Home // Privacy // Increasingly unpopular airport body scanners may offer false security

Increasingly unpopular airport body scanners may offer false security

USA Today documents the growing resistance to the use of body scanners at airports — a resistance that’s particularly marked in Europe. Complaints about the devices include the expected concerns about privacy, long lines, expense and potential health concerns from even the relatively low levels of radiation emitted by the machines.

It should be noted in addition, however, that body scanners aren’t some kind of proven, super-secure technology that offers us a choice between guaranteed safety and keeping our naughty bits under cover. In fact, the machines may offer a false sense of security. German television did a very interesting demonstration in which an infrared scanner failed to uncover various objects hidden on and around a subjects body — components for thermite. You don’t need to understand a word of the lingo to see what’s going on or to recognize the embarrassment on the (English-speaking) operator’s face. (But if you do speak German, please feel free to fill in the details).

Note that the types of scanners favored by the TSA have their own flaws. Ben Wallace, a British member of Parliament who used to advise a company that studied millimeter-wave scanners, says the devices are fine for picking up knives and guns, but can’t detect powder, liquid or thin plastic.

Posted in Privacy and tagged as


  • I guess, what’s coming from the government is now comparable to spam in email – you don’t need to read the whole thing to recognize it – you see one-two codewords, like “prestigious diploma”, or “loan”, or “award”. Same here, you hear “protection”, or “security”, or “terrorism”, and you know they are trying to steal yet another billion of dollars.

    I wonder if somebody could name a single government undertaking in the recent ten years or so, that wouldn’t be total scam.

  • The other day I took the bus from downtown to DIA (Denver), and several TSA agents got on in Aurora. I assume that, like other government bureaucrats, they are paid a professional-level salary for their services–who knows?–probably more than I make. They sat down behind me. So they discussed the latest tech advances and developments in the security field on the ride to the airport? No haha, of course not. Those losers are like spoiled, whiny little children. All they talked about the whole twenty-five minute ride was how they need a raise because “rent and food are all going up,” and some idiotic, high school-like punishment one of them received for insubordination.

    My point is, the real scam is that these worthless chumps could ever accomplish anything, or stop any determined criminal or terrorist with an IQ over 80 from doing whatever he or she wanted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *