Body Scanners--Your Opinion

Apr 6th, 2011, 09:36 AM
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Body Scanners--Your Opinion

I recently flew out of Miami and they wanted me to go through the body scanner. I requested a pat-down. This is after going through the medal detector and no alarm going off. I was asked if I wanted it done in private and I said no. I was asked if I had any implants and I said, no, my mom tells me that is the way I was born. Then the flight crew came by and went through the medal detector and did not get the pat-down or scanner. A double standard?

I heard the pilots association has urged the pilots to not go through the scanners because they would need to too much. But what about the employees working behind the secured area at the airport? Should they go through the body scanners each day? At a large airport we are talking about hundreds of people who need to go through security more than pilots do. I'm assuming that pilots don't work six days a week.

I guess they started the scanner because of they underware bomber. But what if he had put the power in a carry-on bag and once through security he went to the bathroom and placed it in his underware?

When I get my teeth X-rayed, the dental technican walks out of the room during the X-ray and they place a large lead cover over my body.

If I had a job working with the TSA, I would not be too happy about working near those body scanners for eight hours a day. Just my opinion. Comments?
wally34949 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 10:06 AM
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If I had a job working for the TSA I would not be happy either

However, I don't think this bears any relation to your dentist visit LOL!

They started the scanner to "look like we a doing something" Something effective? Not really, but the Thousands Standing Around specialize in "theater of security" not real security!
CarolA is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 01:13 PM
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I also refuse body scans and request pat down -which has not been followed up. When I was a child our feet were xrayed everytime we bought new shoes in australia. We were always told how safe they were!!!
northie is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 01:26 PM
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My opinion- I think the TSA officer should lead everyone through the scanner. Eventually they will get cancer and die.
Ask for the DRE. What's a DRE? (Digital Rectal Exam) Doctors just love doing them.
I'm still angry about the people getting off an Amtrak train being herded into the station to be checked by the TSA.
The head of the Amtrak police was none too happy and ordered them not to show up at a station without his permission.
The other problem I had was my pants falling down because I had to run my belt through the scanner. I jam my wallet into my shoe to avoid having some jerk stealing money.
tomfuller is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 01:54 PM
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The pilots' union demanded that pilots be exempt from the whole body x-rays.
The flight attendants' union is now making the same demand.
TSA screeners are not regularly x-rayed ( nor patted down) when they pass to and from the "sterile" areas of the airport.
The people who work in airport shops and restaurants are not regularly x-rayed (nor patted down ) when they pass to and from the "sterile"areas of the airport.
The ground crew is not x-rayed. ( nor patted down.)
Cargo is not x-rayed.
It is only those persons who purchased an airline ticket and are trying to catch their flight who are subject to being x-rayed and/or patted down.

There are so many exemptions to the full body x-rays machines and pat downs that I believe what TSA is doing is nothing more than "security theater." It's all smoke and mirrors to me.
Add in the uncertainty of how the full body scanners are maintained and calibrated ,add the uncertainty of how much radiation the machines are actually emitting, and the fact that those scanners are being operated by people who are not x-ray technicians then you know why I opt out of the scanners every time I'm directed towards one.
Green_P is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 08:07 PM
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Thanks for your comments. I have heard several people say that if there is another terrorism attact it will be an inside job--most likely people working inside an airport.
wally34949 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 06:48 AM
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And remember that at least one of the liquid bomb plotters worked for the airport... EXEMPT! (And then there was the FA that sat her plane on fire etc..) Just because you work for an airport/airline does not mean "you are not a terrorist" but the TSA lives in a world where (a) terrorists fly using known names (b) terrorists are only passengers (c) terrorists would never just attack an airport (See Moscow), (d) screaming is an effective deterrent and so on......
CarolA is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 06:49 AM
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Let me point out that I do go through the body scanner. I fly weekly I am not really worried about this. If "radiation" is that big a concern maybe you should consider the fact that you get a lot of exposure in the plane!
CarolA is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 08:30 AM
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Yep, I am aware of the exposure to radiation while I'm on a plane. I'm also aware of being exposed to radiation while I go about my daily activites. In most cases there is relatively little I can control about those exposures.

I can ( at least for the present) opt-out of being irradiated by TSA's scanners.
Green_P is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 08:36 AM
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I heard on the news a few days ago that it takes 50 airport scannings to equal the radiation gotten in one dental X-ray. We love to travel, so have accepted whatever is required by the traveler these days.
1965 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2011, 03:53 AM
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I fly once every couple of months. I would be a lot more concerned if I was a frequent flyer passing through those things on a regular basis.
flyer is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 09:26 AM
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I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago at a MidWest airport, not a hotbed of terrorist activity. The security line was very short and obviously the TSA needed to paly with their new toy.

In any event, I was "selected" for the body scanner. No way. The pat down took about another 2 minutes and I was on my way. The scanners are ineffective (except at irradiating you), were a result of Chertoff's lobbying and a colossal waste of time and money. Operated by people with little training they should be scrapped entirely. There was a recent news report, perhaps in the NYTimes or on Bloomberg, where radiologists were quizzed about whether they submit to the scanners. The results were interesting. Likewise, the technology itself is new. Epi stuides on such exposures are non existent. In ten years time those who submit to these machines can let us all know how this silliness works out for them.
tengohambre is offline  
Apr 15th, 2011, 04:31 PM
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Personally, I would opt out (fortunately, haven't gotten "lucky" yet), but I don't fault anyone for choosing not to opt out -- it's a lot easier to just follow directions, and it's not clear to what degree the body scanners are unsafe.

From what I've read, the millimeter wave scanners are likely safer than the backscatter x-ray machines, because we don't know much about the health effects of millimeter waves and there aren't any obvious causes for concern, whereas we know that x-rays are ionizing radiation and damage DNA. Furthermore, the backscatter x-rays are exactly the ones that are carefully filtered out by conventional medical x-ray machines precisely because they don't penetrate human tissue well, resulting in the x-ray dosage being concntrated on the skin. The safety of the x-ray machines is dependent on keeping the dosage really really low, which is how the machines are designed.

I believe the millimeter wave machines are more common in Europe, whereas in the US, I mainly see the backscatter x-ray machines. Guess which kind is made by the company Chertoff consulted for.

The Health Physics Society (a professional organization for folks dealing with radiation in medical situations) points out how low the radiation exposure is, and therefore, that the tiny increase in health risk is a worthwhile trade-off (assuming a properly functioning, calibrated, and operated machine, of course, and also assuming uniform distribution of the radiation):

And I trust the HPS not to be industry shills, as, for example, they issued a statement against whole-body CAT scans (unless specifically needed to diagnose someone for something they have a high risk of having).

On the other hand, many top scientists do express concern. Most public was this open letter, by several distinguished scientists at UCSF (one of the top medical centers in the world):

These are also folks I trust to know what they are talking about, and they raise valid issues. Note that they do not say that the machines are "unsafe", nor do the HPS folks say they are "safe" -- that's the nature of good scientific discussion. They are all working to quantify and minimize the risk, and inform the public, and we ultimately must make a policy decision about whether that risk and cost and inconvenience is worth benefit of making certain, specific terrorist scenarios less easy.

While all the good smart folks are figuring out exactly how safe this stuff is, I'm going to opt out.

(As an aside, and I admit this is an unfair and alarmist analogy, when the UCSF folks raised the issue of possible bugs in the software controlling the radiation scanning, that argument really resonated with me, since I'm a computer person. Google "Therac 25" if you haven't heard about this case. It's a real, horrifying case, in which several people died horrible deaths, due to buggy software controlling a radiation therapy machine. I'm sure there are many other horror stories out there, but this case was particularly well-documented and anlyzed, and is a standard example used to train computer scientists on the risks of software control and their ethical responsibility.)
SelfPropelledTripod is offline  
Apr 16th, 2011, 01:50 PM
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I am not really concerned about the X-ray scans, but what I object to is the humiliation of groping by TSA personnel of innocent civilians who are guilty only of buying a ticket. Let's call it what is its, groping, not patdown. In the next election, I will vote against any candidate who supports this, even candidates for president, no matter how much I agree with him/her on everything else. Not only are these X-ray, grope sessions just security theatre, they are a type of sexual abuse that is illegal in all 50 states. But the TSE is above the law and the constitution. I would be especially upset if I went through the X-ray scan and still got groped. This will probably continue until a terrorist attack occurs on the lines backed up by this bit of security theatrics. And then the TSA will brag that it kept the terrorists off the airplane.
sumrcr is offline  
Apr 21st, 2011, 05:52 PM
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I can only echo the words of many of the above posts. I don't need any additional radiation. I believe the WBI/AIT scan is an invasion of my privacy and a violation against unlawful search and seizure. I'm sure the TSA clerks are drinking the TSA kool-aid and will continue to do so until they start seeing symptoms of radiation poisoning years from now. I have no confidence that the WBI/AIT serves any useful purpose and I have no confidence that what the TSA is doing is any more useful than the screening being done 12 years ago. It is a dog-and-pony show for the travelers and airport workers are not screened.
RonDace is offline  
Apr 24th, 2011, 01:42 PM
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Without going into specifics...

The company I work for provides a service for one of the major airlines at our airport. To get to the area in need of service, our delivery truck (similar to a UPS/Fedex type truck) is sent to gate X and waits for airport ground personnel and local law enforcement. Law enforcement shows up, we open the back of the truck, they glance around at ground level, we shut the doors, get back in, the gate opens, and we're on our merry way, following the ground personnel truck.
And that 'inspection' happens less than half the time. It's more like theatrics than an actual 'search'.

We actually get to drive our truck on the tarmac, following the escort truck to the section we provide our service (underneath a concourse, and within 100-200 feet of at least two planes at any given time). Timing is everything, as we've learned when the heavy push times are, and when things are quiet enough where we're not waiting hours for an escort crew.

Sometimes we would finish at the site, and have to wait for an escort back to the access gate. One day while waiting, I decided to get a closer look at one of the planes. As I walked over towards a plane, nobody stopped me, hollered, tackled, or anything else or that nature. I WAS ABLE TO PHYSICALLY TOUCH THE UNDERBELLY OF THE AIRCRAFT !!!!!

For what our company does, someone could put just about anything potentially hazardous in the delivery truck. There are also places on the truck for a person to not be seen, save for a full top to bottom search of the truck.

It always amazed my co-worker and I how relatively easy it was for someone to gain access to the inside of the airport, where someone could potentially do the most damage.

We provide the same types of service at the local shopping malls and stadiums. We use the corridors & tunnels behind or underneath those establishments.
Part of my job consisted of 'filling-in' on routes where a driver was on vacation. So there I would be, an unfamiliar face in a company jacket, going just about anywhere I wanted to, with no one ever asking me for any credentials. Here and there someone would ask where the regular guy was. I would tell them he's on vacation.
Put on a delivery uniform, carry a clipboard and push around a cart or two-wheel dolly, and you can go virtually anywhere.

Lance71 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 08:41 PM
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Lance71, very interesting post!

At some level, it's scary. But at some level, I actually find your post reassuring: there are innumerable ways for terrorists to harm us, and there's no way we can even imagine them all, not to mention trying to prevent every possibility we can't even think of. The fact that aircraft security is so lax, yet we've had so few incidents, means that there really aren't that many terrorists out there, they aren't very effective, and we're pretty good at catching the few bad apples that do exist. Even including 9/11, the odds of dying in a terrorist incident are negligible. People are overwhelmingly good, honest, and well-intentioned, and it's important to be reminded of that fact, so we don't over-react to terrorism and harm ourselves in the name of "security". If we don't feel terror, we've denied the terrorists their primary objective.
SelfPropelledTripod is offline  
May 1st, 2011, 01:20 AM
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If that's the price of travel I'm happy to pay it! My body is too old for anyone to want to scan or pat for other than legitimate reasons and radiation doesn't scare me (Japan excepted).

Any TSA staffer who gets their jollies 'groping' me is a sad case. And if they go too far with my hubby, BIG problems. We have had one detailed examination (in Minneapolis); I've had more detailed examinations at my hairdresser. If it keeps them happy, they can go for it.
madgicsh is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 12:34 AM
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Has anyone here tried any of the new scanner-proof clothing yet? I'm trying to decide if I want to buy some for an upcoming flight. I haven't flown since the special scanners were launched.
sunny16 is offline  
May 5th, 2011, 05:06 AM
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Scanner-proof clothing? If they can't see through you, you'll just get a pat-down. Which you can do already - just tell them you want a pat-down instead of scanning.
rkkwan is offline  

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