these machines be brought out into the open, or that this issue be "put to a vote" or in any other way complaining about the security policies of this country concerning air travel, I have one thing to say: You still have the choice not to fly on an airplane in the US. Flying is not a right afforded to every citizen by the Constitution, it is a privilege. Our government has the right and responsibility to do whatever is necessary to prevent events like September 11 from happening again. Honestly, if you don't like it, don't fly, or move to Canada, you whiners!

Phil said...

Someone anonymously wrote:

"You still have the choice not to fly on an airplane in the US."Of course. We have the choice not to ride trains, buses, cars, and bicycles. We have the choice not to walk.

That other methods of travel are presently available under certain circumstances does not make restricting movement via commercial airline of people on U.S. government blacklists any more appropriate.

"Flying is not a right afforded to every citizen by the Constitution, it is a privilege."We are guaranteed the freedom to move and to associate. For people who have jobs and families, commercial air is often the only practical means of travel from their home to Washington, D.C., as they might wish to do in order to petition their government for redress of grievances.

"Our government has the right and responsibility to do whatever is necessary to prevent events like September 11 from happening again."That's incorrect. Our government is not allowed to do anything in conflict with our Constitution and international treaty obligations.

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Anonymous said...

these scanners are an invasion of privacy.point blank,

Anonymous said...

A few quotes from Ben Franklin. All of us should think about them.
1."Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
2."Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security."

Which would you rather? Me, I choose freedom and liberty.

And if we as parents would follow this. We may not even be in this situation.
3."Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society."

How many of us really teach our little hellions self control these days? Been to a grocery store lately?

Anonymous said...

I rather get in my boxers in front of everyone than receive ANY type of radiation... I dont care how little you claim it is... Also I would rather not have people looking at my frank and beans... And you are wrong the intelligent flyers realizes when something is ridiculous and not practical

Anonymous said...

U.s Security in top 1%??? Japan relaxed??

News flash people.. Alot of countries have security that is better than the "almighty TSA".. We just dont see the need to make a song and dance about showing power and creating the "visual progress" so many americans feel they need in their lives..

The first rule for any security "except in the U.S" , is subtlety.. A hunter with all the latest technology etc, will catch his/her prey by blending in with his/her surroundings, NOT by running around screaming "i'm gonna get ya"!!!!

Security is meant to be about protecting the privacy and rights of those you are there to protect, NOT showing how big and powerful you are, by treating those you are there to protect, like a criminal..

You will never catch anyone worthwhile with simply a visual deterent, no matter how good you make it look..

but hey, thats just my 2cents worth..

Anonymous said...

Look folks, I'm a forty something woman, mother of two. I seriously doubt anyone will get their jollies looking at an image of me. If you are one of the security employees that do.... drop me a line, I could use a date night.I have been around the world and believe you me I would much rather someone see a pic of me than be felt up again by that perv in South America.

Anonymous said...

Technically, it's an economic choice, just like anything else we spend our money on, cost vs. benefit. It's not mandatory or even an issue for all citizens of the US (or any other set of people), only that subset that decides that the flight plus the privacy invasion is worth a set amount of their money. I am still among that number, because trains and cars are still incur much more cost in the shape of time. Really, that's what it boils down to: our time is worth the privacy invasion.

Samantha L. said...

Nearly every time I fly, I get selected for "extra screening". My bags are searched and I'm patted down.

I've been willing to tolerate that in the name of "safety", despite the fact that I sincerely do not see the terrorism risk from a short, Caucasian teenage girl who's never even left the country.

However, I refuse to allow for this. I simply will not fly out of any airport where security can ask me to go through this scanner, regardless of any privacy measures that have been implemented. It's ridiculous, when the same items this is searching for could be found by a well done pat down.

I feel there is simply too much room for potential abuse and far too little use of correct profiling methods.

keystrike said...

So - when people are arrested for carrying weapons, won't it be useful to have the image stored for use as evidence? And then will come the arguments that we need to save the images. Just one theory.

Anonymous said...

The (small) TSA supplied images look like pencil drawing copies my grandchildren use to make. I would feel better if there was a monitor inside the detector that allowed the individual to see the exact same image as the TSA screener.

Anonymous said...

Do you really expect us to believe the images that are on the TSA website aer what you will actually see? I don't think so. No matter how you slice it, airport 'security' is a farce, disgusting AND invasive! I was sexually assaulted by two airport security employees, or I faced being arrested!!!"!!!!! AND missing my flight! This is sexual assault as well - having my private parts on display, oh wait they won't see my face..thank God I'll have SOME morsel of dignity left!

Holli said...

I am only 17, a naive adolescent in the eyes of our "wise" politicians, yet I understand that 9/11 was a serious catastrophe. The lives of innocent people were lost, as well as valuable business information and records.

I know that our federal government is installing this technology in the name of national security. But this what they've come to? A machine that allows the security guards to see us naked without probable cause?

Hey, I have an idea, let us hold a mass 4th amendment burning in celebration of our almighty power! Oh we're really going to leave terrorist heads spinning when we outwit them with this innovative contraption!

Oh the idea makes me sick! It is disgusting! Germany had the decency to ban the use of it. They're going to catch terrorists with good-old-fashioned intelligence. Are Americans that idiotic that they cannot do the same? I am an American so I'd like to think not.

And as for holding a vote, NO! This is not to even be considered! This is madness! (But this is politics.)

Basically, I am arguing that this scanner is a perversion of security and safety. I would rather take my chances with the risk of someone being a malicious hi-jacker, who escaped suspicion because the guard wasn't paying attention, than for We the People to be exploited by such measures.

Tiffani said...

I have an entirely different objection. From what I observed, the selection for body scanner victems didn't appear very random. I saw only women scanned, and the more attractive, the higher the probability of getting scanned. Another (female) coworker noticed the same thing. Better yet, my travel companion was wearing shorts, flip flops and a halter top. Where exactly did they think she was hiding a machine gun or grenade? If it's going to be random, then the TSA employee shouldn't be making the selection.

Anonymous said...

Regarding your comment, "...maybe that's the price we have to pay to live in a free country that some choose to hate."

What you said is a paradox. I'm not trying to be rude but you and too many Americans don't have the slightest idea of what was necessary to obtain and maintain our freedom. You don't understand our Bill of Rights and its importance in protecting us from the undying threat of tyranny. Selling out our 4th Amendment right of privacy actually makes us less free.

I submit to you, this quote by a true American genius who truly had to pay dearly to live in a free country.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1775

Historically, governments have taken one essential right. It seems insignificant, but later, they take another. This increases exponentially until the populace wakes up under tyranny. Consider the rise of Soviet Russia, North Korea, Mao's China or Nazi Germany. You can say this intrusion is for the greater safety of the innocent, but remember that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Our founding fathers tell us that our duty, as Americans, is to uphold the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." He’s not referring to terrorists; he’s referring to keeping watch on our liberty. I would suggest that a coward who would deprive our countrymen of their 4th Amendment right to privacy would be in violation of their patriotic duty to defend the Constitution. Couldn’t that same person be thought to “hate” this country and the liberties that make it so unique and great?

Life as a free person is inherently dangerous but has many rewards. Selling your dignity and privacy robs life of its zest.

I think Patrick Henry said it best:

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Anonymous said...

Finally, someone with some common sense. Our freedom has already been taken. 911 was a giant success. We no longer have freedom and are now slaves. The government will do whatever they want to. We have already been corraled and are justing waiting to be slaughtered. This is nothing compared to what's in store for us. Sitting behind a computer terminal and complaining is useless. Until we band together and step up to stop what's going on, you can bet it's going to continue on this downward spiral. Pretty soon no one will even remember that this once was the land of the brave and the free.

Anonymous said...

The terrorists have won! Before I knew about these electronic strip-search machines, I felt like we gave up alot of our freedom. Now I read about these machines already in use! I recently traveled using an airport with one of those machines. No one told me about the machine. I thought it was an enhanced metal detector. Now that I know about the machine, I feel violated like someone who discovered that there was a movie camera in the dressing room at the department store. Yes, this is going too far! You want security? How about placing armed police on every plane, and i don't mean just one or two plane-cloths police.

Anonymous said...

We can send people to the moon. Tell me why we can't find a way to detect explosives in a rational way?

Why not give passengers the option to pay for their own background checks to avoid the level of violation with the new backscatter machines?

Every victim of sexual assault or sexual abuse, every woman bearing a mastectomy scar will want to avoid flying. Just think of the millions of dollars of loss to the airline industry.

This kind of invasion is a violation of our privacy and dignity and won't stop terrorists from hiding plastic explosives under breasts and internally.

Let's have the TSA workers post their naked pictures at the screening site and then possibly we will consider baring all.

Anonymous said...

I will stop flying through any airports that use this technology. This is ridiculous. You need to screen the terrorist suspects better, not the average American citizen. You know how to profile terrorists. Do it.

Anonymous said...

The particular technology is irrelevant. The fact is, not everyone can be sent through these machines, only a small percentage of total travelers. So it is up to the TSA to determine if they will randomly select every 5th person, or will perhaps (I know it is crazy, but bear with me), send any of the 550,000 people on the terrorist watch lists, passengers on one-way tickets, passengers who purchased tickets with cash, passengers who originate from, or recently traveled to, terrorist supporting states (that info is in the passport, don't you know!), etc., etc., etc.

What good is a millimeter, backscatter, or trace portal, if you send the 80 year old Scandinavian grandmother through but ignore the Yemeni on a cash ticket because grandma won the intrusive search lottery?

Anonymous said...

its a violation it should be optional and if it better not make kids go through or im starting a boycott because thats violates child porn laws

Anonymous said...

While these new machines look like they may be effective, the last bomber-attempt originated in Amsterdam. The one before that in Paris. How many airports will be required to have these machines?

What will stop the terrorists from simply choosing an airport without them?

None of these previous attacks came from inter-state travel, they were all international, so why are we filling our own airports with them?

We need to focus on where the terrorists are coming from and better intel to guard our homeland.

Anonymous said...

these scanners are an invasion of privacy.

Anonymous said...

It is really worth flying if your destination is less than a 6 hour drive? Think about it you have to now arrive 3 to 4 hours before your flight. The odds your flight departs online is probably 50-50, add flight time of 1.5 hours. Arriving and waiting on your bags, 30 to 60mins then determining what has been removed from your bags, that you now need to repurchase, waste of another hour. So why bother…

So when will the rail travelers get introduced to the scanners? Coming to an Amtrak station near you SOON. You know it will happen at some point, in addition to entrances of all governmental buildings. The government is only seeking to protect its own, the safety of citizens are not their concern.

Anonymous said...

INVASION OF PRIVACY - plain and simple. Along with President Obama's recent executive order to allow INTERPOL complete freedom to operate in the U.S., without restrictions such as adhering to the Freedom of Information Act or scrutiny from our own FBI, we are slowly (rapidly!) losing our country and our Constitution!

Anonymous said...

What's next? Mandatory cavity searches for anyone that wants to get on a plane?

I seriously hope the airline companies realize how many customers they're going to lose due to TSA policies!

If full-body scanners get installed at every airport, I am never going to fly anywhere again. Honestly, if I wanted strangers looking at my genitals, I wouldn't be wearing clothes!

Dr N. Brown said...

In England our government has ignored privacy and human rights concerns and deemed anyone turning down the backscatter scan will be refused flight. In America the option of a pat down rather than the scan is offered, this is not the case in the UK.
Aside from the obvious privacy issues its also worth noting the scan is not recognised to be an improvement over a pat down which is equally fast, has not been proven to be any less effective, costs a hell of a lot less and does not expose its subjects to harmful x-ray radiation.
It is said these machines expose their subjects to minimal radiation and reports usually make comparisons to naturally occurring background radiation. This said ALL radiation is dangerous and presents risks however small, after all, given a choice wouldn’t you prefer to avoid background radiation too considering one in three of us die from cancer which is known to be caused in part by this naturally occurring radiation among environment and genetics?
In my opinion anyone conveying the “if you’re not a criminal you have nothing to worry about” mind set is missing several key points.

1. The backscatter imagery is known to be very, very clear unless deliberately distorted. It is reported to show lifelike black and white images of its subjects clearly showing facial and genital features bringing up the obvious human rights/privacy arguments.

2. As stated above, all radiation is potentially harmful and should be avoided whenever possible. In men there are greater risk factors still as even soft x-rays will penetrate the testicles which are a known high risk area where radiation is concerned.

3. This is the most recent controversial airport security check but where will it end? While people are adopting the “if you’re not a criminal you have nothing to worry about” mind set we are inviting further, perhaps more invasive measures. How long before vaginal and rectal examinations are required before we fly? Hell if you’re not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about though right?

Anonymous said...

if the machines have no capapbility "to save or store images" then how do you have those images on your website AND what prevents other people from attaining images from other machines?

Anonymous said...

Where do the x-rays from the backscatter device fall in the happy-feelly RF emissions graphic?

Are you really saying that x-rays are like RF from consumer electronics?

Anonymous said...

Radiation has an inherent property to accumulate, so even if a single scan produces a negligible dose, what about millions of scans per day, every day? Won't it turn the big airports into radiation reactors in several years? And what's about the airport workers who is constantly getting exposed? Has anyone done research on this??? TSA, can someone answer my question please!

Anonymous said...

I have flown three round trips to various destinations in the last 5 weeks. One trip involved going through the scanner at DFW. I found the older power crazed blonde who was barking orders at me about my hat and shoes and TSA approved belt much more irritating than anything else.

I started to say something to her then decided all I really wanted to do was make my flight to see my child. Saying something to a power crazed individual who was being very rude would have been counterproductive to my making my flight.

However, we all need to grow up and face the fact that there are people in this world who wish to harm us. Plain and simple this is the world we live in.

Given the choice between the scan and being dead because of some ideologist. I will take the scan.

And I will even put up with some verbal abuse from TSA.

Although I am looking around on their website for how to file a complaint.

Once I find out if they even have a process, If I have a lot of time before my flight I might just ask that woman for her name and id number for a complaint.

Anonymous said...

I'm a mature female who flies frequently from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa was one of the original airports to have one of the "new" scanners installed, nearly two years ago. I don't object to the scanner, or to the "search" which I have had twice. A Tulsa airport official was quoted yesterday in the Tulsa World as saying they had "had no complaints" since the installation.

Anonymous said...

The truth is we are in a war -- if you forget that just watch the two jetliners crashing into the World Trade Center to remind yourself. In the years since, Al Queda has attempted multiple times to create bombs, put them on aircraft, and blow them out of the sky. They have hid them in shoes, put them in underwear, hid them inside printer cartridges. How many airplanes have to blow up before EVERYONE gets it. If they make a machine that can detect hidden explosives on a person, and don't use it, and my relatives get killed because of a concern for "privacy" of the terrorists, we are a nation of idiots. I say if you don't want to put up with a security system that can INSURE that noone gets on an airplane carrying something under their clothing, then don't fly. Drive. The terrorists organizations arent working on knives and guns, because they get screened for those and the metal detectors find them. Soooo, they have switched to bombs, and if we don't understand that and react to that then we are idiots. I'm sure they are pushing hard to get everyone riled up to fight the TSA and help help them get their stuff on our airplanes. How many airplanes and passengers have to die before everyone "GETS IT?"

Abraham said...

I think this has been amplified by the fact that the last 15-20 years every form of government is passing laws controlling us more and more in the name of safety. Here in Margate Florida the city will give you a ticket if the fascia of your house is not in good repair, with interest it was 4 thousand dollars for a guy, or a ticket if your bushes are over 6 feet tall. They say it is safety. Then you have the county and the state with similar frivolous laws, and then when you expect the federal government to follow the constitution they pull a fast one like the healthcare, telling you either buy this product or I will fine you $700.00 for this year and who know next year it might be more. People are fed up with the government literally going into their pans. Enough is enough. Remember this? Give me liberty or give me death! Well this is where we are getting at; we are getting to the point that more and more people will say that. Is this the free country that we have built? Free of what? Free from the dangers that he have created? Did you have enough?

Larry said...

I am a frequent flier and I have no problems with the new scanning devices. The TSA have rules and regulations to flying, I know that we all have some differences with all types of rules and regulations, but the bottom line is this: you do not have to fly, there are other means of transportation. No one is making any of us use air flight. If you dont want to abide by the new rules, stay home or walk. I cant understand the big deal, suck it up and quite complaining. Try to act like an adult. Everyone knows what is under our clothin, trust me you have nothing unique there. Larry

Anonymous said...

It is patently clear that even you cannot condone use of the backscatter machines when you provide an actual image from the millimeter wave machine and a DRAWING of the image from the backscatter machine. SOLUTION - use your head and only use millimeter wave machines. When one technique is offensive and the other is not and they both achieve the same goal, you would have to be completely lacking in intelligence to use the offensive technique. Please demonstrate that those individuals who are responsible for our safety have a modicum of intellect and stop using the backscatter technique.

Anonymous said...

If the TSA is adamant about using advanced imaging devices, why not just deploy millimeter wave machines that do not use any radiation? By the TSA's own press statements both machines achieve the same goal. Replacing backscatters with millimeter wave machines would eliminate the radiation concerns held by millions of American taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Eliminate the backscatter devices in favor of those that use millimeter wave technology. It is prudent to believe accepted radiation physics theory that any accumulation of X-rays to living tissue is a bad thing and should be avoided wherever possible. There are no benefits of the backscatter over the millimeter technology that outweighs preventing any accumulation of tissue damage via X-rays emitted by the backscatter devices.

Anonymous said...

Are the millimeter wave and backscatter made to pinpoint a small amount of meth inside the anus of someone?

Anonymous said...

This post started May 27, 2008. I would request the TSA post a responce link based on the judgement in favor of EPIC regarding Civil Action No. 11-0290. TSA has wrongly withheld responsive agency records from EPIC” and “An EPIC FOIA lawsuit against DHS later revealed that TSA’s body scanner images can be stored and transmitted.”

Anonymous said...

This doesn't make us safer, it only makes the producers of these products, who lobby our government for their use, very wealthy. It just makes the rest of us late.

I'll vote for any politician who runs on getting rid of these silly rules and agencies.

Anonymous said...

Question = "Ok, so what is the difference between microwaves and millimeter waves? Aren't you just using fancy microwave machines?"

The answer in simple terms. Millimeter wave vs Microwave is their frequency/wavelength size. The higher frequency mm wave technology is used in high speed communications, because they carry more data than microwave.

Imagine i was directing a garden hose at your face and waving it up and down slowly. That would be microwave wavelength. If I then started moving in smaller strokes but faster, your face will get sprayed more with water. That smaller/faster strokes is like what millimeter wave is. We have some links that discuss the technology and more at miwv.com or on YouTube.com/MillimeterWaveTech

Anonymous said...

X-rays??? Millimeter, as in millimeter wave scanner, refers to the wavelength of radiation used by the scanner. Apparently, the wavelength used by the TSA scanners is 10 mm, making it microwave radiation. X-ray radiation wavelengths are measured in nanometers. As far as I know, there are NO x-rays used. These machines are probably dangerous, but not because of x-rays.

Joe G

Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia:
The prefix "micro-" in "microwave" is not meant to suggest a wavelength in the micrometer range. It indicates that microwaves are "small" compared to waves used in typical radio broadcasting, in that they have shorter wavelengths.
Microwaves are radio waves with wavelengths ranging from as long as one meter to as short as one millimeter.
The TSA uses 10 mm wavelength radiation, which is microwave radiation. Not x-ray radiation.

Joe G

Anonymous said...

After 9/11 you would think American citizens would take all available precautions available for the safety of our citizens and our nation! If they can fix the issue to make the machines automatically delete images after so many seconds or minutes, than hell yes we need them! If the operator does not ever see your face, then whats the problem? Chris Kapper said "The point is that if their own mother walked through, they would have no idea since you can't tell who it is" perfectly said! They technicians operating these machines should have the proper training to understand how important their job is; they would be protecting America from being bombed or a plane taken over again. If air passengers don't like these machines than they should be made go through a thorough pat down. Religious excuses are mainly from Islamic, which sorry to say is a little ironic, right? Get over yourselves the main concern here is the safety and protection of our nation and its citizens!