Pornoscanner vendor accused of fraud, jailarity may ensue

Rapiscan, makers of the naked-scanner technology used in many US airports, are in a lot of trouble. The TSA has accused them of falsifying their tests results on the software that supposedly protects flier privacy by rendering them as cartoon characters with suspicious blobs wherever the scanner's image-processor thinks they belong. If convicted, the execs at Rapiscan could go to jail, and the company would be assessed for stiff fines and be barred from any future government contracting. Here's more from Wired's Kim Zetter:

DHS has spent about $90 million replacing traditional magnetometers with the controversial body-scanning machines.

Rapiscan has a contract to produce 500 machines for the TSA at a cost of about $180,000 each. The company could be fined and barred from participating in government contracts, or employees could face prison terms if it is found to have defrauded the government.

It’s not the first time Rapiscan has been at the center of testing problems with the machines. The company previously had problems with a “calculation error” in safety tests that showed the machines were emitting radiation levels that were 10 times higher than expected.

It turned out the company’s technicians weren’t following protocol in conducting the tests. They were supposed to test radiation levels of machines in the field 10 times in a row, and then divide the results by 10 to produce an average radiation measurement. But the testers failed to divide the results by 10, producing false numbers.

Maker of Airport Body Scanners Suspected of Falsifying Software Tests

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    1. “…that supposedly protects flier privacy by rendering them as cartoon characters with suspicious blobs wherever the scanner’s image-processor thinks they belong” … ” the machines were emitting radiation levels that were 10 times higher than expected”

      Is that why you have boobs on the back of your head?

  1. Cory, I realize that you’re quoting the Wired article, but I’m confused:

    They were supposed to test radiation levels of machines in the field 10 times in a row, and then divide the results by 10 to produce an average radiation measurement. But the testers failed to divide the results by 10, producing false numbers.

    If they failed to *divide* by 10, then then reported numbers would be 10 times higher than the actual level of radiation – they’re reporting the sum, not the average. Which means actual exposure should have been 1/10 of what the techs were reporting.

    Now if they’d measured once and divided by ten, then you’d have ten times the radiation. Did Wired screw up the report?

    1. Since this is in a section about an earlier mistake, not the current one, I assume it is right, just pointing out that they have a record of screwing up the tests even when the results made them look bad.

      They reported radiation levels 10x greater than expected due to the error. In reality they were the expected radiation levels.

      1. Three possibilities
        – You were actually going through one of the terahertz microwave ones, not the X-rays
        – The TSA agents were lying, either because they’d been trained to do it or figured it out themselves
        – The TSA agents didn’t have a bloody clue, but had heard their superiors claim the new machines didn’t use radiation.

  2. So in about ten years or so I imagine all those TSA agents that stand next to theses things for 8 hours at a time will be dieing with huge tumors….   My only question:  Will their sacrifice come soon enough to prevent my death?

    1. Those are the guys I feel bad for as well.  They’re just trying to do their job while these black boxes emit levels that someone at some point said were safe.  Meanwhile the X-ray guy goes behind the wall to flip the switch at the dentist…

    1. I’d always assumed that that was a fake name used to insult them. Like “Sheeple”, “Demon-crats” “Repugnantcans” and the like. 

      At least there’s some truth in advertising now. 

    2. The epithet “pornoscanner” is actually benign compared to calling their devices “Rapiscanners”.

      (Seriously, they couldn’t stick a fucking “d” in there?)

      1. Or their one-time product idea of a rapiscanner which began with a short intervew by an analyst … that was called the Anal-Rapi-Scanner.

    3.  They named it that back before the TSA started sexually assaulting travellers who didn’t want to go through the rape-i-scan.

  3. Am I the only one who sees “Rapiscan” and thinks the first syllable must be pronounced with a long A?

    1.  I, in fact, always assumed that “Rapiscan” was a parody name, & was always uncomfortable about the appropriation of the term “rape.”

      The fact that it actually is their name– well, insert the .gif of “mind blown” of your choice here.

  4. Did you ever find yourself unsure which asshole to root for?
    DHS or the profiteers….  sigh
    decisions decisions…

  5. I always opt for the full-contact pat-down. Not because of naked-scan issues but because of these-things-never-get-calibrated issues. So I stand there while a woman wearing rubber gloves pats around my thighs and breasts. While they’ve never been anything but professional about it, it’s good to know I chose the less porn-y version of the options.

  6. “I had a guaranteed government  sale with the Rapiscan 209. Renovation program. Spare parts for 25 years. Who cares if it worked or not?” – Dick Jones

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