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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

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[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...

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