back to article TSA: Perv scanners now fully banished from US airports

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it has completed the process of removing all security scanners capable of creating detailed images of passengers' bodies from US airports. By Congressional mandate, all scanners using so-called advanced imaging technology (AIT), which rendered fliers' nude bodies in …

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  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    I'm reassured

    So they fitted software that they claim will stop the operators viewing nude images - unless you press the test button.

    To the same machines that they claimed had software which couldn't save images - unless you pressed the test button.

    1. philbo
      Paris Hilton

      Re: I'm reassured

      It means that the unattractive majority can go through without turning the stomachs of the unfortunate operators, but the pervs still on duty can get their jollies with the aforementioned "test" button (I wonder whether the (in-the-)raw images get saved when you hit "test", or the outline-with-icon one). No prizes for guessing why the Paris icon...

      Cynical, moi?

    2. LarsG
      Meh

      Re: I'm reassured but

      Wouldn't be surprised if second hand machines appear in UK airports.

      1. Beachrider

        Re: I'm reassured but

        I've got a dot to stick on the screen. There, fixed it. (perhaps there are already dots on the screen, anyways)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm...

    I wonder - if all the money that has been spent on improved airport security had been spent on road safety*, would more lives have been saved? Even allowing for the occasional bomb or hijacking?

    *Better roads, better vehicles, better driver education, better signage, etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm...

      Oh come on now. That wouldn't have worked. When's the last time you saw a politician spend that kind of cash on something with actual use to the actual population? Those big numbers are ONLY for useless stuff.

      Cause that's all your money is to these people. Big numbers with no actual humans behind them.

      1. Velv Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Hmmm...

        You should be right. I wish you were right. (i.e. don't shoot the messenger)

        Sadly nobody* is actually worried about the body count. They are only worried about the perceived body count.

        Some would argue that the public gets what it asks for. Others would say the public gets what the media asks for. Either way the politicians will spend money on whatever ups their profile in the public eye.

        * there are a small number who care.

      2. Potemkine

        Re: Hmmm...

        We've got the politicians we deserve, we are the ones who put them into the Office.

        In that case, they just react to our paranoïd need for absolute safety.

    2. Chris T Almighty

      Re: Hmmm...

      Absolutely right, or health campaigns in hospitals, compare the number of people dying from carelessness or uncleanliness compared to the number killed by terrorists.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm...

      You don't even need to spend the money on roads. There was a study that claimed the increase in driving due to hijack fears/security hassles already upped the death toll significantly.

      The more worrying one is the increase in food contamination/poisoning since the food safety inspectors came under DHS and were reassigned from checking food plants to searching for terrorists.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Hmmm...

        Hmm...I'll buy that. Gods know I choose to drive instead of facing the airport security types. Not that the border guards at the road crossings are all that much better...

      2. ACx

        Re: Hmmm...

        Correct. Because of the fear of flying after 9/11 Americans took to the roads. The increase in road deaths was more than the number who died in 9/11 it's self. The real victory for terrorists was the road deaths, not the 9/11 deaths. Americans basically killed themselves in Al Qaeda's behalf.

        1. Tikimon

          Re: Hmmm...

          "Because of the fear of flying after 9/11 Americans took to the roads."

          Actually it's not "fear of flying" it's "bloody ANNOYANCE with flying."

          Pros for road trips: Plenty of legroom, no screaming babies, your choice of good meals when you want them, no luggage charges, not being rootered by the TSA or having luggage go missing. Stops to stretch legs and kick some footbag, check out interesting roadside things. Car rental and fuel cheaper than air tickets and doesn't rack up miles on our car. Choice of music on a good system instead of earplugs. Carry more than 4 ounces of shampoo in original bottles, nail clippers, and other deadly items without hassle.

          Cons for road trips: Takes 50% longer to get there. Can't drive over water (where's my flying car, already?).

          Nobody much is afraid of terrorists in the air except misguided politicians. Nope, we're simply avoiding the unpleasantness that is modern air travel.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Yet Another Anonymous Coward (who actually isn't anonymous)

        A: "You don't even need to spend the money on roads [in order to reduce unnecessary deaths]."

        B: "There was a study that claimed the increase in driving due to hijack fears/security hassles already upped the death toll significantly."

        Can somebody please explain how statement A has any relation whatsoever to statement B? As far as I can tell they have precisely the opposite general theme.

        C: "The more worrying one is the increase in food contamination/poisoning since the food safety inspectors came under DHS and were reassigned from checking food plants to searching for terrorists."

        The more worrying what? Has this got anything to do with the article? Why are we jumping wildly between unrelated and dubious facts? What are you on?

        Then other people came along and said that they agree with this comment...? What exactly do they think they are agreeing with?

        (Walks away shaking head)

  3. McBeese
    Thumb Down

    Prudishness wins over Safety

    Nice. Prudishness trumps personal safety. We're a lot more backward than we give ourselves credit for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: Prudishness wins over Safety

      Or maybe the majority of people still prefer personal privacy, for instance attractive women who have already proven to have had their rights violated.

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Prudishness wins over Safety

      Nice. Risk management trumps pork barrel spending.

    3. Grey Bird
      Headmaster

      Re: Prudishness wins over Safety

      They didn't provide additional safety worth the hazard of being irradiated by an undisclosed amount of X-Rays. For the machines to show as detailed images as they were, the radiation hazard was much higher than claimed. It wasn't too cool that they not only didn't provide dosimetry to the TSA manning the machines, but actually discouraged its use.

    4. Eddy Ito
      Thumb Up

      Re: Prudishness wins over Safety

      It's only prudishness if your a TSA employee who got the job first come first hired with no background check whatsoever and wants to get their own custom porn for free. To everyone else who has to deal with these unvetted monkeys it's only a welcome bit of sanity.

    5. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Prudishness wins over Safety

      Well, I for one am relieved - with the old machines I was forever getting stopped for additional investigations since my penis is over 14" long - I usually tuck it down my left pants leg.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Prudishness wins over Safety

        > Well I for one am relieved ...

        does being stopped at airport security whilst dreaming really count?

        1. VinceH
          Joke

          Re: Prudishness wins over Safety

          "does being stopped at airport security whilst dreaming really count?"

          Yes, because that has an effect on the size and shape of the bulge.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prudishness wins over Safety

      " Nice. Prudishness trumps personal safety. "

      Wrong forum? What's this airport charade have to do with personal safety? Or even personal security for that matter?

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Of course the baggage theft can continue as usual.

    I wonder if anyone has done a study of how many lives have been saved by the TSA? IE Actually catching terrorists getting on planes, the role they were created for.

    Not criminals on warrants, not drug smugglers, actual terrorists

    I suspect the answer is "not many."

    1. Nextweek
      Boffin

      Re: Of course the baggage theft can continue as usual.

      Actually that was one of the key points of getting rid of the scanners. They statisically proved that the scanners cause more cancers (because you are regularly radiating a large population of people) than people die from terrorist attacks. Bruce Schneier is a great and logical read on the subject.

      The TSA was nothing more than a kick back scheme. Reenforcing the plane doors was all it has taken to prevent another 9/11.

      The biggest thing I wish more people did was write to there politicans and actually took note of how they voted.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Of course the baggage theft can continue as usual.

        "Reenforcing the plane doors was all it has taken to prevent another 9/11."

        Cockpit doors were already strong enough to stop the terrorists (and the people trying to stop them, as it turned out). They're of no use whatsoever if the flight crew open them because the hijackers are killing people in the passenger cabin.

        The biggest change since 9/11 is that passengers won't sit still and let a hijack continue - but that is strictly a western thing, because chinese passengers have been known to kill attempted hijackers since the 1980s (in one case a businessman bludgeoned a hijacker to death with his mobile phone, because he was furious that he'd be late to his destination)

        The terrorists won, by providing an excuse for the state to curb our liberties and surveill us for no good reason. We're only a couple of minor steps away from the way things were in the old eastern bloc in a number of areas. (And for all that americans rave about their freedoms, they are some of the most restricted people in the western hemisphere)

        1. OrsonX

          hijackers are killing people in the passenger cabin

          max dead = ~350

          open the doors, max dead = ~3,500

          Don't open the doors.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            Re: hijackers are killing people in the passenger cabin

            "max dead = ~350

            open the doors, max dead = ~3,500"

            Actually rather more if they'd got to the Pentagon, which United 92 targeted.

            But it gets very hard when you have to put into practice the principle that "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Of course the baggage theft can continue as usual.

          « chinese passengers have been known to kill attempted hijackers since the 1980s (in one case a businessman bludgeoned a hijacker to death with his mobile phone, because he was furious that he'd be late to his destination) »

          And then people wonder why the Chinese are taking over the business world. That's quite the attitude, that is. :)

          [ Wonder what would have happened if he found out the Captain was flying on a low cost index ]

      2. teebie

        Re: Of course the baggage theft can continue as usual.

        "Bruce Schneier is a great and logical read on the subject."

        True. He really should have been allowed to testify before congress, but the TSA got him blocked from doing so because he was involved in a lawsuit pertaining to the machines. I assume they didn't notice the irony.

    2. Mad Chaz

      Re: Of course the baggage theft can continue as usual.

      I'm more inclined to think "not many" would be an optimistic figure. The actual number probably starts with a Z.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        " "not many" would be an optimistic figure. The actual number probably starts with a Z."

        But until such an evaluation is done the USG can claim "We don't know."

        It might also be interesting to find out how many peoples address and credit card details have been stolen from the membership lists of people on "fast track" clearance schemes whose details were held on laptops stolen from inside the secure employees only area of airports.

        And how much stuff has been stolen as a result.

    3. Eddy Ito

      Re: Of course the baggage theft can continue as usual.

      The shoe bomber and underpants bomber were caught. Granted it was long after they had boarded and the flight was aloft but it does indicate they aren't really interested in taking the plane anymore just blow it up to grab some splashy headlines and prove they beat TSA. Of course they probably get more headlines if they fail to blow it up since they can milk it for months instead of just a quiet NTSB announcement some time later.

    4. Alan Esworthy
      Alert

      Re: Of course the baggage theft can continue as usual.

      Sorry, the answer is not "not many." The answer is "zero."

      In fact, the TSA goons have a negative rate of saving lives. Just ask Rigoberto Alpizar's family. You can't ask Rigo himself because the TSA killed him and then concocted a scenario to excuse themselves.

  5. jake Silver badge

    So, no more perv-friendly scanners.

    Now can we also get rid of the federally mandated molestation stations?

    It's not like either ever managed to do anything useful.

  6. Zot
    Thumb Up

    If I worked there...

    ...I would prefer to use the new icon based one. Imagine seeing all those lard arses walking through all day? It would put me off my dinner.

  7. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    An explanation

    This would be why my $1600 airfare from the US to the UK this year includes $800 of security fees, taxes and fuel surcharges. In America our government feels obligated to protect us from the remote chance of terrorist activity ... and charge us for it.

    Unfortunately you're far more likely to be shot by some nutcase in the US who's off his meds than by a terrorist.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: An explanation

      "Unfortunately you're far more likely to be shot by some nutcase in the US who's off his meds than by a terrorist."

      True.

      But you will be shot by an American nutcase, probably with an American mfg'd gun bought in the US.

      And Americans, (or at least the American gun mfg's who sponsor most of the NRA) are happy* with that state.

      *except of course the victims of the (roughly) 1 mass shooting a year that's taken place in the US since 1983. But they're dead, so they don't count.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "mfg"

        There is no 'g' in "manufacturer".

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TSA will never again

    quote, unquote, rotfl

  9. Fisher1949

    Only Cowards and Fools Trust TSA

    This debacle is costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. So who is the genius at TSA who said “Let’s take naked pictures of people and their kids” and who is getting fired for buying these things in the first place?

    If you want to express your disgust with TSA and this costly violation of your privacy you have a few weeks left by posting your comment at www. regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=TSA-2013-0004-0001 (remove space after www.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only Cowards and Fools Trust TSA

      Are foreigners allowed to comment?

      I used to be a moderately frequent visitor to the US, mostly business, occasionally pleasure.

      I've not been to the US for a while. Specifically, not since any pleasure (or even business value) in the trip was outweighed by the pain of the security theatre (at both ends, US and UK). Apparently you can't even clear US Immigration in Ireland (Shannon?) to avoid the queue at the US end, like I used to in happier times.

      That's my comment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only Cowards and Fools Trust TSA

        « That's my comment. »

        And mine is, I have been avoiding the US since 2001, not even for transits (which are apparently the same hassle as actually trying to get into the bloody place). Only the Brazilians manage to be anywhere near as arsey.

        Nice people, don't get me wrong, but their borders need some rethinking to say the least.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. The Alpha Klutz

    check and see if he's got a bomb where his left testicle should be

    1. James O'Shea

      Hammer time

      Only if his name is 'McAfee' and he's on the lam from Belize.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What ignorance

    These ignornat stories about airport scanners are laughable but I'm sure the sheep buy into them. Anyone who believes that the previous scanners showed anything other than an image of the body is really stupid. The media is good at distorting the truth for financial gain.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: What ignorance

      I'm not sure the ignorance is where you think it is, old bean.

  12. Dana W
    Meh

    Thanks to the powers that be ruining the economy, I'm far too poor to to fly anywhere again. Problems solved.

  13. Arachnoid
    Mushroom

    You guys are missing the point

    If you put people off flying from radiation risk or even driving from lack of investment or harder to keep licenses you reduce the incident statistics so problem solved......

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll still be "opting out"...

    ... for various reasons already mentioned. Of course, that means the full body grope. Perhaps one day I'll be boozed up enough to ask "How much for a happy ending?"

  15. G2
    Joke

    idiocracy user interface

    rofl @ user interface on that thing

    i think that interface makes a nice 3rd pane to this comparison:

    http://acousticmonster.com/wp-content/gallery/cache/76__400x425_windowsidiocracy.png

  16. Vimes

    “I’m a police officer. I help train other police officers. When we search someone, we assume that the person who searches us may have a knife or something else they can use to harm us, so we search properly. And yes, this means that you have to take a firm grip of somebody’s groin, yes, this means that you search even the parts that are less comfortable to have searched, and yes, this means that you’re probably going to incur a couple of sexual harassment accusations along the way.” I nodded at the security guard who had searched me. “This fellow here did by far the most useless search I have ever been subjected to, and if I wanted to, I could have smuggled half a dozen knives onto the flight. I don’t have a problem with being searched at all – in fact, if you guys think it’s necessary, I’d be the first to admit that I look a little bit suspicious before I’ve had my first cup of coffee in the morning – but if you’re going to stroke me gently in front of hundreds of people, you’d better buy me a fucking drink first, is all I am saying.”

    http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/10/search-me/

  17. Wzrd1

    Funny thing

    Long before these millimeter wave devices were even designed, Sandia National Laboratories found that millimeter wave radiation cause DNA mutations in vivo.

    That was brushed under the rug as the scanners were ordered by a man who had interest in the company that was the prime vendor and the fact that explosives cannot be detected at all by the device, only a strange void, such as a diaper.

    Honestly, this bullshit makes me sorry I wasted nearly 28 years of my life defending the nation. We've begun the process whose end point was fully described in Nineteen Eighty Four.

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