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Security Scanners That Make You Look Naked

Another stunt played by makers of airport, full-body, backscatter-X-ray scan

Posted by Sylveef on 2010-09-16 14:55:46

Another stunt played by makers of airport, full-body, backscatter-X-ray scan

I have read with a sense of amusement the statement by the companies that they have modified the software, and now the travelers shall be seen in jeans, T-shirt and baseball cap. How funny? Are these the main issues we are after? The main issue comes from the health effects.

This type of screening poses highest risk to babies (because of weak resistance for diseases, may damage the bones, permanently), children under 11 years of age (because their bodies are growing rapidly, and they still have to enter puberty, any messing up with the hormonal system at this stage may have very serious consequences for them for the rest of life, further their bone marrow is weak, that’ why people do not like their kids to be X-rayed for scoliosis and look for alternate ways to detect this deformity), elderly people (their immune systems; also, they can not stand and move easily for body scan) and pregnant women (radiation may bring out permanent damage to fetus, also cumulative dose may bring breast cancer).

That was my reason of introducing integrated unclothed screening for kids less than 11 years of age. Of course, if this goes on to limits, adults may also request integrated unclothed screening in private by same-sex screeners.

Airline travel may be made secure by thorough pat downs (with minimal clothing on), canine teams, proper identification, face and body-posture recognition to spot potential terrorist (I am sure that the surveillance teams at airports are already doing this). They have to develop alternate methods of screening, which do not involve exposing passengers to does of radiation.

I am summarizing below some of the information, I have collected from Internet:

In the full-body scan, X rays pass through clothes and Compton scattered to produce a naked image (which could be stored, although not stored during test runs) of the person being screened. Modern-image-processing systems can show this image as negative (looking like a body pattern). With a click of button, this could be converted into a positive (depicting the actual shape of face and body) image. In this process, it generates millions and millions of electrons on or near the skin. We are concerned because Compton scattering of X rays (ionizing radiation), sets of a very large number of scattered electrons. In fact, could disturb fluid-electrolyte balance of the body. On top of it, backscatter-X rays, not only, expose passengers, but also, security guards, who have to stand exposed for a whole shift of passengers. Depending on the geometry of the source producing them, they may fall off as inverse square or inverse. The companies state that these X rays are of low intensity and medium energy (the cross section of Compton scattering is maximum at medium energy: Eisberg & Resnick: Quantum Physics). The nature of damage depends on the energy of the photons interacting with the surface. The extent of damage depends on the number of photons (intensity) interacting with the surface. The operational requirements (detection of weapons hidden anywhere on the body surface or inside clothes) demand that image of genitals not be blurred using filters, because that would nullify the very purpose of scanning. And this is the reason that there is no provision of shielding of gonads in this system, which is a standard safety requirement in all clinical-X-ray procedures. Further, at some stage, the authorities managing the system would like to store the images for investigation and evaluation of any security lapses discovered at a later stage as well as research purposes. Hence, the statement that the images are destroyed after processing seems not to be compatible with standard security procedures and does not make any sense. At present, data are not available on false positives (implicating innocent passengers to strip-search). However, there are indications that these would be almost as many as for security gates, because many things, which are harmless, may look like potential threat on screen, for example, a pen may be mistaken as a pen pistol. It has been pointed out that application of talcum powder on the skin may also produce false positives. As regards missed cases, the system would not be able to detect material, which has the same reflective properties as human skin. Note that full-body scan is a surface analysis technique, it would not detect explosives contained inside the body and in the body folds (according to companies manufacturing the system, radiation dose is kept low enough to skim the body surface) as well as drugs.

My polls related to Airport Security and Kids:

Airport Security and Kids http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/356908

Airport Security and Kids1 http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/369674

Airport Security and Kids2 http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/369487

Airport Security and Kids3 http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/475983

Sincerely,

Sylveef sylvee@live.com