Air Travel Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

TSA Eliminates Backscatter X-Ray Nude Body Scanners

Jump to last reply

More good news:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/01/tsa-abandons-nude-scanners/

Unfortunately, they are getting rid of only the backscatter x-ray machines, sold by Rapiscan, but not the millimeter-wave body scanners. So, we're still saddled with slow, highly expensive, and not very effective technology (*). But the good news is that X-rays are known to be dangerous; the only scientific debate is how safe the possible exposure levels are (**). So, it's good to get rid of those. Millimeter waves have not been well studied, but at least we don't know of any reason why they'd be dangerous.

The decision is apparently due not to abstract scientific safety concerns, or cost effectiveness, but because Rapiscan couldn't get their software right in time to do the automated target recognition. So, this is a win for privacy, as only a computer will see the "nude" images. I'm sure politics had nothing to do with this at all. (***)

(*) The whole "enhanced imaging device" nude scanner thing was driven by the Underwear Bomber, but the scary thing is that al Qaeda has already used a rectum bomb in an assassination attempt:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_Hassan_Al_Aseery

(**) With a properly functioning and calibrated scanner, assuming the X-rays are absorbed uniformly by the body, the dosage level is tiny and poses extremely low risk. The concerns are that the backscatter X-ray frequencies tend to be absorbed concentrated in and near the skin, increasing the dose; that the machines might not always be maintained or calibrated properly (and TSA forbids agents from wearing radiation badges, reducing safety in an effort to make people feel safe); and that the software controlling the scanning might fail, resulting in a concentrated X-ray dosage.

(***) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/23/fear_pays_chertoff_n_787711.html

2 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

  • Announcement: Writers Needed for Morocco Guidebook
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Apr 11, 14 at 05:51 PM
View all Air Travel activity »
  1. 1 Don't fly UNITED Airlines...they are pirates
  2. 2 Delta in Amsterdam
  3. 3 UNITED Airlines does not recognize Star Alliance Gold Status Benefits
  4. 4 MAKING CONNECTION CDG - 3 HOURS
  5. 5 United Airlines
  6. 6 Layover Time
  7. 7 Best Time to Buy II: The Domestic Question
  8. 8 Beware of Bravofly
  9. 9 AA FF Miles to Europe and Asia
  10. 10 Turkish Airlines in the UK
  11. 11 Recent experience with TSA pre-check
  12. 12 International flight to domestic connection at Atlanta Airport
  13. 13 Has anyone had experience with Iflybusiness.com?
  14. 14 airlines drop fares on tues or wed.
  15. 15 Baggage and two separate tickets
  16. 16 When to buy tickets
  17. 17 Business class discounted brokers. Fly with class.com
  18. 18 Toronto Airport - Sheraton Gateway Hotel for a long layover?
  19. 19 TSA hand wipe
  20. 20 Delta question?
  21. 21 Layover in London
  22. 22 AAdvantage DevAAluation
  23. 23 Transit in Dubai Airport Terminal 3
  24. 24 British Air or Air France
  25. 25 Connectiing in CDG good or bad?
View next 25 » Back to the top