welcome to the future

by twit

USA Today reports on June 6, 2008:

Body-scanning machines that show images of people underneath their clothing are being installed in 10 of the nation’s busiest airports in one of the biggest public uses of security devices that reveal intimate body parts.

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and according to the TSA:

“It’s the wave of the future,” said James Schear, the TSA security director at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, where two body scanners are in use at one checkpoint.

this is how it works:

The scanners bounce harmless “millimeter waves” off passengers who are selected to stand inside a portal with arms raised after clearing the metal detector.

A TSA screener in a nearby room views the black-and-white image and looks for objects on a screen that are shaded differently from the body.

Finding a suspicious object, a screener radios a colleague at the checkpoint to search the passenger.

and for entertainment purposes, the TSA explains what ‘protecting privacy’ means:

The TSA says it protects privacy by blurring passengers’ faces and deleting images right after viewing. Yet the images are detailed, clearly showing a person’s gender. “You can actually see the sweat on someone’s back,” Schear said.

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romper room airlines

by twit

is proud to bring you this understatement of the day:

“This is an agency or department that is critical for the U.S. long-term security needs,” [Former Rep. Tim] Roemer [D-Indiana] said. “So the basic building blocks, the front line of defense are air marshals. If you’re not providing that safety for our people on a pretty basic program seven years after 9/11, we’ve got a lot of work to do at the department, and probably Congress has a lot more work to do on its oversight.”

about the TSA:

Of the 28,000 commercial airline flights that take to the skies on an average day in the United States, fewer than 1 percent are protected by on-board, armed federal air marshals, a nationwide CNN investigation has found.

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just sayin’

by twit

An agency charged with responsibility for anticipating the behavior of travelers for security purposes, that happens to be subject to voluminous complaints about the ways it implements these responsibilities, failed to anticipate that if people are given a public forum to complain, they most certainly will…

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local news from the romper room

by twit

From Boing Boing on January 9, 2008:

“A five-year-old boy was taken into custody and thoroughly searched at Sea-Tac because his name is similar to a possible terrorist alias. As the Consumerist reports, “When his mother went to pick him up and hug him and comfort him during the proceedings, she was told not to touch him because he was a national security risk. They also had to frisk her again to make sure the little Dillinger hadn’t passed anything dangerous weapons or materials to his mother when she hugged him.”