Naked airport scanner catches cellphone, misses bomb components

Discuss

67 Responses to “Naked airport scanner catches cellphone, misses bomb components”

  1. cybergibbons says:

    Hmm. These are indeed different to the millimeter wave scanners that are frequently shown in the news. This is ThruVision – which is a passive terahertz imaging system rather than an active EHF system.

    I’ve seen this demoed before, and it’s a great system in certain applications. It can actually be used from a distance and on moving subjects, unlike millimeter wave scanners. I was under the impression they were targetting this at knive and gun crime in railway stations and the like.

    It’s pretty clear that this guy was set-up. He doesn’t speak German, he gets railroaded into allowing the guy to wear a jacket, doesn’t get to use a metal detector, he isn’t allowed to pat him down. He also doesn’t appear to be the most charismatic or quick-thinking character and ends up getting pwned. I’d seriously be questioning the reasoning of the people who sent him out there.

  2. Digilante says:

    I feel sorry for the brown-sweater guy. He reminds me a bit of me, an engineer, giving demonstrations of our new super hi-tech research radar unit, which the godforsaken marketing and management dweebs sold off as the answer to the world’s problems, while in fact the thing can barely distinguish between a fly and a jumbo jet; and that being only apparent to someone trained in looking at those low-res images. The technology is superb, but it DOES NOT DO what the big talkers say it can do.

  3. mellowknees says:

    How to solve the whole not bringing weapons onto an airplane thing:

    1) Everyone flies naked.
    2) No carry-on baggage allowed.
    3) Crazy purple knock-out gas.

    There you go, nude, unconscious, and nothing to grab if the gas doesn’t work.

    I side with George Carlin on this one:

    “Shit, there are a lot of things you could use to kill a guy. You could probably beat a guy to death with the Sunday New York Times, couldn’t you? Suppose you just have really big hands? Couldn’t you strangle a flight attendant? Shit, you could probably strangle two of them, one with each hand. That is, if you were lucky enough to catch ‘em in that little kitchen area. Just before they break out the fuckin’ peanuts. But you could get the job done. If you really cared enough.”

  4. MyopicTailor111 says:

    This is 1% terrorism and 99% vendor-driven hype to sell this expensive and useless piece of equipment to all airports around the world (thanks to demands from bribed US security officers who take money from the vendor).

  5. Dave! says:

    To all those saying, “This doesn’t prove anything because they didn’t use the machine right” presupposes that the security rent-a-cops manning the machines at the airports *will* use them right. I challenge that assumption.

  6. Anonymous says:

    this clip gained a lot of attention here in germany. it was critized for not meeting journalistic standards:
    it is beeing said in the clip that under normal circumstances the guy would be asked to take his jacket off and that he would be scanned from *all* sides in a real situation. the scanner would have detected everything except for what he had in his ass and his mouth.

    but I think thats still enough to make these horrible things obsolete.
    body scanners suck!

  7. Anonymous says:

    These scanners will work fine for the same reason car bombs aren’t going off left and right in American cities. Despite the hype, the number of motivated and capable terrorists is exceedingly small. No scanner will catch something cleverly hidden – whether it be disguised as a ‘naughty bit’ or merely as a butt plug – unless the human component is willing to strip search every single questionable passenger. Folks might want to visit the US badly enough to put up with that, but domestically folks will just stop flying if that is the only alternative.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just a little note. I wasn’t really suprised that the scanner couldn’t find the things in his jacket and the guy notes the jacket would’ve been scanned seperatly or at least, stuff would’ve been visible if he was scanned. What shocked me most was the fact, that he had stuff TAPED TO HIS LEG, just as in the case three weeks ago! It was not shown clearly in the clip, but he makes a remark and tries to put off that stuff but leaves it, while everyone is surprised.

    The worst remark is the one from Mr. Bosbach after they show the possible effects of the material burnt. He says that “people shouldn’t make fun of these scenarios” which is silly, as he is one of those guys who try to elevate his points by imagining scenarios that are far fetched.

  9. JOEL1967 says:

    I should keep my mouth shut, but there is away to carry large amounts of both components right on a plane with no dectection, and besides explosives or thermite there is one other that could be used that I’ve not see brought up yet. I wonder if it’s even been thought of ?

    • Trent Hawkins says:

      Hell, bit of creative surgery and I would imagine that you could re-enact that scene from BatMan.

    • AirPillo says:

      Mercury? A little mercury rubbed onto exposed aluminum will rot it to a rusted powdery failure within a couple hours. A flask full of the stuff could bring the whole plane down if someone could get it onto the right part of the airframe with a bit of abrasion to get it past the oxide layer.

      Also, thank you very much acirpac for the translation, that certainly helps!

      • SamSam says:

        You see much exposed aluminum last time you were on a plane? The passenger compartment is pretty much sealed in plastic. You’d have to cut through the floor first, and then hope no one noticed your little pool of mercury in the corner for several hours. And when it went through and made a 6″x6″ hole, it still wouldn’t do much, as myth busters showed us — contrary to what they show in movies, a little hole in the plane isn’t enough to bring it down, such the people out, or suffocate you. The plane would have plenty of time to get to a lower altitude.

        • AirPillo says:

          It’s not easy to get it onto aluminum, sure. I suppose you’d have to be a baggage handler or something. Someone with access to the lower area of the plane.

          I think the idea with that would be for it to go unnoticed until it could cause some sort of structural failure in an important avionics component. A few streaks of mercury and gallium smeared across a few different swaths of interior components hastily, for example. With so much redunancy in aircraft it’s unlikely to harm a soul, but it would scare people quite well.

          It’s a stupid and obtuse idea that has a slim chance of actually working, but then again so are most of the ones that actually get attempted anymore.

          Kind of a good example of why making reactionary security measures is such a bad idea, I think. All it takes is one person to try doing this and society would spend more money and human effort preventing it in the future than they would have lost if it succeeds. You don’t need to harm people to terrorize them, you just need to make them think they could have died, or could in the future.

  10. seanboing says:

    So many of you are quick to jump on this, without doing a little bit of analysis. This is a passive scanner. Meaning, it does not emit energy, it only reads it. The image seen on the laptop is much more blurry than the nice sharp grey images we are seeing from an active scanner. An active scanner bombards the subject with millimeter radio waves and reads the result. Much more accurate.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Under the normal conditions such as at airports the passangers would be asked to take their jackets off and that indivuduals would be scanned from ‘all sides’. The scanner would have detected everything except for what can be hidden inside the ‘body’.

    Further more the demonstration is of diffrent scanner and at the airports the scanners will be diffrent.

    This is a passive scanner. Meaning, it does not emit energy, it only reads it. The image seen under this scanner will be much more blurry than the nice sharp images from an active scanner. An active scanner,the millimeter wave scanner, bombards the subject with millimeter radio waves and reads the results much more accurate.

    Capt S B Tyagi, India

  12. Anonymous says:

    Get over it. Everyone should just fly naked. After all, don’t the socialists already believe they own us? We’re just property of the government.

  13. Wordguy says:

    Is that the same display that will be used in airports? I thought they were going to blur the faces “for privacy”, but that screen shows a full color view of the scanee.

  14. Anonymous says:

    None of the terrorists have been fat people! So saying this won’t work is unfair unless they start recruiting fat people to blow up planes.

    The whole airplane thing is a big distraction at this point. The last few real targets haven’t been airplanes, they’ve been trains, entire governments, etc. The last few people trying to blow up planes were disposable amateurs that the terrorist groups didn’t even try to recruit, they were just off-balanced individuals given minimal direction and used to distract from the real targets.

  15. sterling says:

    FAIL. Where is a terrorist going to hide the frying pan and two bricks required to complete his deadly fireworks display I ask you? The scanner surely would pick those up. :-P

  16. Bouillion Cube says:

    I sat through a German language Youtube video for that? It’s a non-story. The tech is old and obviously crappy. This is way too trivial to trip your usual indignation meter.

  17. bodenski says:

    I agree with those above. A failure to test as one would in an airport conditions makes this whole demonstration a waste and proves nothing.

  18. ValuedRug says:

    I plan to crap a load in my pants while getting scanned by one of these things.

    They’d probably shoot me on the spot, thinking that I am mixing the explosive gels together.

  19. tekdog says:

    A few important facts that most people don’t know about airport security scanners, even the new full body scanners:
    1) they don’t accurately detect liquid or low density explosives
    2) they can’t tell the difference between water or liquid explosives — that’s why you can’t carry water on board. They also can’t tell whether your 3 oz bottles have shampoo or explosives
    3) the current auto detect software throws off so many false positives that TSA turns it off. (peanut butter, chocolate, honey and certain explosives and many other nonthreat items all appear the same on the scanner images – they might or might not have different shapes since explosives can be molded into various shapes)
    4) with the auto detect turned off, it is left to the screeners to identify the explosive/threat item in the image — THEREIN LIES THE BIGGEST PROBLEM
    —–Screeners from seeing threat items that aren’t visible in the images
    ——the limitations of human vision prevent the screeners from discerning items that aren’t differentiated within the image or only have microscopic differentiation (ie no way for them to distinguish water from liquid explosives from a scanner image — requires add’l security procedures.
    ——threat items can be blocked or hidden and therefore extremely difficult to detect even by well trained screeners
    ——distractions, inattention, eye fatigue and other human factors further reduce detection rates.

    Checkpoint security scanner/screener accuracy rates will only improve significantly with the addition of machine vision/image analysis software that can be added to the scanner equipment. Currently scanner manufacturers don’t allow this — their focus is selling more scanners

    One image analysis technology to look at is Guardian Technologies International’s PinPoint threat detection and identification software. It can accurately detect liquid and low density explosives and other threat items without the high false positives — this holds the potential to shorten security lines, enable people to carry water on the planes and lessen the likelihood that terrorist will breach security with threat items.

  20. badbcky says:

    Did anyone else notice that the Underpants Bomber showed up right on the heels of Australia’s announcement that it would reduce security because of the high cost and low benefit?

    Part of me thinks I’m being silly and paranoid, but part of me thinks the terrorist was allowed to slip through the cracks because TSA thought it was losing its hold on our fear factor.

  21. Anonymous says:

    They say this is a passive infrared-based system. I thought the new scanner uses high frequency radio waves or x-ray?

  22. Anonymous says:

    The airport scanners are incredible inefficient. I feel that technology should be perfected before being placed into airports. Many people feel that this is an invasion of privacy and while I agree that there should be more security measures to ensure the safety of people in the air, before privacy is invaded, these scanners should be capable of locating all dangerous devices on a person without broadcasting a person’s body throughout an airport. Other security measures should be taken.

    Bree M

  23. lhl says:

    Does someone have more information on the model/settings of the scanner used? I’m as hateful of security theater as anyone else, and am ambivalent about body scanners for a number of reasons, but the images I’ve seen of both backscatter x-ray and millimeter wave scanners are much more detailed and invasive than the red blobs shown in this video.

    (As Schneier mentions of course, there are tons of ways to circumvent even the highest resolution body scans, I could name a bunch more off the top of my head…)

  24. Anonymous says:

    Holy shit – around 2:21, it doesn’t sound like they’re just talking about bomb components – it sounds like they’re talking about THERMITE.

  25. hep cat says:

    This video is of a demo of some sort of thermal scanner , not a “Backscatter” X-Ray or Millimeter Wave scanner which is the “naked” scanner tech most people are talking about.

    It looks like it works fine for detecting objects against the skin that block heat, which doesn’t seem particularly useful by itself.
    Magnetometers don’t detect explosives , explosive detectors don’t detect knives.

    I don’t understand german , what threat is thermal scanning supposed to detect?
    It would work great for parrot smuggling and detecting people with fevers I suppose, and that would actually be a good idea.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn’t you mention this machine uses a different technology than the ones you usually talk about?

  27. Rindan says:

    I can’t recall where I say this… it might actually have been from a comment at BoingBoing, but I quote the Intertubes:

    “For your safety, please ease yourself onto the pole. Sir, we gave you vaseline, there’s no need to get belligerent.”

  28. AirPillo says:

    I hope someone volunteers an english transcript eventually. I’m curious what exactly is being said… beyond the obvious.

    • acirpac says:

      I hope someone volunteers an english transcript eventually. I’m curious what exactly is being said… beyond the obvious.

      There’s not much beyond the obvious. Basically the “morbidly obese” (from another commenter) Austrian guy hides thermite in his jacket, get’s scanned without taking said jacket off, removes the thermite afterwards and claims that it “could put a hole in a plane.”

      Since BB doesn’t seem to post anonymous comments today, here’s what I wrote a couple of hours ago:

      I’m no fan of these scanners and don’t think they really improve security but with all due respect, you leave out relevant facts here.

      For starters, the “bomb components” were essentially thermite and a lighter. Thermite doesn’t explode but burn at high temperatures.

      It would also be fair to mention the comments of the scanner guy. Basically, in a real airport scan he would have to turn sideways and remove his jacket (in which all the “bomb components” (thermite) were hidden).”

      Also, this is a passive thermal scanner, not one of those millimeter-wave “naked scanners.”

    • acirpac says:

      I hope someone volunteers an english transcript eventually.

      There you go:

      Very rough and rather literal translation, not proofread. Scanner guy partly in original English and partly translated from dubbed German. Broken English by Gruber indicated in brackets.

      L: Markus Lanz (presenter)
      G: Werner Gruber, morbidly obese Austrian guy (judging from the accent; probably from Vienna. Addressed as “professor” later on)
      B: Busbach (sp?)
      SG: scanner guy

      L: So everything under the skin can’t be seen?
      B: Right.
      L: Mr. Gruber, how secure is something like that?
      G: What we see here is a so-called “passive scanner” that works between infrared and microwave radiation. Our body heat is infrared – and there’s terahertz radiation – which we emit, even through our clothing. Sensors detect whether radiation is being emitted. If I were scanned right now the cell phone in my pocket would block the radiation which would be detected.
      L: Okay. So let’s try that and let’s see if it’s possible to detect objects that you wear on your body. Mr. Gruber, this way please. On stage in the big body scanner.
      (Applause)
      L: So we assume that we’ll see a cell phone. We’ll notice that Mr. Gruber has some objects on his body. Mr. Gruber, what else do you have? What else can we expect?
      G: A Swiss army knife.
      L: A Swiss army knife. Ah.
      SG: The object shows in contrast to the body.
      L: So this is that object that we see over there? The cell phone, okay. Let’s put that aside.
      G: (In English) Is this, here see?
      SG: If we were doing a full airport scan, the person would turn to the side.
      L: So he actually would have to turn to the side, ah. So that’s why we didn’t see the Swiss army knife. Could you detect that? The Swiss army knife he had in his pocket? Where can we see that, could you show us?
      SG: It would be on the side of the person, we could see that afterwards. But what we see here are the heat-absorbing objects.
      L: Do you see anything else?
      SG: I’m interested in this here.
      G: (In English) This is a microphone.
      SG: Oh, a microphone.
      L: So this white spot is suspicious? Okay, so that’s settled. (Pointing to Mr. Gruber) Anything else you have on your person?
      G: Yes, plenty of things. (Takes something out of his mouth) This is a detonator.
      L: Oh.
      G: (Takes small plastic jar out of jacket pocket) This is thermite.
      L: What… what is thermite?
      G: Thermite is a wonderful substance that burns at 4000° C.
      L: Wait, you had all that in your pocket?
      G: Yes. Just a moment…
      L: (Turning to scanner guy) Did you see all that?
      SG: Ah, uh…
      G: And then I have a band-aid.
      L: A band-aid?
      G: …in which there is a vial which could… there are crystalline explosives of which an amount that fits in there would be sufficient to put a big hole in a plane.
      L: (Turning to scanner guy) Why didn’t you detect that?
      SG: What I’d like to do is, let’s have another look at the image. As we said, in the airport…
      L: But that’s interesting, isn’t it? We’re talking about a body scanner and he has these objects… Mr. Gruber, where exactly where these objects?
      G: Here, in my jacket. Not even… oh, and then I have a lighter.
      L: A lighter?
      SG: I’ll answer the question from the… as we said, if this was in airport scenario he would have to remove his jacket.
      G: (In English) One part was not, was here.
      SG: Look at the jacket: the pockets in which the objects were concealed were not on his body. His body energy could wasn’t blocked. That’s part of the detection process of course. If this was in an airport scenario he would have to remove his jacket. Unfortunately, we certainly can’t see things inside the mouth. Our technology is used to detect objects between the skin and the clothing.
      L: Okay, so we saw that some things weren’t detected because we didn’t turn around which would usually be the case. We didn’t take of the jacket. But still, there are things that you can’t detect; like what Mr. Gruber had in his mouth and what he pointed to in his “lower back” region (reference to microphone, Gruber laughs). Is that correct?
      SG: No system is perfect. I’m sure there are always loopholes. We can only detect things that cover the skin. If somebody swallows something, we can’t detect that. If somebody conceals something in skin folds or under his feet, we might not be able to detect that. But it’s still a good general screening method.
      B: If that logic was correct, that we can’t have bulletproof security, which I agree with – that because of that we don’t use modern technology we might as well not use other security measures. What’s important here is to see if we can increase overall security in practice. Nobody would say, “I don’t look my front door, somebody could break in through the window.”
      L: Okay, and now we want to finish in here, we have to leave the warm studio; we want to know what you actually brought in, Mr. Gruber.
      G: I didn’t bring any explosives…
      L: Let’s wear a jacket, it’s cold outside…. Mr. Gruber doesn’t need a jacket. (Turning around) See you soon, we’ll go outside. Mr. Gruber, you brought something…
      G: Once again, I didn’t bring any explosives. This is the redneck way, just thermite. Thermite is a substance that is very easy to produce that can burn with temperatures of up to 4000° C if it’s done right; 3000° in any case.
      L: Where did you get this?
      G: At an ordinary drugstore.
      L: So you just go to a drugstore or to a home improvement store and buy that. Mr. Busbach, come over here, we’ll watch. What will happen now? Once again, what you are holding in your hands right now is something that can be bought by anyone?
      G: Yes, it costs a couple of cents so it’s not even expensive. You have to know the right ratio which is something we won’t show here. We achieve temperatures that are dangerous… so we have everything here… let’s light it… when we light it in order to see what it can do I’d suggest that you step back.
      L: Mr. Busbach, over here. Let’s go back there and watch. So these are substances that you can buy at a pharmacy. How’s that possible?
      B: That’s why we have security screenings at airports, to ensure as best as we can that no contraband that can endanger airplanes and passengers is brought on board. That’s why we have cost-intensive security research by scientific institutions and private enterprises, supported by taxpayers.
      (Thermite starts burning)
      L: Okay, temperatures of up to 3000°?
      G: Above 3000°.
      L: Above 3000° and you said that the fire can’t be extinguished?
      G: If we added water it would be distributed throughout the airplane and cause a big explosion. We see that it melts the pan. If we were in a plane and above the right cables – in a Boeing 747 that would be the left front section – but let’s not talk about that right now… you could work very well.
      B: I don’t really find this funny.
      L: It’s not about being funny. (Talks over Busbach) But it’s about the fact that you can’t bring a bottle of water on the plane and this sort of stuff is readily available.
      B: I don’t think it’s a good idea to say “Look at these stupid terrorists, if they did it like a professor demonstrates we could bring down a 747.”
      L: That’s not what this is about, but, but, but… (Talks over Busbach) But there are videos and instructions that everybody can get on the Internet, you know that better than I do. But it’s still scary to see that you can just buy something like this at a pharmacy and bring it on a plane, it probably wouldn’t be confiscated, but a bottle of water would be confiscated.
      B: Right, that’s why we have to make sure that those substances aren’t brought on board. Prof. Gruber doesn’t claim that ordinary met… metal detectors can’t detect those substances. Everything that concerns liquids is regulated by the European Union; it was proposed to relax the regulation but I’m afraid that these plans will be abandoned after the failed attack in Detroit. You are right that the concept itself isn’t very convincing. The limit is 100 ml (3 ounces); if you have a 125 ml tube and there’s only 25 ml left, you can’t bring in on board. I’m not convinced.
      L: I think that’s very honest because this is not about fooling around but it’s to show that you have to throw away your bottle of water but you can bring something like that (pointing to burning pan) with you and nobody would notice.

  29. IronEdithKidd says:

    If the scanners being installed in US airports are as misserably bad as the one in the video, the TSA should focus the bulk of their attention on the people who *insist* on using the scanner instead of a pat-down. But they won’t because they’ll be too busy tormenting you with fake blow that they have just planted in your bag.

  30. Anonymous says:

    So this fancy, expensive gizmo doesn’t actually accomplish its stated purpose, is anybody actually surprised? And don’t for a second think that this obvious fact will interfere with the widespread implementation of the technology.

    • Anonymous says:

      haha if you guys actually watch the video the technology they are using/demonstrating is not that of the TSA. The scan and subsequent picture of the scan look and are entirely different than the TSA machines.

      You all look like a bunch of ignorant morons.

      Actually look at the 3rd party professional tests and scientific studies that have been done.
      If the millimeter wave or x-ray backscatter can pick up and outline the underwire of a bra, i bet it can pick up wires/batteries needed to make a bomb.
      Also in use in major airports is a mechanical bomb sniffer designed to sniff out chemical components needed to create any sort of detrimental reaction, and often times both machines are in one unit.

      I’m so glad you based your opinions off a German talk show.

  31. Anonymous says:

    These scanners are useless
    they are violating people’s privacy right and dignity.I am not willing to expose the outlines of my genitals/private parts.

  32. ThermobaricTom says:

    But But But the security theatre must continue or how would we feel safe!

    Expensive intrusive and worthless! Perfect.

  33. Anonymous says:

    actually, they also didn’t catch the swiss knife, he (mr gruber) just mentioned that he had one in his pocket. after the “scan analysis”. another interesting fact. they cut the show at one part, and our MdB Bosbach got very angry when the simple first chemistry class thermite experiment started… greetz from germany and happy birthday ;O)

  34. mzed says:

    The scanner adds ten pounds.

  35. Lester says:

    So, it doesn’t it work on morbidly obese people?

  36. Anonymous says:

    These body scanners are too inefficient to be used in airports today. They are an invasion of privacy that could not identify components used to make an explosive. These imperfections are too immense to overlook. Until these machines are improved greatly, they should not be used in airports.

    Margot F

  37. VICTOR JIMENEZ says:

    “No…No system is perfect… eh… oh fuck…”

    That´s some serious fail. How much did each of those body scanners cost?

    Hahahaahahahaha!

  38. AirPillo says:

    I was going to criticize this but then I realized his bomb was thermite, which would be detected by metal detectors. It’s made of powdered iron oxide and aluminum, and in any quantity significant enough to cause critical damage to the plane you need enough amounts of metal to be inductive and therefore detected.

    It has at least as much elemental metal as my very small mp3 player, which set off the airport scanners and took me several flustering minutes to remember I was carrying.

    I would agree that machine is a piece of crap, though. Thermal imaging to find hidden objects is a terrible idea. That isn’t an artificially blurred image of the man, that’s the lame resolution of their choice of infrared sensors. In under-skilled hands, which many of its users will be, that vague an image is little more useful than a divining rod.

    Metal detectors would be sufficient to detect this man’s choice of weapon, which means this object wouldn’t be directly endangering anyone with a false sense of security against that particular device. Existing methods already screen for that stuff. It would be a hell of a boondoggle to use those machines, though.

    If you’re going to use body scanners, which I’d prefer agents don’t, at least use ones made to higher imaging standards. Infrared can do much better than that, for one, but infrared is still a really piss-poor choice.

  39. Anonymous says:

    They work fine. They do what they are supposed to do.

    They are supposed to invoke the well-known psychological effects of nudity, in the same way that stripping victims at government torture facilities like Abu Ghraib and Bagram does. Only better, because the victim is nude to the authorities but is not part of a group of mutually nude people – the psychological effects dimish rapidly as you increase the number of nude victims because they can draw strength from the forced solidarity shared nudity tends to create. This way, you have a crowd of people but you get the effects of stripping them as individuals, get it?

    The people who do this stuff, the people at the top of these policies, are deeply depraved and sadistic. It’s part and parcel with the whole “let the rich do whatever they want” philosophy of the neo-cons, they love humiliation and slavery and anyone who can’t see that is willfully blind. You have to really trying hard if you can ignore the vice-president of the United States literally lobbying congress to allow US companies to engage in human trafficking and sexual abuse – yet most people in the USA have done exactly that, they ignored the demonstrated depravity of their highest officials for eight years and now they are ignoring Obama’s failure to clean house.

    These scanners are not supposed to stop terrorism, they are supposed to terrorise people. They are not supposed to detect bombs, they are supposed to give sexual pleasure to the people manning them. They are supposed to gratify the worst impulses of the people who have commanded their deployment – people who have made it their life’s work to increase the sum total of human suffering and humiliation.

    How many more torture chambers have to be found before people will admit the obvious truth?

  40. das memsen says:

    The xray scanners used in the original AIRPLANE! film were much, much better.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I’m no fan of these scanners and don’t think they really improve security but with all due respect, you leave out relevant facts here.

    For starters, the “bomb components” were essentially thermite and a lighter. Thermite doesn’t explode but burn at high temperatures.

    It would also be fair to mention the comments of the scanner guy. Basically, in a real airport scan he would have to turn sideways and remove his jacket (in which all the “bomb components” (thermite) were hidden).

    Also, this is a passive thermal scanner, not one of those millimeter-wave “naked scanners.”

  42. Xenu says:

    I still think we should just have everyone get naked. It solves the same problem as this stupid machine but it’s more accurate and costs less.

  43. kevin says:

    Man, I hope the terrorists don’t learn how to use their jacket pockets!

  44. holtt says:

    I think it’s more a failure in filtering rather than a failure of the machine. The picture they show isn’t the full on naked x-ray style that those things can do, but rather is a version that’s filtering the image to cut down on the naughty bits. The filtering is too much. Do the “OMG is that his… and geez look at that fat” version and I bet you’d see the stuff he was packing just fine.

  45. SamSam says:

    I wish, though, that they had followed all the pretty-looking brown-sweater guy’s directions, and did the scan like they would in an airport (no jacket, and side-view as well).

    As it was, the guy was able to explain everything because they didn’t do the scan as required.

    I’m sure that they could have still gotten all those materials through if they had done it as required, and it would have prevented that argument from being used. As it is, this video is useless in terms of actually convincing any decision-maker, because of that problem.

    • cymk says:

      Yea, scanning with the suit blazer on and not side scanning is an awesome way to prove the tech is bunk. If only we had a few dozen of these “failures” being paraded around talk shows in the US, we might actually be spared the idiocy of this bullshit.

      • SamSam says:

        Why? That’s like proving that bag x-ray scanners don’t work when you pass the bag over the top of them. And turn off the machine. Why not subject the test to the same standards that this would actually be used in an airport?

        Whether or not the machine would have caught these things had the actually-used protocol been followed, we have no idea of knowing. More importantly, anyone who defends the use of the machines will simply jump on that — “well, you didn’t use the machine right, so of course it didn’t pick those things up” — and they’d have a valid point.

        • cymk says:

          I was merely pointing out that, from my perspective, the producers of the show wanted the scanner to fail (for whatever reason) so they engineer a situation to make it fail. Then to further punctuate the point they light some stuff on fire and burn a hole in a frying pan, “this can happen to you!” sort of thing.

          Personally I believe these scanners won’t make travel any safer. If someone truly has the desire to blow up a plane, they will find a way to succeed and no matter of body scanning/searching will stop them. Before the underwear bomb lit his junk on fire we all thought we were relatively safe, that no one could sneak bomb materials on a plane. But it happened. And no amount of security theater will prevent someone from succeeding again.

  46. SamSam says:

    “pretty-looking?!?” I meant “pratty-looking.” I’m blaming the Droid’s keyboard for that one, not my subconscious, I swear!

  47. dculberson says:

    Why do you hate freedom??

  48. Anonymous says:

    Full body scans, like every other TSAhole activity is worthless against terror attacks.

    While TSAhole reactionaries shred the Constitution attempting to make Americans safe from previous attacks, they are useless against possible attacks.

    For example, since suicide bombers are, in fact, not concerned for their lives by definition – what would stop them from planning a terror attack at the TSA checkpoint at a high traffic time when TSA has many planes worth of passengers backed up in cattle shoots waiting to take their shoes off?

    A large carry-on bag full of high energy material set off at TSA checkpoint would kill or maim hundreds and cause untold terror.

    Land of the free, home of the brave.

  49. Earle Martin says:

    Yeah well, I’m still waiting for sophisticated airport scanning technology.

    • Trent Hawkins says:

      The funny thing is that it didn’t work in Total Recall (He had no gun on him).

      “Even in the future nothing works!” -Space Balls

  50. RedMonkey says:

    Am I the only who thought it was funny that the airport scanner guys is a “brownshirt”?

    :)

  51. MrJM says:

    As long as it saves one person’s life… err… livelihood then all of this security fraud is worth it.

  52. Flashman says:

    Somebody posted this rather wry, and no doubt true comment on Metafilter a few weeks ago:
    ‘Little known fact: if it fits in your ass, you can take it on the plane!’

    • Anonymous says:

      Yah, but it’s so hard to clean out the area around the pins on my leatherman.

      I guess it’s a good reason to keep that old leatherman rather than upgrading to one of the big clunky ones, though.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Once you create a profitable industry, it’s really hard to get rid of it.

    Security industry based on the “terror treat” established as one of the most lucrative around the world. Better than that, crisis proof. Better than that, best commercial practices doesn’t apply.

    It would be interesting if people start to complain to see accounting demonstrations on how money is expended in such equipments and security measures and start to see who’s getting money out of it. Perhaps they would discover that the distance between 1st world and 3rd world in terms of corruption is not all that big.

  54. Anonymous says:

    While it’s true that the guidelines would force him to take off his jacket, all that means is the terrorists need to find an airport that’s somewhat lax. The underwear bomber did that, he was allowed on without a passport, flying one way with no luggage. Besides that, not all of the components in the video where under the jacket, at least one was in his sock, and one was in his mouth.
    Current measures are more than adequate for finding pretty much anything if established procedures are followed, so it makes more sense to make sure they’re followed all over, rather than spending a lot of money to make safe airports marginally safer and incompetent airports weighed down with more crap they aren’t going to use properly.

Leave a Reply