Airport shoe-scanner device could prevent stupid shoe-removal ritual

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36 Responses to “Airport shoe-scanner device could prevent stupid shoe-removal ritual”

  1. jonico says:

    Knowing my luck *Shaquille O’Neal will be in front of me when I am waiting to get my foot scanned, and it will take just as long.

    *U.S. shoe size 23

  2. t08ch says:

    I don’t mind spending an extra ten minutes at the airport in the vain hope of slightly more protection. Richard Reed might have failed but he wasn’t the first person to try and at least one of his predecessors was successful – and had way more planning. A bomb made from components partially hidden in a shoe and partially in other liquid containers successfully detonated on a commercial airliner over 10 years ago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Airlines_Flight_434

  3. Takuan says:

    this is all leading towards the automatic cavity search scanner.

    • Antinous says:

      this is all leading towards the automatic cavity search scanner.

      They exist under a different name. I won’t provide links.

  4. grimc says:

    @T08ch

    I don’t mind spending an extra ten minutes at the airport in the vain hope of slightly more protection.

    10 minutes? You must not fly in/out/through any of the major ones…

  5. nosearmy says:

    This sort of equipment was installed at ATL several years ago. It was a mess. It takes extra time for a single person to stand on the scanner and wait to be approved. Two lines formed, one of people waiting to be foot-scanned and one of people who just took their shoes off and put them in the x-ray. I would much rather stand in my socks a few moments than wait five extra minutes–and I assume others felt the same way, or TSA got tired of the extra trouble, because the machines disappeared.

    But then, I would also have no problem walking through an x-ray scanner that revealed my private parts, if I could avoid having to remove all metal from my person and place it on a tray. What happens now is less dignified than letting a TSA employee see what I’ve got under my clothes. Am I alone here?

  6. Chris Barrus says:

    This is nothing new. The Rome airport had shoe scanners a year and a half ago.

  7. COINOperatedBoy says:

    Thing is, you don’t need to take your shoes off at BGI anyway. And liquids aren’t banned either.

  8. dragonfrog says:

    I have to wonder what they’re really looking for with these various (alleged) chemical sensors.

    Some friends of mine returned by air from a pyrotechnics convention; they had spent a good deal of time in workshops handling and setting off explosives. On their way through security, wearing the same clothes they’d had on during the workshops (not laundered since), the “explosives sniffer” devices didn’t make a peep.

    I have my personal suspicion that if those gizmos are looking for anything, it’s drugs…

  9. Blue says:

    Thank god Richard Reid didn’t employ an explosive-packed cod-piece.

  10. Lauren O says:

    Thing is, you don’t need to take your shoes off at BGI anyway. And liquids aren’t banned either.

    Yeah, I found this really interesting when I went to Israel this summer. Transferring planes in Atlanta, I had to go through an extra security line to get on the plane, and then flying into Ben Gurion, they made announcements that it was Israeli law that we all had to stay in our seats for the last half hour of the flight. I figured terrorism was a big deal in Israel, and I was ready to go through all sorts of shit at the airport.

    Then it turned out to be much more pleasant and easy and friendly than virtually all of the US airports I have been through, and like a million times better than Heathrow. It really made me wonder which security measures were necessary and which weren’t.

  11. mdh says:

    “…a lot of people hate having to take off their shoes at security checkpoints”

    A lot more people hate me taking off my shoes at security checkpoints.

    If TSA insists on smelling ‘em, than I insist on not being embarrassed by it. It’s not anti-social if the gov’t makes you do it.

  12. Avram says:

    T08ch @13, that’s true that you say about Philippine Air Flight 434, but also note that when Ramzi Yousef smuggled the bomb parts in his shoes, it was at a time when metal detectors didn’t scan that low. The Wikipedia page you linked to even mentions this fact in its section about the bomb.

    So ordinary current-vintage metal detectors might be adequate for detecting a Flight 434-style bomb today.

  13. pmocek says:

    see also: discussion of this on TSA’s blog: http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2008/07/leave-your-shoes-on.html

  14. IckesTheSane says:

    @#9, Jerril

    Yeah, the fluoroscope was the first thing I thought of too. See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoe-fitting_fluoroscope

    History Channels Modern Marvels had a segment on their Modern Marvels: Engineering Disasters #18 show.
    http://www.historychannel.com.tr/shows.do?episodeId=358342&action=detail

    You can see a short portion of the segment here, but it’s enough to realize how bad an idea the original one was:
    http://www.truveo.com/MODERN-MARVELS-Failed-Inventions-XRay/id/2361908965

  15. asuffield says:

    Unfortunately this won’t solve our problem. We don’t have to take our shoes off because they need to be scanned. We have to take our shoes off so we don’t forget the threat of terrorism. So we don’t forget we’re at war. So we don’t forget to be afraid. Be very afraid.

    While the US government does invest a lot of effort in making sure people are afraid, that’s not what this is about.

    I don’t mind spending an extra ten minutes at the airport in the vain hope of slightly more protection.

    While they do things in airports which provide slightly more protection, that’s not what all this is about either.

    These ridiculous rituals are about making sure that everybody knows their government is doing something. It’s about fostering the belief that you need the government to protect you from terrorism. They use the media to convince you that the threat is serious; the rituals are to convince you that they can protect you.

    It’s all a big lie, of course. They really can’t.

  16. Antinous says:

    Thought: don’t go. Don’t play.

    I am quite happy not to fly. But what do you expect business travelers to do? Swim?

  17. Takuan says:

    a new culture of business will emerge where the lesser partner in the power relationship will be understood to endure the security theater rape as emphasis of his lower position. “I’ll have my people fuck your people” etc. etc.

  18. billstewart says:

    US airport TSA thugs started recommending that we take off our shoes because lots of shoes have metal parts in them, so it slowed down the lines by having lots of people beeping at the metal detector and having to go back and take their shoes off, but if you had non-metallic shoes you could go through.
    But once they got the sheep in the habit of taking their shoes off, they then invoked the magic “it’s always been this way” rule and most US airports now insist that everybody take their shoes off. It wasn’t particularly coordinated with Richard Reid The Shoe-Bomber (unlike the ban on lighters, which was.)
    This was especially obvious in Hawaii, where a fairly high fraction of people wear sandals, especially on interisland flights (though if you take the little airlines that use the commuter terminals, you avoid all that.)

  19. hsrcmedia says:

    The TSA is gathering information from companies about shoe scanners. Again. And we are wondering why the TSA does not give the boot to this unneeded additional technology. Are shoe scanners cost effective, and are they really what we need to increase our security and reduce our vulnerability?

    The answers to both questions are: No.

    Source:
    http://www.homelandsecurityresearch.net/2009/03/18/shoe-scanners-a-step-in-the-wrong-direction/

  20. Keir says:

    #3 I agree, that’s why I resent it so much. I live in the UK, where at airports they pick people at random (seemingly) and make them take their shoes off. I’ve had to take mine off once or twice.

  21. wurp says:

    Are liquids banned in Ben-Gurion?

    ‘Cause that’s one of the dumbest fucking things the US fed has done in a long time, and they’ve done some pretty stupid things.

    Obviously it’s barely a blip on the evil gauge (relatively speaking), but it’s pushing the red on the wtfometer.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Richard Reid the shoe bomber was stopped not because he had a shitty bomb, but because when he tried to light the fuse, other passengers beat the shit out of him. The shoe thing is legit, but the Israeli scanner makes way more sense than taking off the shoes… Luckily our allies are using their brains to solve problems, even if we are not.

  23. Purly says:

    Thank goodness.

  24. terra78 says:

    Unfortunately this won’t solve our problem. We don’t have to take our shoes off because they need to be scanned. We have to take our shoes off so we don’t forget the threat of terrorism. So we don’t forget we’re at war. So we don’t forget to be afraid. Be very afraid.

  25. t3knomanser says:

    WHARGARBL!!11!1

    For the love of crap, I can’t stand this. Seriously, how much capital was invested in this pointless abomination of technology?

    Note to self: I should video tape people going through airport security, speed up the video and set it to “Yakety Sax”.

  26. mgfarrelly says:

    Please place your feet in the mystery box to be scanned.

    The luggage? Oh we just toss that stuff in the hold, no time to scan it all. We’ve got a plane to fly!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Will it also clear fungus off my fingers?

  28. gbv23 says:

    Well there was that shoe bomber guy (Richard Reed)

  29. Not a Doktor says:

    Yeah and reed FAILED

  30. Jerril says:

    Is anyone else reminded of the old fluroscopes[1] that used to lurk in shoe stores, waiting to x-ray your feet and show you how bad your current shoes were for your feet?

    The ones that had to be pulled because they were a radiation hazard?

    These apparently are magnetic instead, which is a completely different technology base, but yeah. Sort of an amusing mental link.

    [1] or whatever they were. Free internet cookie if you can tell me what the hell they were called, Wikipedia is pretending ignorance.

  31. doktor tchock says:

    hooray for the impending waves of foot cancer victims.

  32. jphilby says:

    At the (acceptable) risk of sounding like a curmudgeon:

    Don’t you people ever get tired of pissing and moaning about the inconvenience of airport security?

    Thought: don’t go. Don’t play.

    If you do decide to play, then swallow it and STFU.

  33. tomic says:

    It’s an empty box with three LEDs on it, made by Halliburton at at cost of $73,234.71 each. Since there’s nothing in shoes but stinky socks, this will suffice for all interested parties.

  34. Itsumishi says:

    #28 posted by Anonymous

    Yes, after he sat trying to light the fuse for long enough for
    1 – people to complain about the smell of smoke
    2 – to get told off for trying to ‘smoke’ on the plane
    3 – to have the same person who told him off for smoking come back minutes later and ask him to stop again

    So his bomb must have been fairly shitty if he couldn’t even get the damn fuse lit.

  35. Takuan says:

    they don’t mention the pop out spring steel shackles and rotary saw blades since they don’t want you to worry about false positives.

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