Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blogger Exposes Hole in Body Scanner Technology

I've written about this issue extensively on this blog, in fact, you can check out an op-ed I penned over a year ago entitled "A Hobson's Holiday Travel Choice: Digital Strip Search or Get Groped?" if you want to get a real good feel of what I think about these airport body scanning machines.

For today's purposes, I'm just going to take you straight to a video posted by a blogger demonstrating yet another hole in the "security" these machines provide.

Before I post the video, here's a clip from the post: A blogger on Tuesday published a video showing how he had snuck a small metal case through the Transportation and Security Administration's (TSA) "billion dollar fleet" of so-called nude body scanners.

Engineer Jonathan Corbett, who runs the blog TSA Out of Our Pants, explained that the problem lies in how the scanner uses dark colors to highlight potential threats like weapons or explosives.

"Again that’s light figure, black background, and BLACK threat items," he explained. "Yes that’s right, if you have a metallic object on your side, it will be the same color as the background and therefore completely invisible to both visual and automated inspection."

"To put it to the test, I bought a sewing kit from the dollar store, broke out my 8th grade home ec skills, and sewed a pocket directly on the side of a shirt. Then I took a random metallic object, in this case a heavy metal carrying case that would easily alarm any of the 'old' metal detectors, and walked through a backscatter x-ray at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport."

Again at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport, Corbett successfully carried his small, empty metal case through the scanners.

"While I carried the metal case empty, by one with mal-intent, it could easily have been filled with razor blades, explosives, or one of Charlie Sheen’s infamous 7 gram rocks of cocaine," he warned. "With a bigger pocket, perhaps sewn on the inside of the shirt, even a firearm could get through."

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