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November 19th, 2010

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05:39 pm - Security Theater – Perhaps One Step Too Far
Presumably everyone reading this has heard about the various nonsense being promoted by the TSA, with the unpleasant choice between scanners that are both intrusive and risky and impressively degrading pat-downs. What I haven't seen nearly as much about is the fact that two very different sorts of scanners are being used, which one is used depends upon the particular airport.

here's a useful article which discusses the difference between both the risks and the image quality of backscatter x-rays and mm wave radar, and here are some more mm wave radar images . It's pretty clear that backscatter x-rays produces what amounts to pictures of people naked under their clothes, and that mm wave radar reveals far less detail. In addition, mm wave radar have (depending upon the study) either no or limited health risks, while backscatter x-ray scanners sound like a truly excellent way to get skin cancer (it's non-penetrating, so it won't do anything else, but some types of skin cancer are exceedingly lethal).

It's fairly clear that all of this is essentially security theater designed to appease fear-mongers in the right-wing media and the people who listen to them, and none of it is remotely necessary. At this point, the sensible option is to abandon the entire effort with the scanners, but if that proves politically impossible, it seems that the absolute minimum that should be done is to scrap the backscatter x-ray machines and gradually replace them with mm wave radar scanners.

In any case, it will be interesting to see if we've finally reached the point that the US public is honestly not willing to put up with more security nonsense. If that's true, it might also mean that more of the US population is finally getting the hell over 9/11 and ludicrous fears about terrorism. I initially believed that the protests over this would be largely ignored, until amberite pointed out to me that the current policy with using the backscatter x-ray scanners amounts to parents subjecting their children to either having naked pictures taken of them (naked pictures that could easily be photographed and put on-line) or invasively groped by strangers. If anything kills this nonsense, I suspect that will.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

(9 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:November 20th, 2010 04:00 am (UTC)
Not that it changes anything, but --

The TSA has decided not to subject children under 12 to the enhanced pat-downs. Link: http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2010-11-17-tsa-pat-downs-children_N.htm
[User Picture]
Date:November 20th, 2010 10:15 am (UTC)
From an article surfed to from teaotter's link:

Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., said that the pat-downs had gone too far.

"I'm frankly bothered by the level of these pat-downs," he said. "I've seen them first hand at airports in Florida. I wouldn't want my wife to be touched like that."

He worries about his wife being touched, but doesn't mention himself. I LOVE OUR SOCIETY. /sarcasm
Date:November 20th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)
Actually, he did mention himself. The full quote: "I wouldn't want my wife to be touched in the way these folks are being touched. I wouldn't want to be touched that way."

[User Picture]
Date:November 21st, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
Why the emphasis on his wife?
Date:November 21st, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
(earlier reply deleted for tone)

You know how this sounds to me? This comes across like you think that misquoting him is of no consequence, and the only truly important thing is the point you wanted to make. Is that really what you wanted?
[User Picture]
Date:November 20th, 2010 10:54 am (UTC)
I probably will never fly until all airport security is gone. But if I do fly, I intend to take a viagra and maybe some yohimbe before getting a pat down search so I have a big erection. Then I intend to be very loud. What are you doing to me, you pervert! Why are you fondling my genitals. You are truly a sick person!
[User Picture]
Date:November 20th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC)
I would not be surprised if some kinksters are playing The TSA Screener and the Bad Airline Passenger...
[User Picture]
Date:November 20th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
What I find interesting is that right-wing pundits and Republicans are some of the people screaming the loudest about this recent TSA debacle. Both Glen Beck and Ron Paul have weighed in against the new scanners and invasive pat-downs. While I'm not a fan of either man or the policies they push, it heartens me to know that some of the most visible conservative talking heads are against the TSA on this one.



[User Picture]
Date:November 24th, 2010 02:43 am (UTC)
I object less in theory to the mm wave, but it still picks up prostheses. That means anyone with a prosthetic breast, an ostomy bag, etc. is going to be noticed. Also, I suspect that the TSA would take an unwelcome interest in anyone who binds hir chest with some of this.

Pending changes which would prohibit it, I'm still going for the grope when I fly in Feb.

(Linking to some of this, btw. Thanks for posting it!)

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