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TSA gets Xray goggles. No, seriously.
June 13, 2008 1:27 PM   Subscribe

Scanners that see through clothing installed in US airports. Good news! No more testing. Time to roll these puppies out. It's OK though, seriously guys. See we're gonna blur the faces when we look at their sexual organs, so everything's cool. K? Prev.
posted by allkindsoftime (185 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder how quickly these will go away when someone starts posting pictures to the internet?

Or the lawsuits that will happen when one of the operators gets a lascivious look on their face?
posted by chimaera at 1:34 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wonder how long it will take Internet porn sites to feature a "backscatter fetish" top-level category.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 1:41 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I wonder how long it'll take for them to find a bomb, gun, or other implement of bringing down a plane. If it's soon, they can look at my wiener whenever I fly. If it gets me through security quicker, they can look twice.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:45 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


So, what is the point of this if people can just get a pat down anyway? Is it a lot faster? Does it save on manpower? Will male screeners only look at male passengers and female screeners look at female passengers? Is there anything in place to stop someone from taking out a camera and snapping a picture of a particularly interesting scan? Won't erasing the stored image keep us from catching the perpetrator?

Anyway, thanks for giving us the choice between the option to have someone touch us in way that usually requires at least one date and the option to generate a freakish, nude image of ourselves that will totally never EVAR end up on the internet. Yay for the TSA!
posted by Alison at 1:45 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wonder how long it will take Internet porn sites to feature a "backscatter fetish" top-level category.
It's getting there.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:45 PM on June 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


I guess now would be a good time to fashion some ceramic lettering that says "Fuck You" and sew it on the inside of one of my coats.
posted by hellojed at 1:45 PM on June 13, 2008 [7 favorites]


So, what is the point of this if people can just get a pat down anyway?
"The booths close around the passenger and emit "millimeter waves" that go through cloth to identify metal, plastics, ceramics, chemical materials and explosives, according to the TSA."
So it's performing a patdown and chemical sniffing all in one motion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:49 PM on June 13, 2008


it allows the security screeners -- looking at the images in a separate room -- to clearly see the passenger's sexual organs as well as other details of their bodies,

It kind of makes me want to get one of those Boogie Nights prosthetics just to raise a few eyebrows behind the scanner.

"Check it out, this guy is a tripod!"
posted by quin at 1:54 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


So it's performing a patdown and chemical sniffing all in one motion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:49 PM on June 13 [+] [!]


It's just radar. It can't tell C4 from silly putty.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:54 PM on June 13, 2008


Will passengers be told that they can opt-out and go for the traditional pat down? I suspect not.
posted by Vindaloo at 1:54 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guess there's no point in stuffing a sock into my underpants anymore.
posted by trueluk at 1:54 PM on June 13, 2008


FUTURENEWS: Vomit clean-up in security lines causes unforeseen delays...
posted by Navelgazer at 1:57 PM on June 13, 2008


I am seriously confused at the reticence expressed towards this. Are we all so prudish that a trained (semi)-professional glancing at our genitalia gets us all atwitter? Seriously, it's like I've gone back in time and am surrounded by Victorians. Who gives a shit about someone seeing an x-ray of my junk. I get privacy concerns, but you give up those rights when you get on an aircraft, you have for 20 years now.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:59 PM on June 13, 2008 [9 favorites]


What do the TSA people do when an exhibitionist comes through displaying their, um, aroused state?

And when it's my turn, will I have to loudly protest that I just got out of the pool?
posted by chimaera at 2:00 PM on June 13, 2008


I loved this in Total Recall.
posted by Mister_A at 2:03 PM on June 13, 2008


> ...we're gonna blur the faces when we look at their sexual organs...

"Hey, pilot, we have a problem. Somebody on your plane smuggled a bomb in his pants -- we didn't notice until we were reviewing the inspections."
"Damn. Well, who is it?"
"We, uh... well, he's a guy, anyway. We think. The explosive was in the way of his, uh, area. If it's a him."
posted by ardgedee at 2:07 PM on June 13, 2008


My favorite part was where they said the agent has no way to print or save the picture, and it gets deleted pretty quick. Right. So when somebody gets past with something harmful (it will probably be some reporter testing the system), they'll have no way to look back at the scan? Smart.

Are we all so prudish that a trained (semi)-professional glancing at our genitalia gets us all atwitter?

I don't need to add TSA agents to the list of women following me around, ogling the bulge, dude.


(ok, I just wanted to say ogling the bulge, I admit it)
posted by cashman at 2:09 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guess there's no point in stuffing a sock cucumber wrapped in tin foil into my underpants anymore.

Fixed that for you.
posted by mhum at 2:09 PM on June 13, 2008


I am seriously confused at the reticence expressed towards this.

The issue is that this is just more security theater that won't do a damned thing to protect you from a terrorist with a stick of dynamite up his ass.
posted by Pyry at 2:12 PM on June 13, 2008 [8 favorites]


Are we all so prudish that a trained (semi)-professional glancing at our genitalia gets us all atwitter?

Maybe not you, or a few serial flashers, or whoever, but unless you're my doctor or someone I'm about to get really, really friendly with, you're pretty much on the list of people-who-don't-get-to-see-my-junk.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:12 PM on June 13, 2008 [9 favorites]


Maybe not you, or a few serial flashers, or whoever, but unless you're my doctor or someone I'm about to get really, really friendly with, you're pretty much on the list of people-who-don't-get-to-see-my-junk.

Yeah, because yours is special and unique.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:15 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Of course, it's company policy never to imply ownership in the event of a dildo.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:16 PM on June 13, 2008


Are we all so prudish that a trained (semi)-professional glancing at our genitalia gets us all atwitter?

I don't think it's a question of prudishness. It's a question of the erosion of privacy. And furthermore are we all so terrified and cowed by terrorists that we're willing to let airport screeners examine our junk?
posted by delmoi at 2:16 PM on June 13, 2008 [35 favorites]


My favorite part was where they said the agent has no way to print or save the picture, and it gets deleted pretty quick. Right. So when somebody gets past with something harmful (it will probably be some reporter testing the system), they'll have no way to look back at the scan? Smart.

No, see, they're reviewing it while you're still in the chamber. If they see something suspicious, they press a button, the doors lock and all the oxygen is evacuated.
posted by anazgnos at 2:19 PM on June 13, 2008 [6 favorites]



The issue is that this is just more security theater that won't do a damned thing to protect you from a terrorist with a stick of dynamite up his ass.


And considering all the bullshit security theater we currently endure (take your shoes off. remove laptop from bag. Show your boarding pass to 87 people, including the washroom attendant) at least this measure seems slightly beneficial opposed to the others that exist merely to make Dittoheads feel better about their gubmints war on terrah.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:23 PM on June 13, 2008


I am seriously confused at the reticence expressed towards this. Are we all so prudish that a trained (semi)-professional glancing at our genitalia gets us all atwitter? Seriously, it's like I've gone back in time and am surrounded by Victorians. Who gives a shit about someone seeing an x-ray of my junk. I get privacy concerns, but you give up those rights when you get on an aircraft, you have for 20 years now.

For the simple reason that it's a double standard. Right now, airport security can stop you from boarding a plane for wearing a T-shirt with the (cartoon) picture of a gun on it, or Arabic lettering, or a political slogan, or because it is too tight, too loose, too revealing.

Now, they want to look under your clothes. It takes the already insane and arbitrary criteria for who is a security threat, decided by outsourced incompetents given minimum training and pay, to whole new levels. Taped ribs from a too-enthuiastic game of football with your family during the holidays? Security threat.

And taking it into the world of the truly surreal, the next generation of this scanner (and you know they are working on it) will likely be expontentially higher in resolution. Hey, if you're fine with being scanned under your clothes, you should have no problem with dick profiling.

"Hey Bob, that look like an Arab dick to you?"
"Sure, could be. Let's drag him out of line."
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:24 PM on June 13, 2008 [12 favorites]


"Are we all so prudish that a trained (semi)-professional glancing at our genitalia gets us all atwitter?"

My experiences flying the last few years have cemented my opinion that the TSA security folks are some of the most inept and stupid people anywhere. So when you trot out your little tsk-tsk smugness I should point out this quote should be -

"Are we all so prudish that a inept moron with an authority complex glancing at our genitalia gets us all atwitter?"

We aren't talking about trained professionals here. We're talking about people unable to get a good job who have watched a few Powerpoint presentations.
posted by Ragma at 2:25 PM on June 13, 2008 [26 favorites]


you give up those rights when you get on an aircraft, you have for 20 years now.

it's 2021 already?
posted by quonsar at 2:26 PM on June 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


Just to state the obvious: prudes or not, many people out there will have (justified) cultural and/or religious problems with this.
posted by naju at 2:26 PM on June 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, because yours is special and unique.

I can juggle with mine, so yeah, it is.

I wonder how the wet-suit-and-dildo wing of the Republican party is going to respond to this?
posted by ryoshu at 2:28 PM on June 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


Remember there are people on MeFi that actually don't fly because they think the security is too much.
posted by smackfu at 2:28 PM on June 13, 2008


Also, it will be interesting to see the reaction when one of Fakir Musafar's[0] protégés goes through one of these machines:

"You did what to your WHAT!?!"

[0] - not safe for...most anyone
posted by ryoshu at 2:35 PM on June 13, 2008


The thing is, making me remove my shoes insults my intelligence. Not letting me take a bottle of water on a plane screams at me "YOU ARE A TOTALLY MORON". In the grand scheme of idiotic pseudo security measures, screening under clothes seems somewhat more sensible than ensuring I don't have nail clippers in my toiletries bag.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:36 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Last month flying out of Las Vegas I was asked to stand in a machine by TSA. I had to remove my shoes and leave them on a table. The agent told me I would feel puffs of air. It felt like 100's of high pressure bursts of air in no certain order all over my body. I didn't like it. I asked the agent what was the machine for, he replied it is sniffing for explosives. DID HE LIE? Was this one of the body scanners?
posted by JujuB at 2:36 PM on June 13, 2008


Meh, I could care about the prudes, I just object to the whole security theatre BS thing. The era of hijacking ended on September 11 of 2001, its over, there will not be any further hijackings. Prior to that time the smart thing to do was cooperate with the hijackers, after that every passenger knows that the hijackers could very well be planning on using them as part of a missile, so the smart thing to do is take the risk of fighting them.

Increasing airport security, at this point in history, is a waste of money, brains, and time. Its just right wing welfare for the incompetent, but abusive, twits hired by TSA. The last thing they need is more expensive toys.
posted by sotonohito at 2:38 PM on June 13, 2008 [11 favorites]


What's funny about Brandon Blatcher's Google search link is that this is the result, emphasis mine:

TSA gets Xray goggles. No, seriously. | MetaFilter
I wonder how long it will take Internet porn sites to feature a "backscatter fetish" top-level category. It's getting there. ...
www.metafilter.com/72510/TSA-gets-Xray-goggles-No-seriously - 36 minutes ago -


This seems very close to a violation of causality. Mr. Blatcher, please report for punishment.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:39 PM on June 13, 2008


The main point of this seems to be that it's as revealing as a pat down or strip search, but doesn't take as long (and might not piss people off as much). So how many people would consent to those to be able to fly?

I gotta fly through one of these airports a week from today. I bet that people who bought their roundtrip tickets and used half of them already aren't exempt from this. And I already really debating driving the 10 hours it would have taken, but decided I didn't quite trust my car. Damn it.
posted by dilettante at 2:40 PM on June 13, 2008


Nothing gets me into screamy-ranty crazy guy mode than the giant sham that is modern airport security. So I'll try to be calm.

Is there any reasoning whatsoever why this is even necessary? It just sems to me like opposing this on privacy concerns is less important than somehow forcing the TSA to come up with real security measures that are based on the realities of air travel. You have millions of people using the system with zero intent for harm, and no capacity to accidentally disrupt the system. Which to me is the kicker. I can't accidentally bring a plane down with a pair of nail clippers of 4oz bottle of shampoo, then using resources to eliminate those items is a waste, if your system has no methods whatsoever to determine intent. If someone knows more about this, and I'm wrong, i'd love a better explanation.

I'm a pretty easygoing guy, but nothing sends me into a blind rage as quickly as the requirement that I remove my shoes to go through airport security.

argh.

I don't mind you looking at my man-parts. but at least have a legitimate reason for doing so.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:40 PM on June 13, 2008


They can absolutely do this so long as we don't have to put up with silly liquid bans and freakouts over LEDs, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on June 13, 2008


DID HE LIE? Was this one of the body scanners?

I do not see any technological reason for these body scanners to blow puffs of air at you, while an explosives sniffer would. It's possible they could build a body scanner into the explosives scanner, but I think that unlikely at this point.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:42 PM on June 13, 2008


CheeseburgerBrown: "I wonder how long it will take Internet porn sites to feature a "backscatter fetish" top-level category."

The real dirty girls do backscatter, side scatter, and forward scatter.
In any order you want!
posted by Science! at 2:44 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, what is the point of this if people can just get a pat down anyway? Is it a lot faster? Does it save on manpower? Will male screeners only look at male passengers and female screeners look at female passengers? Is there anything in place to stop someone from taking out a camera and snapping a picture of a particularly interesting scan? Won't erasing the stored image keep us from catching the perpetrator?

As the article mentioned, they have (at least) one at Schiphol. They use it instead of an ordinary security gantry, for non-EU citizens. Instead of just walking through the gantry, you have to enter the machine and stand with lifted arms for three seconds, but that's still a lot faster than a manual pat down. The rest of the security procedure works as usual.
posted by effbot at 2:49 PM on June 13, 2008


And to think, there used to be a time when I could get in trouble for waving my junk at airport security. Well, now the balls are in the other sack!
posted by Krrrlson at 2:52 PM on June 13, 2008 [9 favorites]


If you haven't been doing anything wrong with your genitals, you have nothing to fear.

You haven't, have you?
posted by No-sword at 2:59 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


As an unrepentant peeping tom who would like to look at all of you naked will drooling and masturbating, let me thank the TSA for finally creating a job that will allow me to contribute to society in (what some, at least) believe is a useful way while still getting my rocks off.

Heck, I will apply for double shifts. Triple shifts even.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:59 PM on June 13, 2008


Joey Michaels - you can't make us think less of the TSA, sorry.
posted by Artw at 3:03 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Over the last several years, I have noticed that the people who "don't care" about each new security procedure are louder and more aggressive in their "indifference". What if they do care, but convince themselves they don't, because their self image dictates they would have to do something about it?

Our society demands more submissiveness and compliance every year. It is not just TSA, you can see it in the schools, and at the workplace. Even our entertainment has the seen a proliferation of entertainment based on surveillance and/or judging.

I am not trying to insult anyone or make a judgment. Individuals that try to buck the system alone are not going to get anywhere. Things need to get so bad that the majority starts to feel that enough is enough. I guess we are not there yet.
posted by b1ff at 3:05 PM on June 13, 2008 [18 favorites]


^Heck, I will apply for double shifts. Triple shifts even.

Hell, I'm gonna fly MORE now.
posted by not_on_display at 3:06 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I looked through all the links (including the older MeFi posts) and the "shocking imagery" is conspicuously absent. Even a NYT piece on this used a slapstick cartoon about X-rays. That backscatter pic of the female TSA official is not all that shocking... it's about as graphic as a mannequin's skin. Phone me when there are real pics and something to get shocked about.
posted by crapmatic at 3:08 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Will male screeners only look at male passengers and female screeners look at female passengers?

I'd rather it were the other way around. I don't want some guy appreciating my junk. I'm cool with the ladies seeing it all.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:09 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it's entirely possible to be for useful and effective security measures and the whole not-blowing-up thing and against the intrusive and pointless security theatre of the last few years, b1ff.
posted by Artw at 3:11 PM on June 13, 2008


"Are we all so prudish that a trained (semi)-professional glancing at our genitalia gets us all atwitter?

I don't need to add TSA agents to the list of women following me around, ogling the bulge, dude."


The potato goes in front.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:12 PM on June 13, 2008 [12 favorites]


Artw - Shhh! I'm hoping to derail this conversation into peeping tom cyber.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:13 PM on June 13, 2008


So, let me get this right...

I get to display my junk to trained semi-professionals for free?

God bless America!
posted by Samizdata at 3:17 PM on June 13, 2008


In all honesty, I'd be perfectly happy with this screening under two conditions:
(a) that it not be harmful to me (are they microwaving my body?)
(b) all the other security theatre bullshit stops.

I believe the latest carry-on scanners don't require me to unpack every damn thing I own. So couple them with the full body scan, and I should be able to get through security in about 30 seconds, without any hassles at all.

That works for me.

Having to unpack my shit, get my crotch patted-down by some McDonald's reject, answer a bunch of stupid questions, take my shoes off to share foot disease with everyone, be wanded, lose my water bottle, and have to log into my g.d. computer to prove it's not going to blow up or show kiddy porn on my desktop is unreasonable.

By comparison, this is quite reasonable.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:19 PM on June 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


Actually, having been through some level of personal physical inspection (apparently my CPAP triggered the explosives detector), I find this an acceptable substitute. Less directly intrusive and more time efficient.

And, if someone has a laugh at my naked body, more power to them. I sure know it makes me laugh...
posted by Samizdata at 3:20 PM on June 13, 2008


five fresh fish -

Ooooh, logging in to your laptop now?

Not only do I carry WAY too many electronics that take forever to unpack and repack in my gear bag, but my laptop is dual boot. I should be pissing off ALL sorts of people then.
posted by Samizdata at 3:22 PM on June 13, 2008


So it's supposedly random, who gets pulled aside?

If that's anything like the current system of "random"--where it's actually very much up to the discretion of TSA agents thinking that someone "looks" like they need an extra inspection--I foresee future terror cells trying to recruit folks who you can tell look really damn scary naked.

Will it be able to detect razors, explosives, etc. taped into....rolls?
posted by availablelight at 3:26 PM on June 13, 2008


Not letting me take a bottle of water on a plane screams at me "YOU ARE A TOTALLY MORON"

I WITH TOTALLY AGREE YOU
posted by dersins at 3:26 PM on June 13, 2008 [12 favorites]


I'd be more okay with this if the TSA person who is viewing your scan is also sitting in a millimeter wave device, and you can check out each other's quasi-nude images at the same time. We're all in this together, people!
posted by krippledkonscious at 3:32 PM on June 13, 2008 [9 favorites]


I would really like -- and I'd pay extra for -- an airline with less security. (Unfortunately GenAv is a little too rich for my blood.)

With the possible exception of reinforced cockpit doors, I don't believe for a second that anything the TSA has done will have any impact on someone trying to pull a 9/11 repeat. (And the most siginificant factor that prevents another hijacking is passengers' attitude; start acting funny on a plane these days, and you'll be lucky if the other passengers don't just kill you.)

It's all about control and making people comfortable with the creeping police state.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:34 PM on June 13, 2008 [10 favorites]


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.
Apparently, the face of the present day fascist enabler is that of the weary business traveller.
posted by psmealey at 3:41 PM on June 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


The potato goes in front.

I learned that joke on the playground when I was like seven or eight and both the teller and his audience were wholly prepubescent sexual/physiological morons. So it was one of many jokes that fell into the genre of Confusing For Several Years, because while I think we collectively came to understand that a potato in the seat your pants could look like you'd taken a dump, we had no clue why women would think it was cool if you had a potato in the front. Girls like potatoes? What?
posted by cortex at 3:45 PM on June 13, 2008 [10 favorites]


I get privacy concerns, but you give up those rights when you get on an aircraft, you have for 20 years now.

This is a rationalization that must be treated carefully. It's just as easy to say: "I have privacy concerns about Telescreens, but you give up those rights when you become a member of the Outer Party."

There are some things that fall under this justification. For instance, I think most would agree that it's perfectly reasonable to prohibit people from flying with explosives in their bags. However, many people consider it unreasonable to make what basically amounts to a strip search a prerequisite for boarding a plane. If you disagree, that's perfectly fine, but don't pretend it's a forgone conclusion that you have no rights when you enter an airport. That is only as true as we as a society decide to make it.
posted by Commander Rachek at 3:54 PM on June 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


With apologies to the Black Eyed Peas:

Whatch'ya gonna do with all that junk,
All that junk inside your trunk?

I'ma blow, blow, blow, blow you up
Blow you up, with my junk.

posted by djgh at 3:58 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it's entirely possible to be for useful and effective security measures and the whole not-blowing-up thing and against the intrusive and pointless security theatre of the last few years, b1ff.

Implicit in your response is that this measure is useful and effective. My take is that the whole thing is unnecessary and causes unintended consequences, so horsetrading liquids, clippers, and socks for PantyDAR does not appeal to me.

You also talked past my bigger point that the airport is not the only place where people are faced with increasingly invasive and controlling environments. I guess you don't agree there is a problem. Your threshold for being treated like a child or inmate is probably just higher than mine.
posted by b1ff at 4:01 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


With apologies to the Black Eyed Peas

Hey, how's about apologizing to us?
posted by dersins at 4:01 PM on June 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


One step closer to naked flying; then everyone will be able to see everyone else's junk.

Of course that also means airlines will have to do something about seat fabrics for proper hygiene, but that's their problem.
posted by bwg at 4:08 PM on June 13, 2008


Implicit in your response is that this measure is useful and effective.

Well, yes, if the thing doesn't work it 100% loses my support. That's sort of assumed isn't it?

Your threshold for being treated like a child or inmate is probably just higher than mine.

Er, no, it annoys the shit out of me every time I fly. Hence my comment.

Your threshhold for being blown up is probably higher than mine. Where there are actual real security threats we should have actual real security solutions. Effective, non-intrusive and fast should be the goal here, if this thing works it should be all three, and preferable to a lot fo the silly shit we get now.
posted by Artw at 4:11 PM on June 13, 2008


Oh, and if we all have to fly naked, then the TSA screeners should be naked too.

Except for those badges around their necks.
posted by bwg at 4:12 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's going to happen when Uncle Dirty goes through the scanner. Maybe we'll finally learn the truth about those thongs.
posted by Xurando at 4:18 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


(And the most siginificant factor that prevents another hijacking is passengers' attitude; start acting funny on a plane these days, and you'll be lucky if the other passengers don't just kill you.)

Although that crazy shoe bomber wasn't interested in hijacking, just killing people. Blame him for the whole shoe thing. (Which was actually pretty clever... apparently the old metal detectors didn't used to go all the way down, so a shoe was a great place to hide stuff.)
posted by smackfu at 4:21 PM on June 13, 2008


I looked through all the links (including the older MeFi posts) and the "shocking imagery" is conspicuously absent. Even a NYT piece on this used a slapstick cartoon about X-rays. That backscatter pic of the female TSA official is not all that shocking... it's about as graphic as a mannequin's skin. Phone me when there are real pics and something to get shocked about.

Well, once this type of scan has been accepted and allowed, there will be simply be no stopping the industry from gradually and steadily improving the imaging technology. Also, whether you think it is graphic or not is certainly culturally contingent. Some might find department store mannequins graphic or excessively revealing. We might agree that the constitution allows their display, but we should remember that it also implies a right to privacy. The government requiring intrusion under your clothes certainly seems as though it violates privacy, especially if no alternative is provided. I'm sure a lawsuit or two will result if these scanners are installed.

On that note, worth mentioning is that police are allowed to conduct thermal imaging scans of private property without warrants so maybe similar reasoning could be applied here. Then again, the issue there is specifically Fourth Amendment searches and the issue here would be the privacy penumbra implied by several Bill of Rights amendments.
posted by Shakeer at 4:24 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am seriously confused at the reticence expressed towards this.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:59 PM on June 13

As a long time internet user I have always valued anonymity
posted by Keith Talent at 8:16 PM on April 30


Keith, it's somewhat unfair for me to pick and choose a non-contextual comment like that, but I wanted to help clear up your confusion. You value anonymity -- something which others may not care about as much as you. Some people don't like the physical exposure offered by these scanners, which is something you don't seem to be that concerned about. Meat, poison.
posted by forrest at 4:31 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I get privacy concerns, but you give up those rights when you get on an aircraft...

Can you hear yourself?
posted by DU at 4:41 PM on June 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Anyone wanna put $5 down on the first head-shaking article about the machine involves them questioning a tranny because the woman with boy parts made them suspicious?


Shakeer pointed out On that note, worth mentioning is that police are allowed to conduct thermal imaging scans of private property without warrants...

The War on Terror, in truth, only got to feed on the rotting scraps of our 4th amendment, it was the War on the inner city Drugs that made the kill.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:46 PM on June 13, 2008


i think this is our greatest scientific achievement.
We should have these scanners everywhere.
Maybe we can finally have x-ray glasses that really work.
posted by bhnyc at 4:51 PM on June 13, 2008


I wonder how long it'll take for them to find a bomb, gun, or other implement of bringing down a plane. If it's soon, they can look at my wiener whenever I fly. If it gets me through security quicker, they can look twice.

Out of curiosity, would you remove your clothes -- all of them -- at the airport if you were then allowed to go straight through, bypassing all the lines (assuming that you could remove and don your clothes in far less time than it would take to stand in line?)
posted by davejay at 4:53 PM on June 13, 2008


Time to roll these puppies out

heh
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:58 PM on June 13, 2008


On that note, worth mentioning is that police are allowed to conduct thermal imaging scans of private property without warrants so maybe similar reasoning could be applied here.

No they're not.
posted by Tenuki at 5:00 PM on June 13, 2008


"YOU ARE A TOTALLY MORON"

priceless.
posted by quonsar at 5:19 PM on June 13, 2008


Increasing airport security, at this point in history, is a waste of money, brains, and time. Its just right wing welfare for the incompetent, but abusive, twits hired by TSA. The last thing they need is more expensive toys.

Yeah, why buy them expensive stuff when they can rely on low-tech stuff like putting their hands inside my bra (screener, Chicago) or demand I take off a pullover hooded sweatshirt (which I very nearly did...given that I wasn't wearing anything underneath and wanted to prove a point: "Hey, he TOLD ME to take it off!")
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:28 PM on June 13, 2008


Anyone wanna put $5 down on the first head-shaking article about the machine involves them questioning a tranny because the woman with boy parts made them suspicious?
posted by MiltonRandKalman


I hadn't thought of this, this will make flying extremely uncomfortable for a lot of transgender folk.
posted by Vindaloo at 5:41 PM on June 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


I made the mistake of wearing a tight dress one time, when I flew out of Montreal. The young man waving a scanner wand stroked it from my breast to hip. Not wanting to be unable to fly home I said nothing, even though the most any of the tired middle aged women who've scanned my at previous airports did was poke me in the armpit.

No, you can't look at me naked. It's bad enough that I feel compelled to dress ugly now to avoid attention. :(
posted by Phalene at 5:48 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Keith Talent: I am seriously confused at the reticence expressed towards this. Are we all so prudish that a trained (semi)-professional glancing at our genitalia gets us all atwitter? Seriously, it's like I've gone back in time and am surrounded by Victorians.

I'm just remembering an English professor friend who came back from a visit overseas last year. If she found out that this had happened to her, she would have been furious. And rightfully so.

It's not Victorian tendencies (you troll), it's that they're not announcing this fact at the place. People would be up in arms, and because they would be up in arms, they aren't telling anyone. This is wrong.

The way to combat this, however, is simple. Tell people. Everyone you know who's flying overseas. Save the URL. Show it to people. If word gets out, get the stink good and raised, airline profits will be hurt, and THEN things will change.
posted by JHarris at 5:49 PM on June 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


What a bunch of ingrates. You all should be on your knees in line waiting to kiss George's butt. His security precautions have made it safe for you and your loved ones to fly the friendly skies. Do you realize that since he has been president there has not been a single instance of an airplane being highjacked and flown into a building.
Well, except for the ones on 9/11. But other than that.
posted by notreally at 6:17 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think it's entirely possible to be for useful and effective security measures and the whole not-blowing-up thing.
Effective, non-intrusive and fast should be the goal here, if this thing works it should be all three, and preferable to a lot fo the silly shit we get now.



You are horsetrading intrusive for "not being blown up", next you are claiming that it will be non-intrusive too! How is a machine meant to probe under your clothes to check for weapons and contraband not intrusive?

PantyVision is only a detection tool. Why would that mean the TSA was no longer scared of binary explosives, hand held weapons, and smuggled shoe items? Shoes are still opaque to this thing from the side. Why are you assuming that liquids, clippers, socks will go away?

You are assuming this thing will only be used in place of patdowns. No. If it is fast, they will make everyone use it. The selective patdowns will continue, by the way.

You are raising the conversational stakes by hard-selling a false choice between "planes blowing up" and PantyVision. There are other security problems besides the passengers at the gate. Is it even the weakest link right now?

I love how they are spinning the limitations of current technology as if they "tuned" it to be just good enough for their "needs". You can be sure that any possible resolution improvements will be wholeheartedly adopted by the TSA. In fact, the couple of photos that were put out on the news 3 years ago were part of a PR release by the TSA, so it is totally possible that the machines are already more capable that people have been led to believe.

I think you are really providing a great example of the behavior that I laid out in my original comment, which is basically an observation on how certain people choose denial as a coping mechanism.
posted by b1ff at 6:42 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know you can cut out the middleman.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 7:06 PM on June 13, 2008


I wonder how much the tabloids would pay for a full-body scan of Mariah Carey or George Clooney?
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:07 PM on June 13, 2008


Don't like it? Stop flying and write your congressman.

I think it's a step in the right direction... as intrusive as the technology may seem (or is) it makes more sense than taking off your shoes (damn you Richard Reid), not being allowed to have nail clippers, and limiting liquids to 3oz. Doesn't change the fact that no matter WHAT system they come up with, I'm still gonna have to show them my Prince Albert. Kidding?!

It won't make you feel any better, but the TSA officer that ends up with the duty of checking out your 'bidness will no doubt join the ranks of urologists and OBGYN's everywhere - after a while you've seen it all and just about nothing even raises an eyebrow.

I don't expect to change anyone's feelings about this, but if this technology is better suited to preventing another 9/11 (and it IS better suited... how easily people forget 9/11) - and it isn't ABUSED by a creepy security agent - then bring it on.

To the person that was worried that the 'chemical sniffer' was actually a back-scatter system... no, they didn't lie to you. LOL. It actually is a chemical sniffer. Since I haven't been manufacturing any explosive chemicals, I find that machine (there's one at Reagan National) kinda fun!
posted by matty at 7:18 PM on June 13, 2008


I get the feeling that a lot of people take offense with the TSA and it's procedures not because the personnel can be inept at times (yup, I've seen the worst too) and the rules can seem asinine, but because they just don't see themselves as potential terrorists... and well gee why doesn't the TSA see that too?!

There's a reason for these systems. Maybe they're not perfect, but they're getting better. Just because you don't see yourself as a threat - and I'm sure you're not - well the security people don't know you. You are anybody to them... while some racial profiling occurs under kinder, gentler names, the fact remains that you just don't know WHO could be carrying a weapon, or the inert parts of a bomb, or who knows what. Maybe even SNAKES!!!

When it comes to the safety of the flying public, you are not special. Nor should you be.
posted by matty at 7:27 PM on June 13, 2008


I don't want the job of viewing the corpulent carcasses who will pass through this nightmare of a machine.

For fun, someone should sell buttplugs that have a radio-lucent shell and and contain within a radio-opaque fake gerbil skeleton. OK, that might be a bit naughty, and it might not even work with this abominable machine.
posted by caddis at 7:30 PM on June 13, 2008


I am not flying if I have to go through one of those things. Prude? Yeah, maybe, but I'm not giving anonymous so-called 'security' people a better look at me than my doctor.

Anyone know how much steamer passage to Europe costs these days? Because boat travel is looking more and more welcoming every day. And I love to fly.
posted by sandraregina at 7:35 PM on June 13, 2008


Thing is this still won't detect a stick of dynamite shoved where the sun won't shine. So it's useless.
posted by zeoslap at 7:50 PM on June 13, 2008



It won't make you feel any better, but the TSA officer that ends up with the duty of checking out your 'bidness will no doubt join the ranks of urologists and OBGYN's everywhere - after a while you've seen it all and just about nothing even raises an eyebrow.


I don't give a crap about whether it bothers the TSA people. It bothers the hell out of me that so many people willing to put up with this. Not three months ago, when a TV news program was showing this,they were claiming that private areas were somehow blocked out. Why in the hell are we agreeing to this which treats us worse than prisoners?
posted by etaoin at 7:54 PM on June 13, 2008


Perhaps those with religious objections could be exempted from screening? Think about that one for awhile.
posted by Xoebe at 8:04 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I hadn't already written off travel to the US when they started deporting random Canadians to Syria this would probably do it.

Alison writes "So, what is the point of this if people can just get a pat down anyway?"

It's not hard to anticipate the pat down option disappearing in the future. Maybe even on an adhoc basis during a flu outbreak or sickout.

Keith Talent writes " Who gives a shit about someone seeing an x-ray of my junk."

Great, your an exhibitionist. The guy with a colostomy bag, the woman with a mastectomy or the child with a prosthesis might not be quite so open. Should be fun for wearers of a Prince Albert (NSFW despite being wikipedia). The bigger the better I imagine.
posted by Mitheral at 8:16 PM on June 13, 2008


"how easily people forget 9/11"

I think people remember 9/11 quite well; they're just all fed up with the sham "security" that does nothing to actually prevent another attack and may in fact make us more vulnerable.

Let me give you an example. This past week I took my family on vacation, and we flew into PHL from SLC. At PHL security on the way home, we were standing in a huge line that was very reminiscent of the lines at Disneyland, where they snake back on themselves like a giant maze. I am certain that at one point there were far more than 500 people in an area about a hundred feet by a hundred feet.

Right over a public road which passed underneath the terminal.

After I passed through the screening, I turned to my son and was commenting to him how simple it would be for someone to put together a bomb like the one that took down the Murrah building in OKC and blow up 500 people all packed together in one place while waiting in the "security" line, and a lady nearby heard me. "Oh, yeah," she said. "I'm from Oklahoma City, and I think about that every time I fly through here. It scares the hell out of me."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:19 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


it's hardly worth flying anymore.
posted by brandz at 8:21 PM on June 13, 2008


etaoin writes "Why in the hell are we agreeing to this which treats us worse than prisoners?"

It does beg the question why they aren't using these in prisons.
posted by Mitheral at 8:21 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


How is a machine meant to probe under your clothes to check for weapons and contraband not intrusive?

You walk into a box, you wave your arms about, you walk out of a box. You (optimally) don't get your shoes mesed with or that business with the wand. Interaction with the staff is minimised. To me that is non-intrusive. Of course, some guy gets to see milimeter radar images of a couple of thousand people a day, but I really don't see that as that troubling.
posted by Artw at 8:34 PM on June 13, 2008


Hey, I'm good with this.

(I've been working out)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:48 PM on June 13, 2008


I think its a disgrace whats happening at airports in the US. I would never step into one of these.

Ill never forget i conversation i had with a screener once as he stuck his hand inside my waistband. I was asking him about my right to refuse and the legality of what he was doing. He seemed fairly ignorant of the issue as would be expected, but he basically said "you dont have the right to fly, so probable cause doesn't apply and we can do whatever we want, since you can always not fly." As disturbing as this is, what was worse was he began to question my questions. He asked if i was a law student or a journalist, and if i wasn't why was i asking these questions. That made me angry. Apparently defending my rights and questioning their authority makes me unusual and a person of concern. He seemed confused why i would a) know about my rights, and b) care about them a an average citizen.
posted by Merik at 8:55 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Btw, i have read in some news reports that this technology can be easily thwarted:

"The scanners do a good job seeing under clothing but cannot see through plastic or rubber materials that resemble skin, said Peter Siegel, a senior scientist at the California Institute of Technology. "You probably could find very common materials that you could wrap around you that would effectively obscure things," Siegel said."

So its not like this tech is flawless. Once again, a person with intent can bypass the security measure, making the widespread scanning of individuals pointless as far as security goes. Instead the only purpose left is authoritarian conditioning .
posted by Merik at 8:58 PM on June 13, 2008


Said Shakeer: "On that note, worth mentioning is that police are allowed to conduct thermal imaging scans of private property without warrants so maybe similar reasoning could be applied here. Then again, the issue there is specifically Fourth Amendment searches and the issue here would be the privacy penumbra implied by several Bill of Rights amendments."

Next time, Shakeer, actually look up the Kyllo decision instead of linking to a 2001 op-ed written before Kyllo was handed down. The police can't thermal image a home without a search warrant.

Oh, and you can thank Justice Scalia for that next time you see him.
posted by saslett at 9:01 PM on June 13, 2008


"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"

oh well, it was nice while it lasted
posted by Merik at 9:10 PM on June 13, 2008


It would be cool if I could get a copy of my pictures. Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like backscatter dong.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 9:16 PM on June 13, 2008


"The scanners do a good job seeing under clothing but cannot see through plastic or rubber materials that resemble skin, said Peter Siegel, a senior scientist at the California Institute of Technology. "You probably could find very common materials that you could wrap around you that would effectively obscure things," Siegel said."

So its not like this tech is flawless. Once again, a person with intent can bypass the security measure, making the widespread scanning of individuals pointless as far as security goes.


LOL... unless that camouflage technique blends in with your skin perfectly. People really should take a look at the images and educate themselves to how the system works before passing judgment. Do you really think that even the most clueless security officer isn't going to find the image that is radically different from the THOUSANDS of others he's looked at that day the LEAST bit suspicious? The obfuscation itself would be enough to raise flags. Not to mention the imaging algorithms in the system that point out just such irregularities. It's not always so much what you see, but not seeing what you you EXPECT to see.
posted by matty at 9:17 PM on June 13, 2008


How long until celebrities start getting their backscatter images leaked? If you're a security guard, and Angelina Jolie walks through your scanner, aren't you going to want a copy?
posted by fings at 9:45 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Once everyone's backscatter taint pix are up on Facebook anyways, will this be an issue anymore?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:00 PM on June 13, 2008


How long until celebrities start getting their backscatter images leaked? If you're a security guard, and Angelina Jolie walks through your scanner, aren't you going to want a copy?

Bingo.
posted by caddis at 10:17 PM on June 13, 2008


LOL...

It's been a long time since I saw such innocent(?) trust of the system.

Personally, I find it inconceivable that any worthwhile drug-smuggling gang won't have one of these machines and make a concerted effort to invent ways of working around it. Sure as heck someone filled the vacuum left when the Medellin cartel was busted. Those guys were hiring engineers and scientists for research and invention.

Without a doubt, there are terrorist threats that could just as easily raise the funds and source the people to do the same.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 PM on June 13, 2008


Private jets.
posted by wobh at 10:27 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think the easiest way to get rid of these useless dumbfuck machines and the useless dumbfuck drop-outs who'll man them is to capitalize on the scientific illiteracy of Americans. Simply start an email chain that uses the word "radiation" a lot and has a bunch of gross pix of flipper babies. Set those powerful forces of idiocy against each other, I say.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:28 PM on June 13, 2008 [13 favorites]


how easily people forget 9/11

oh, FUCK 9/11. i'm sick of having 9/11 lorded over everything. blow 9/11 out your whiny little ass. more fucking people die in traffic accidents every week than on 9/11. 9/11 changed everything all right, and it's way past time we changed it the fuck back.
posted by quonsar at 10:30 PM on June 13, 2008 [59 favorites]


Why does the word "backscatter" sound so much like a euphemism for explosive diarrhea?
posted by bwg at 10:34 PM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would be willing to bet that the guy who ends up looking at all the nudie pictures from one of these things hates his life alot.

I for one would not like to see 99% of people in an airport naked.
posted by smackwich at 11:07 PM on June 13, 2008


9/11 killed only 3000 people. If having that few people die is reason to go batshitinsane, then why the hell aren't you rallying in Washington demanding impeachment of a kleptomaniac Administration has funneled a fortune of your money into their own pockets by inventing a false pretext for invading Iraq and, as a direct result, expending 4100 of your soldier's lives and another 400 contractor lives?

9/11 was a great reason to create a counter-terrorist police task force.

It is a shitty reason to give up your civil liberties, give up your dignity, and give up your right to walk through a turnstile without having some rent-a-cop stuff his hand up your ass.

It's even a worse reason to inflict a half million traumatic injuries to your soldiers. What an utterly insane response.

9/11 is a pig-ignorant justification for anything more than precisely locating and expiring terrorist cells. It sure as hell shouldn't have any impact on your normal life.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:37 PM on June 13, 2008 [12 favorites]


>I don't expect to change anyone's feelings about this, but if this technology is better suited to preventing another 9/11 (and it IS better suited... how easily people forget 9/11) - and it isn't ABUSED by a creepy security agent - then bring it on.

That's the whole point, This doesn't prevent another 9/11. One thing to remember about the hijackings on that day, they didn't hijack the planes using non-allowed items. They used allowed items that weren't considered weapons. That's my biggest problem with the current system. It completely discounts intent, and only focuses on the means.

If I mean no harm, then nail clippers (etc.) are not a weapon.

If I do mean harm, you can take away my nail clippers, and I still intend to do harm.

This machine, and all the new rules put in place since then would not have stopped 9/11. All you have to do is draw a simple venn diagram. One circle labeled "things I am allowed to bring on a plane", the second circle labeled "things I can possibly use as a weapon"

The only new security measures that alters the landscape is secure cockpits, and armed air marshalls. Why? Because these measure deal with intent. You have to want to get in the cockpit before you encounter that security measure. If you show that ntent, there is somebody armed to counter you.

These are the true "If you arent doing anything bad, then you have nothing to worry about" solutions.


>but because they just don't see themselves as potential terrorists... and well gee why doesn't the TSA see that too?!

Because the TSA screeners are not well trained enough to use their judgement on the matter. One of my neighbors growing up ended up working as a security screener. She was a junior college dropout who had previously worked as a cashier at the Gap. Nice person, but not the smartest cookie on the tray. To top it off, the only training she had was in how to use the equipment. Maybe things have changed more recently, but my experiences in the airport, and the horror stories on the news don't ease my mind.

They shouldn't see us as terrorists, because the math just doesn't add up. look at how many people get on planes every year. I'm no mathemetician, but it seems to me that if you add up those numbers, and compare them to the number of confirmed bad guys caught by the system, the odds that any random passenger is a terrorist is astronomically low. And it definitely doesn't warrant the hostile, judgement-free, paranoia that we see way too much of.

My guess is that we need a new type of Airport police officer, trained specifically for that job. They should not be tied to checkpoints, but have the ability to assess the entire airport. And they should have the authority to use judgement and not be tied to zero-tolerance rules of the sort that divert resources to trying to figure how much milk is in a baby's bottle. Needle in a haystack type prevention is always best served by human instinct.

I'm not saying we should be lax. I just think the system warrants a real look at it's effectiveness and overall strategy, and that's never going to happen as long as we buy into the fear-based justification they've fed us that our rights aren't important if safety is a concern.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:41 PM on June 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


Shit! I was totally wrong about the decision! I couldn't remember it's name and, an Oregonian, I remember the developments leading up to it so I just searched 'legal oregon thermal warrants' or something and that was one of the first hits. I totally remember the case landing the other way, perhaps because that was how it went in the courts here. Thanks for correcting me saslett and Tenuki.
posted by Shakeer at 11:49 PM on June 13, 2008


What does a scanner see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does it see into me, into us? Clearly or darkly? I hope it sees clearly, because I can't any longer see into myself. I see only murk. I hope for everyone's sake the scanners do better. Because if the scanner sees only darkly, the way I do, then I'm cursed and cursed again. I'll only wind up dead this way, knowing very little, and getting that little fragment wrong too.... PKD
posted by Ritchie at 12:30 AM on June 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


Yeah, so this pretty much means I'll be avoiding the US. I mean, more than I was already. I know a lot of other trans people feel the same way; the threat of harassment by security officials just increased massively.

Not that we're a huge market, of course. Nobody's going to miss the trans dollar.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:28 AM on June 14, 2008


Yep... an invasion of privacy that will stop all the problems in the skies. Of course.

The 9/11 hijackers had perfectly legal weapons on hand to take control. Lets just have a quick think about other similarly dangerous weapons that you can take on board perfectly legally every after some moronic 17 year old has taken a good look at your goodies...

So... things as sharp and dangerous as a box cutter. How about one of the plastic knives they give you with your dinner? Or a shattered CD? Or a torn coke can? Or broken glass from your duty free vodka? The thin metal shaft that makes the frame on my glasses? The sharp point on my belt buckle? A Bic Biro? My car keys?

How did I do? Can we ban all of those on planes too? What about the master stroke plan features on BBC's Spooks (I think it's "MI5" in the USA) about a woman who has a surgical procedure to have explosives implanted in her stomach? Stick a kilo of C4 in her womb and let her look vaguely pregnant!

I've missed my calling in life guys! I'm going to go take my fertile imagination and erode your civil liberties with them...
posted by twine42 at 1:46 AM on June 14, 2008


Airport security theater is inexorably moving towards something I predicted awhile back: soon, the only way citizens will be allowed to fly on commercial flights is after stripping naked and being blasted with high pressure water while scraped raw with wire brushes, a la Silkwood.

And when that policy is enacted, people will be saying "But if it prevents just one more 9/11!!! it'll be worth it!"

When's that big asteroid going to pass by again? Come on, Apophis! Take just a little jog to the right. Less than a degree! You can do it!
posted by Drastic at 2:22 AM on June 14, 2008


I don't know why they don't just fucking make you fly naked, I mean wearing clothes is just so Victorian after all.

Christ

There are plenty of people out there who get legitimately freaked about people seeing them nude, just because some people are copacetic with waving their naggers around to strangers doesn't make it something that most people want to do. These are not doctors, these are ill tempered security agents who operate behind the wall of national security. Where finding out the rules they operate under is neigh impossible, and whose orders are incontrovertible. They literally have life and death control over you if you are having a bad day. People have been shot, tasered, harassed, lied too and held without charges by the TS-Fucking-A. What legal recourse do citizens have?

So we get to choose, get felt up or stripped down, all for the sake of security.

You know what would have stopped the 9/11 attack? Dead-fucking-bolts on the cockpit doors. Compartmentalize everything the pilots need in the cockpit and seal them off from the main cabin. They had BOX CUTTERS, not guns, not bombs... crude knives. And now we get multi-billion dollar new technology because of box cutters. Why use laser guided mini missiles to kill mice when a $1.99 trap works just as good?

I swear if thing get much more fundamentally idiotic I am going to off myself in despair over the collective stupidity of the human race.
posted by edgeways at 3:05 AM on June 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Has anyone linked to this yet?
posted by delmoi at 3:30 AM on June 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Of course that also means airlines will have to do something about seat fabrics for proper hygiene, but that's their problem.

What makes you think they'd see it as their problem? They don't see it that way now.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:46 AM on June 14, 2008


Do terrorists even target airlines anymore? It's so 2001.
posted by brautigan at 5:33 AM on June 14, 2008


I recently had jury duty. Upon entering the courthouse, I had to take my laptop out of my bag and empty my pockets, but: AIR TRAVEL: NO LONGER PREFERABLE TO JURY DUTY
posted by oaf at 7:23 AM on June 14, 2008 [15 favorites]


Should have closed their curtains.

Wait, what?
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:29 AM on June 14, 2008


Yeah, so this pretty much means I'll be avoiding the US.

But you're staying in the one Western country that watches its citizens even more than the U.S.?
posted by oaf at 7:39 AM on June 14, 2008


I get privacy concerns, but you give up those rights when you get on an aircraft, you have for 20 years now.

This is exactly why the last few flights I've been on were all charters.

No security theater.
Fly from/to smaller airports that tend to be closer to my actual destinations.
Vastly more time efficient (show up 10 minutes before flight time, not 2 hours.)
And really, not that expensive.

If you charter a plane for one person, okay, it's kind of pricey. But as soon as you have 3 or 4 people on the plane, it's price-competitive with business-class, but vastly more bearable.

I expect general aviation to get better and better, as the rest of the business gets worse and worse.
posted by Project F at 7:48 AM on June 14, 2008


I have a strange feeling that matty either has a financial interest in these machines or works for TSA. (and is one of the few who actually carries water for the higher ups)
posted by wierdo at 8:03 AM on June 14, 2008


But you're staying in the one Western country that watches its citizens even more than the U.S.?

Well, yes, because as far as I know no-one in parliament has proposed introducing technology to look inside my knickers from space.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:41 AM on June 14, 2008


Shakeer, your assertion about thermal imaging scans is 100 percent incorrect. Kyllo was resolved in favor of the defendant - the Court ruled 5-4 that thermal imaging on private property is an unconstitutional search. Granted, this case was decided a few months before September 11, take that as you may. The justices in that case expressed worries about police seeing intimate activities in a house through thermal imaging ... and the radar technology here would be much more detailed than thermal imaging. Still, people ostensibly have the ability to opt-out of this type of search or simply not fly, so I doubt the court would find it unconstitutional.

Money quote from Kyllo:
"Where, as here, the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a "search" and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant."
posted by Happydaz at 8:57 AM on June 14, 2008


because as far as I know no-one in parliament has proposed introducing technology to look inside my knickers from space.

It's easy for you to get to the U.S. without flying into the U.S.
posted by oaf at 8:59 AM on June 14, 2008


It's easy for you to get to the U.S. without flying into the U.S.

This is true. Makes my plan to see all the big cities in one trip quite a lot more time-consuming though. I think I'll wait until sanity prevails rather than drive or ride the train from New York to Los Angeles.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:11 AM on June 14, 2008


I have a strange feeling that matty either has a financial interest in these machines or works for TSA. (and is one of the few who actually carries water for the higher ups)

Actually, I HAVE done some consulting work for the TSA - and I may or may not have gotten the higher ups some coffee at one point or another. I made sure it wasn't very GOOD coffee though?

So maybe my outlook on all of this is that I've seen some of the inner workings and thought processes that go into trying to improve security and make flying a safe experience for everyone, including those that imagine themselves above reproach. I'm not saying it's perfect - obviously it's not, but I do believe it's getting better.

"My guess is that we need a new type of Airport police officer, trained specifically for that job. They should not be tied to checkpoints, but have the ability to assess the entire airport. And they should have the authority to use judgement and not be tied to zero-tolerance rules of the sort that divert resources to trying to figure how much milk is in a baby's bottle. Needle in a haystack type prevention is always best served by human instinct." That's there... but the general public just isn't aware of it. Hello SPOT... this is an older article, as the program has advanced some since it's first inception.

The crappy security line is only one piece of the layered security process that you don't even see. Maybe that in-your-face (and under your shirt) inspection point is a link in the security chain that drives home the point to a potential terrorist that he/she just ISN'T going to pull off their scheme.

There's some real hostility here about the security procedures. I find it almost comical... people being pissed at a system that is actually trying to keep them safe. Of course it needs improvement, so... If you don't like the way it's being conducted, then DO something other than just complain. Write the TSA or your congressman. It might surprise you, but the TSA would actually LIKE to hear your feedback... having worked with the people there I can say that they groan when having to go through security lines too. They're not all a bunch of corporate greed-mongers looking for ways to sadistically increase your personal level of inconvenience. Sheesh.
posted by matty at 9:13 AM on June 14, 2008


At the risk of pigeon-holing myself - another disclaimer... I'm an aviation consultant. I currently perform consulting services for the FAA on various projects.

I'm also a Veteran (former Naval Aviator), I'm gay, and I like cheese. There you go. Now hire me.
posted by matty at 9:21 AM on June 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


You may also contact the TSA Contact Center by e-mailing TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.
posted by joannemerriam at 9:54 AM on June 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


There should be two entrances to the airport terminal -- one labeled "Cowards" and the second labeled "No Cowards". The "No Cowards" door would lead directly to the "No Cowards" airplane with no inspections, no security line, no metal detectors just like they did for the first 50 years of aviation history.

The other door would serve those who are terrified of a one in a billion chance of a hijacking.
posted by JackFlash at 10:21 AM on June 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't see why you have a problem with this. It will keep Muslims from flying as they have very strict rules on appropriate dress. No flying muslims equals no terror. The logic is surely that simple. The war on terror is won, we can all go home now.
posted by an egg at 10:55 AM on June 14, 2008


matty - I think the problem is that most of us don't believe that there really is a statistically justifiable threat which justifies the security THEATER. Not legitimate security, which there's nothing wrong with, but the theatricality of it, the sense that it's all just for show, that there are orange alerts mostly to control the populace and give the appearance of safety.

The best thing the US could do to have safer planes, IMHO, isn't to have more security, but to pull out of the Middle East, and stop giving people a reason to want to attack us.
posted by MythMaker at 11:42 AM on June 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the SPOT link Matty, I actually did know that something of that sort existed. I brought it up because I feel like that area of development should be the epicenter of security, and new ideas and technology should grow from there.

But as the article points out: So far, the results for SPOT have been encouraging. According to Naccara, the SPOT program has resulted in the arrest of more than 50 people for having fake IDs, entering the country illegally or drug possession.

none of which are safety concerns.

The crappy security line is only one piece of the layered security process that you don't even see. Maybe that in-your-face (and under your shirt) inspection point is a link in the security chain that drives home the point to a potential terrorist that he/she just ISN'T going to pull off their scheme.

So they're putting on a show. And that's what pisses a lot of us off. We're not mad at the TSA for trying to keep us safe. If we can see that that it's security theater, what makes you think the terrorists can't? And if sending that message is a real goal and reasoning behind the rules and procedures, how is the success rate of that goal being measured. does x number of pissed off fliers = y number of terrorists getting the message? Are they conducting potential terrorist focus groups?

On a level of 1 to 10 how confident are you in your nefarious scheme? 1 being "not at all confident", and 10 being "DEATH TO THE INFIDELS!"

As frustrated as I get with security in airports, I've never failed to say thank you. Unless they've gone out of their way to piss me off. Which happens too often, and again, this points to of lack of training more than anything. People get frustrated and angry in jobs when they're not properly equipped to deal with the stresses of said job.

I grew up in airports. As a kid my mother was a systems analyst for an airline, and in addition to all the traveling we did, LAX was just "mom's office" to me. I was the kid running around with the notebook full of tail numbers, who had memorized just about every 3 letter airport code in the country. Ask me what I anted to be as a kid, and "Pilot" was always the first thing out of my mouth. My frustration comes from knowing what a huge complex system air travel is, and having always viewed that system with awe and reverence. And believe me, as frustrated as I get with security, I reserve most of my ire for the airlines, who treat you like shit once you make it through security.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:19 PM on June 14, 2008


Maybe that in-your-face (and under your shirt) inspection point is a link in the security chain that drives home the point to a potential terrorist that he/she just ISN'T going to pull off their scheme.

And the TSA's ability to sneak fake bombs constantly past the screeners says exactly the opposite. Same goes for when the media are able to do it.

people being pissed at a system that is actually trying to keep them safe

No, it's just trying to convince them that it's trying to keep them safe. Whether it actually does is of secondary concern.
posted by oaf at 1:34 PM on June 14, 2008


Maybe that in-your-face (and under your shirt) inspection point is a link in the security chain that drives home the point to a potential terrorist that he/she just ISN'T going to pull off their scheme.

So you justify TSA hostility and intrusion on the basis of 19 people out of 3 million travellers might have terroristic intent? Fuck that with a donut, pal.

There's some real hostility here about the security procedures. I find it almost comical... people being pissed at a system that is actually trying to keep them safe.

No one is pissed at the parts of the system that keep us safe.

We're pissed at the parts that do sweet fuck-all to keep us safe. It's security theatre, and it's not even good security theatre. It's stupid and obviously arbitrary and wholly contradicts itself at times. The people who believe in security theatre are the same retards who believe Iraq did 9/11 and Obama is seckrit islamoterrist.

Apparently you're among that lot.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:36 PM on June 14, 2008


Every time I read about a new "improvement" to airport security procedures, I think about the people - there seem to be several a year, or at least those are the ones I read about in the news - who bolt out of security lines and run into the terminal (presumably because they're late for a flight). Mostly (always?) they seem to not be caught. Airport terminals get shut down and everyone gets shuffled outside to wait in longlonglong lines (perfect targets, as mentioned above), while security searches for the perp - who doesn't get caught, because descriptions always seem to be along the lines of "Six-foot-tall white male with short dark hair, dark jacket, dark pants."

If they took all of this really seriously, we'd have security procedures like Israel's, although in a country as large as the U.S., that would be so expensive and time-consuming that it would probably kill what's left of our airline industry. And nobody being able to fly at all would certainly solve the problem of airport security, wouldn't it?
posted by rtha at 2:29 PM on June 14, 2008


After I passed through the screening, I turned to my son and was commenting to him how simple it would be for someone to put together a bomb like the one that took down the Murrah building in OKC and blow up 500 people all packed together in one place while waiting in the "security" line, and a lady nearby heard me. "Oh, yeah," she said. "I'm from Oklahoma City, and I think about that every time I fly through here. It scares the hell out of me."

Kind of like this? Security lines always freak me out, fish in a barrel style.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 2:34 PM on June 14, 2008


"The best thing the US could do to have safer planes, IMHO, isn't to have more security, but to pull out of the Middle East, and stop giving people a reason to want to attack us.
posted by MythMaker at 2:42 PM on June 14 [+] [!] "


I totally agree.

"We're pissed at the parts that do sweet fuck-all to keep us safe. It's security theatre, and it's not even good security theatre. It's stupid and obviously arbitrary and wholly contradicts itself at times. The people who believe in security theatre are the same retards who believe Iraq did 9/11 and Obama is seckrit islamoterrist.

Apparently you're among that lot.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:36 PM on June 14 [+] [!] "


I totally disagree. I've already concurred that it's not perfect and needs improvement, and I've also found some of the procedures to be ludricous at times - but it's not theatre. By your reasoning it shouldn't be done at all... lets just let everyone board without a screening 'cause there's a billion to one chance there's a terrorist on board who's gonna blow up or hijack the plane. BTW - at least 3 aircraft have been hijacked since 2001, albeit in other parts of the world. It truly does happen. Do you not get that?? Let's do nothing then... and see how many people raise holy hell when another tragedy happens and cry out that nothing was done.

On a side note... it IS possible to believe in stringent airline security procedures and NOT think that Iraq was behind 9/11. It's also possible to believe in stringent airline security and volunteer AND vote for Obama - who last time I checked was still a Christian.
posted by matty at 3:25 PM on June 14, 2008


A little off-topic... but I'm vehemently against guns in the cockpit.
posted by matty at 3:28 PM on June 14, 2008


Even a quick Wikipedia search gives you this list of 'noteable' hijackings since 2001- i.e. not a complete list:

* 2006: Turkish Airlines Flight 1476, flying from Tirana to Istanbul, was hijacked in Greek airspace. The aircraft, with 107 passengers and six crew on board, transmitted two coded hijack signals which were picked up by the Greek air force; the flight was intercepted by military aircraft and landed safely at Brindisi, Italy.

* 2007: an Aeroflot Airbus A320 flying from Moscow to Geneva was hijacked by a drunk man in Prague and there released crew and passengers after he was arrested by the Czech Republic.

* 2007: an Air West Boeing 737 was hijacked over Sudan, but landed safely at N'Djamena, Chad.

* 2007: an Air Mauritanie Boeing 737 flying from Nouakchott to Las Palmas with 87 passengers on board was hijacked by a man who wanted to fly to Paris, but the plane landed in an air base near Las Palmas and the hijacker, a Moroccan, was arrested.

* 2007: an Atlasjet MD-80 en route from Nicosia to Istanbul was hijacked by two Arab students, who said they were Al Qaeda operatives, one trained in Afghanistan, and wanted to go to Tehran, Iran. The plane landed in Antalya, the passengers escaped and the hijackers were arrested.
posted by matty at 3:33 PM on June 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


The "No Cowards" door would lead directly to the "No Cowards" airplane with no inspections, no security line, no metal detectors just like they did for the first 50 years of aviation history.

FUck that, it should take you back in time to the 1970s, so you can re-experience the golden age of airplane terrorism.
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on June 14, 2008


There's some real hostility here about the security procedures. I find it almost comical... people being pissed at a system that is actually trying to keep them safe.
posted by matty at 9:13 AM on June 14


Matty, the system does not give a shit about safety. It does not give a shit about the you, or me, or the public. The system cares about protecting and enlarging the system. The TSA is a giant trash can that the American people burn their money in. At its lower levels, it is staffed by junior college dropouts and people who couldn't get a job cleaning up vomit at a Wal-Mart. At its upper levels, it is staffed by well-connected people who bought their degrees online and know a guy who knows a guy who covered for some other rich guy when he killed a hooker twenty years ago. The consultants it hires are PowerPoint jockeys who never had an original thought in their lives, yet who charge hundreds of dollars an hour telling the government to buy million-dollar scanners instead of fifty-dollar deadbolts. I am sorry if this hits close to home for you, but you know as well as I do that whatever you told them was dumb or ineffective or both. Hey! Here's an idea for your next meeting! Surgically remove the eyes of every passenger and put them back in when they reach their destination. Who could hijack a plane without eyes? Oh, don't whine! It's a minor inconvenience! There you go, buddy, you can bill them a couple grand for that.

Everything the TSA does is reactionary: scruffy guy has a clumsy shoe bomb? Everyone removes their shoes. Some overpaid administrator realizes that you need to store explosives in containers? No containers! Problem solved! Another one cuts himself with his nail clippers because they weren't rounded like scissors for children and the retarded? No nail clippers! America is safe!

They're a joke. An increasingly powerful and expensive one, but a joke nonetheless. How many terrorists and hijackers have the TSA captured so far? Zero? A couple flight attendants and passengers on American Airlines Flight 63 have captured more hijackers than the entire TSA, annual operating budget over $5.5 billion. Thanks for wasting our money, assholes.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:40 PM on June 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


matty: that list of 'notable' hijackings sounds like the work of drunks, idiots & manics.

case in point: "take us to Tehran!" fuck, it's only a day or so by bus once you get to Antalya, and won't cost more than $50, max. *let's not draw attention to ourselves, shall we?*

the fact that they only made it from Nicosia to Antalya (um, like a half hour flight) only to be arrested with all the passengers escaping ok reveals them to be about as much of a security threat as a rotten banana.

i guess they'd watched Midnight Express & decided that Turkish prison lifestyle was preferable to whatever shitty prospects they had back home.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:09 PM on June 14, 2008


"matty: that list of 'notable' hijackings sounds like the work of drunks, idiots & manics."

I guess that makes it ok then?
posted by matty at 4:20 PM on June 14, 2008


pretty much, yes. reading those hijacking stories makes me think they were the kinds of people who'd have trouble tying their own shoelaces.

on the other hand, i'm imagining somebody with one of those huge wheelie suitcases stuck in a queue of 500 people, saying "shit, mate, this is taking forever. i've gotta go take a wizz; can you mind my bag & place in the queue for me...?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:30 PM on June 14, 2008


I've already concurred that it's not perfect and needs improvement, and I've also found some of the procedures to be ludricous at times - but it's not theatre. By your reasoning it shouldn't be done at all... lets just let everyone board without a screening 'cause there's a billion to one chance there's a terrorist on board who's gonna blow up or hijack the plane.

The x-ray of carry-on luggage, the chemical-sniff of carry-on luggage, and the millimeter-ray of the human body are not theatre: they provide useful security.

The banning of nail clippers is pure theatre. The extendable handle on my roller suitcase can be easily snapped-off to provide a pair of sharp, long, lethal weapons, yet is allowed.

I am all for effective screening measures.

I am against security theatre. And, boy-howdy, do we have a lot of useless Muppet Theatre-quality TSA behaviour.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:34 PM on June 14, 2008


Are we reaching the point where people are conflating ANY kind of security with security theathre? Because that's probably quite a bad thing as well. I lay full responsibility at the feet of the liquids/nailclippers crowd.
posted by Artw at 5:32 PM on June 14, 2008


The chemical sniffer thing for bags is, by the way, probably non-functional or at least useless. Mothboy IV, who makes bombs for a living (grad student, military contract) used the work backpack he takes with him everywhere as a carry on, and it should be well laced with the chemicals he works with (he had to shave his head because some of that crap was not washing out of his hair). He got swabbed, and despite sweating bullets that he might not get to fly, and indeed end up in a private room somewhere with invasive prodding, there was not a peep from the machine or security staff.
posted by Phalene at 6:04 PM on June 14, 2008


in other words, blocking this thread would be better for security than all those searches? (on a return for effort basis)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:44 PM on June 14, 2008


matty writes "unless that camouflage technique blends in with your skin perfectly. People really should take a look at the images and educate themselves to how the system works before passing judgment. Do you really think that even the most clueless security officer isn't going to find the image that is radically different from the THOUSANDS of others he's looked at that day the LEAST bit suspicious? The obfuscation itself would be enough to raise flags. Not to mention the imaging algorithms in the system that point out just such irregularities. It's not always so much what you see, but not seeing what you you EXPECT to see"

I wonder. Forget exotic plastics and rubber, let's go with plain old meat. Cut out some nice thin slices of ham or steak and line your tighty whities. Conceal contraband within. The meat will stop the millimetre waves and the elastics of the tighty whities will obfuscate the edge of the meat.
posted by Mitheral at 7:54 PM on June 14, 2008


My terrorist has a first name,
It's O-S-C-A-R...
posted by five fresh fish at 10:07 PM on June 14, 2008


Some people have mentioned the stick of dynamite up the ass trick. That's all very well, but how are you going to light the thing? H'mm?
posted by Myeral at 1:52 AM on June 15, 2008


sitting in the airport as I type this, let me say that between the tsa and the airlines, I'm driving next time. Security was demeaning and arbitrary and the airlines are doing their best to worsen things now that they're trying to charge to check a bag. What idiot came up with that policy.

And which idiot decided xrating shoes is better than sniffing them for explosives. As mentioned upthread, the only non-theatrical improvement has been the upgraded cockpit doors and expansion of the air marshal program.

How do I know it's a buch of shit? The announcement tthat just came over the PA about "threat level orange." If you don't scare people, they won't let you waste vast sums.
posted by wierdo at 5:33 AM on June 15, 2008


matty: You are spending enormous amounts of OUR money attempting to create the illusion of safety against one very particular attack.

Unfortunately, you did not work for the Department of Passenger-Based Airplane Attack Prevention. You worked for the Department of Homeland Security.

By misallocating enormous amounts of resources to efforts that have ever-diminishing returns, you are wasting our money, and failing to protect us in the whole, even if we might be ever so slightly safer from shoe-bombers.

The worst part is that it appears designed to cover the asses of politicians (hey, just make sure that this one particular scenario is really hard!) and to assuage the fears of people who don't really fly that often anyway.

And all of that crap pisses us off.

---

Fun fact about the shoe bomber: Remember how after richard reid got caught, they started having TSA officers bend and flex people's shoes right near the crowded security line? Well, the explosive that Reid used would've exploded when twisted that way, killing dozens of people in the security line.
posted by Project F at 5:51 AM on June 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sweet!! Soon the TSA will join the patent office as one of the only profitable branches of government!! I just hope Bush doesn't privatize the marketing of the images, allowing middlemen to take all the profits.

No seriously this sounds like a positive move if stuff speeds up. Ditch the "security theatre" crap, like rules against water bottles and nail clippers.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:07 AM on June 15, 2008


how are you going to light the thing? H'mm?

I think you take it out first.
posted by marble at 12:11 PM on June 15, 2008


I don't see why you have a problem with this. It will keep Muslims from flying as they have very strict rules on appropriate dress. No flying muslims equals no terror. The logic is surely that simple. The war on terror is won, we can all go home now.

Well this is a better solution than the first option which was to spray every passenger with pigs blood as they pass through security.
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:12 PM on June 15, 2008


Myeral writes "Some people have mentioned the stick of dynamite up the ass trick. That's all very well, but how are you going to light the thing?"

Radio, atmospheric pressure sensing or timed detonator.
posted by Mitheral at 12:29 PM on June 15, 2008


On the subject of dynamite up the ass, if the explosive can be made with a clay-like but not too stiff texture, it could be made indistinguishable without cavity search from ordinary human feces. Our terrorist either eats the stuff and waits through a few uncomfortable hours before flying, or has it uncomfortably introduced into his body through an enema tube, goes through screening, boards the plane, shows his Ex-Lax tablets and his (modified) iPod with the rest of his gear, waits 'til the plane is in the air, takes an Ex-Lax, waits 'til it kicks in, stuffs the toilet bowl with paper, relieves himself, opens the iPod, strips the earbud wires, sticks them as electrodes into his unnatural deposit, activates the charge capacitor, and boom!

TSA response: 12-hr fast, and enemas, before flying.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:47 PM on June 15, 2008


Seriously though ... this is just a difficult image processing problem. The TSA (by which I mean, a theoretical smart agency in charge of transport security) isn't interested in ogling the doughy forms of the lumpen proletariat. It's interested in detection of weapons and explosives. What it needs to do is make a real-time density profiling scanner with a voxel resolution of maybe .5cm cube or smaller, and look for anything dense enough to be metal, ceramic or bone. Thus you don't get an image that looks like the traveller's corpse would on being dragged from a river, you get a skeleton (something that comparatively fewer people get the willies about others looking at) and some floating items around it. Perhaps easily distinguished density could be indicated with colors, eg green bones, red metal, yellow ceramic, blue wood, etc. I totally recall having seen that sort of thing somewhere.

This is an image processing and scanning technology research grant worth millions, just waiting to happen. To heck with what the TSA wants it for: the real use of the density scanner is medical. It'd be an unprecedented boon to osteopathology and surgery.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:00 PM on June 15, 2008


They wouldn't even need image processing if they had a terrorist sensing oracle. Too bad they don't have one of those either.
posted by ryanrs at 7:26 PM on June 15, 2008


(And by "terrorist oracle", I don't mean a database of names.)
posted by ryanrs at 7:28 PM on June 15, 2008


The xray machines that we put our carry-on through do colour-coding of the image. It's really cool. I can't see any reason the same can't be done for the millimeter-ray stuff.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:18 PM on June 15, 2008


More on TSA competence.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:43 PM on June 15, 2008


AHAHAHAHA! OMG! With a straight face you quote lewrockwell.com as a reliable source?

Oh, man, Krrrlson. You take trolling to a whole new level. I salute you!
posted by dersins at 10:56 PM on June 15, 2008


I totally recall having seen that sort of thing somewhere.

I was so close to falling for that and posting where you'd seen it before.
posted by flaterik at 11:01 PM on June 15, 2008


Lew Rockwell, former congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul

Ha! I didn't even notice. Though the incident itself appears to be genuine.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:23 PM on June 15, 2008


aeschenkarnos, are you sure it hasn't been done?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:56 AM on June 16, 2008


Project F : It is a success if the shoe bomb goes off in the line, as they don't kill all the people on the plane. But I think these machines do eliminate the need for talking off shoes.

an egg : I'm afraid nudity will only prevent Moslem *women*, not Moslem men.

I can imagine a multi-layer system here :

luggage : Checked baggage uses current inspection procedures, and all hand baggage passes current x-ray machines

laptop : No one may carry a laptop batter onto the airplane, but laptop power is always available on the plane & in the airport.

person : Clothed people must *all* pass these machines that see through your clothes, and also into your rectum. Express lanes are available but only for nude people, still a random sample of these must still pass machines that see into body cavities. I suppose anyone who objects to these new machines can receive a more traditional body cavity search.

swine : Everyone must eat a piece of bacon in security, or you may merely kiss a live pig if you are vegetarian. A small random sample of people will be required to carry a cute but flatulent pot-bellied pig throughout the duration of the flight. You must return the pig to a flight attendant when you exit the aircraft.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:17 AM on June 16, 2008


Man, it's going to be just like the earphones. Soon after, pigs will only be free in business class, and everyone in economy is going to have to pony up $3.

Seriously though, I'll agree to the pigs if they ban small children.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:29 AM on June 16, 2008


Shit, I normally risk arrest to have strangers see me naked. Now all I need is an airplane ticket?
posted by jckll at 2:19 PM on June 16, 2008


So it's supposedly random, who gets pulled aside?

Supposedly. But as an update, I flew out of National yesterday. I saw maybe one person (the line was moving fast, so that was out of about 5 that I would have been in a position to see) put into the millimeter wave thing. That was a white guy using a passport for ID. It didn't look like most passengers knew or cared what the thing was, either. Of course everyone was so busy taking off their shoes and putting away their boarding passes and ID that it was hard to tell.
posted by dilettante at 7:14 PM on June 21, 2008


Why isn't everyone going through the millimeter wave machine? Surely if they didn't have everyone dealing with shoes and unpacking laptops and all that other security theatre bullshit, they'd be able to move the lines twice as fast.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:46 AM on June 22, 2008


Why isn't everyone going through the millimeter wave machine? Surely if they didn't have everyone dealing with shoes and unpacking laptops and all that other security theatre bullshit, they'd be able to move the lines twice as fast.

I think baggage and shoes still have to go through the usual rigamorole, and the m-wave machine is just to take the place of pat downs. Doesn't speed up the overall process, but does for the people who get extra security and maybe is more reliable than a patdown. The guy I was talking about was in line in front of me, and I was definitely through with it all first.
posted by dilettante at 2:25 PM on June 22, 2008


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