Flying while trans: still unbelievably horrible

trans man scan with pointer

Cary Gabriel Costello is a trans-man in Milwaukee. Two-thirds of the time when he flies, the TSA has a complete freakout over the "anomalies" his body displays on the full-body scanner. Read the rest

TSA screener insists that full-body screening is mandatory

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Sai, who is seeking an injunction against the TSA's new mandatory full-body screening test (but only for people they don't like), flew out of SEA-TAC on Dec 31 and was told that the full-body scanner was mandatory. Read the rest

TSA transparency activist seeks injunction against mandatory full-body scanners

Catholic nun being frisked by a Muslim security agent

Ever since the TSA broke the law and abused him, Sai has been suing them over their illegal conduct, forcing them into court and then demonstrating to the court that the agency refuses to play by any rules, even its own. Read the rest

Airport full-body scanners no longer optional, if the TSA screener doesn't like you


At their sole discretion, and without any public guidelines, TSA agents can now opt you back into the full-body scanner, even if you opt out. Read the rest

NYPD won't disclose what it does with its secret military-grade X-ray vans


The $825,000 Z Backscatter Vans the NYPD drives around the city look like regular police vans, but are equipped with powerful X-rays that can see through walls and vehicles. US Customs uses these things to scan cars and freight-containers, but only after they're sure there are no people around. Read the rest

Pornoscanner lobbyist's new job: overseeing TSA spending

Christopher Romig was the top lobbyist for the aptly named Rapiscan, but now he's got a better gig: staffer for the House Appropriations Committee's Homeland Security Subcommittee, which controls the TSA's spending. Read the rest

Former TSA officer reveals widespread misery there

Image: Shutterstock

Being a TSA officer is a dream job for sadistic sociopaths, but for people who are able to sympathize, it's a nightmare. "I hated it from the beginning," writes former TSA officer Jason Edward Harrington, in an essay published in Politico Magazine. He recounts the daily shame of having to confiscate nail clippers from pilots (to prevent the pilots from using them to "hijack the very planes they were flying"), jars of homemade apple butter ("on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security") and a bottle of champagne from some Marines returning home from Afghanistan who wanted to share it with a young soldier who'd lost his legs to an I.E.D. Read the rest

Buy your own TSA-surplus pornoscanner for $8K

Remember when the TSA spent $113K on Rapiscan pornoscanners that turned out not to work? Now they're selling them off for $8,000. Read the rest

Security researchers buy pornoscanner, demonstrate how to sneak in guns & bombs

Researchers from UCSD, the U Michigan, and Johns Hopkins will present their work on the Rapiscan Secure 1000 at Usenix Security tomorrow; the Secure 1000 isn't used in airports anymore, but it's still in courts, jails, and government security checkpoints (researchers can't yet get their hands on the millimeter machines used at airports).

Pornoscanners head to prisons

Normally technology migrates from prisons to schools to airports -- think CCTVs and Pre-Check -- but for the late and unlamented radioactive pornoscanners that the TSA had to give up on, the technology path went the other way -- if you're lucky enough to be incarcerated in the USA (which incarcerates more people than any other nation on Earth), you may be treated to one or more TSA-surplus pornoscans. Read the rest

TSA is officially allowed to lie to you in order to cover its ass

The TSA is allowed to lie in its responses to Freedom of Information Requests. Its court-granted ability to lie to the public it nominally serves isn't limited to sensitive issues, either: they're allowed to pretend that they don't have CCTV footage of their own officers violating their own policies, even when they do. Read the rest

America hates pornoscanners

Two and a half years after the TSA rolled out the nation's pornoscanners, they finally got around to fulfilling their legal obligation to ask Americans how they felt about them. 97% don't want them. Perhaps that's why they didn't want to ask. There were 4,321 responses. Read the rest

Musical comment on TSA pornoscanners

A musical statement on the TSA accepting comments on the full body scanners

TSA terminates its contract with Rapiscan, maker of pornoscanners

The TSA has given the boot to Rapiscan, maker of about half of the pornoscanners in use in America's airports:

TSA gave Rapiscan until June 2013 to come up with a software upgrade to prevent the scanner from projecting the naked image. TSA officials said Rapiscan won't be able to meet that deadline.

"TSA has strict requirements that all vendors must meet for security effectiveness and efficiency since the use of this technology is critical to TSA’s efforts to keep the traveling public safe," the TSA said in a statement.

Yes, they seriously named their pornoscanner company "Rapiscan." Seriously.

TSA ends contract with Rapiscan, maker of full-body scanner [Hugo Martin/LA Times] (via /.) Read the rest

Five reasons to opt out of TSA pornoscanners this weekend

Marilyn sez, "Chris Elliott gives 5 good reasons to participate in the Opt Out protest against the TSA's full-body scanners over this Thanksgiving weekend and so far, 65 percent of the people reading his column on Huffington Post say they will take part (including me)."

1. They're not adequately tested and could be dangerous. Unfortunately, the scanners you'll be asked to walk through haven't been properly tested. The latest independent evaluations are actually based on data provided by the TSA. The government wants us to trust it, but it won't give us a reason. That's unacceptable.

2. They're easily foiled. It's not difficult to sneak a weapon through a full-body scanner, according to several reports. The career criminals who might want to do us harm have figured out how to get around the scanners already.

3. They're too expensive. At a quarter of a million bucks a pop, the scanners are a huge waste of taxpayer money. To use one, or to allow one to be used on you, is is an endorsement of an iffy technology. It also lines the pockets of undeserving security contractors, say critics...

5 Reasons I'm Opting Out Of The TSA's Scanners (And You Should Too) (Thanks, Marilyn!) Read the rest

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 Read the rest

Campaign to opt out of pornoscanners & video TSA checkpoints at Thanksgiving

Dave sez, "The National Opt Out and Film Week, a new campaign designed to expose the abusive policies of the TSA, is set to launch during Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel times of the year -- and the TSA might not be able to stop it."

Supporters of Opt Out and Film Week are encouraged to film TSA activities at their local airport -- even if they are not flying -- and upload the videos to Youtube and other sites. According to the TSA website, filming TSA agents and security checkpoints is not illegal, as long as it does not interfere with security procedures....

... "The reasoning behind a National Opt-Out Week is this: If the TSA decides to shut down its scanners in response to the protest, as it allegedly did in 2010, activists would have ample opportunity to document the action over a period of a week," Elliott wrote in an article for the Huffington Post. "TSA critics would then have more than enough evidence to prove that these scans and pat-downs are a false choice and do practically nothing to improve our safety."

Showdown with TSA set for 'Opt Out and Film Week' November 19-26 Special Read the rest

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