Group Trying To Get Backscatter Airport Scanners Banned

from the good-luck-there dept

EPIC, the "privacy" activist group, is apparently asking a court to ban the new full body "backscatter" airport scanners, saying that they're violating the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches. The group is also claiming that the unilateral decision to start using those scanners also violates the Administrative Procedures Act, which would require public review of the plans before the government could implement them. I honestly doubt that this will win in the courts, but it's about time someone went a bit deeper in questioning the TSA's security theater.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:04am

    Expect Homeland Security to give this group extra scrutiny and single them out.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:07am

    im curious to see how far we will really allow the risk of living to be litigated away..

     

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  3.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    Re:

    Eventually, we'll all be in the Matrix

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Bill Silverstein (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:23am

    Child pornography?

    Since this backscatter scanners produce images without clothes of all people going through it, what about children?

    Is that now the production of child pornography?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    ...niner??, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:27am

    Re:

    this is one of the best questions/statements that I've heard of late. I've often wonder this myself. Thanks for posting what I've never been able to quite put into the right words.

     

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  6.  
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    ...niner??, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re:

    this is one of the best questions/statements that I've heard of late. I've often wonder this myself. Thanks for posting what I've never been able to quite put into the right words.

    (Meant about the litigating risk away comment.)

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Keybored, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:40am

    Look you imbeciles, do you really want to be blown out of the sky never to see your loved ones again? Get over it. The idea here is to keep us SAFE.

    btw -the dude watching the screen is in another area so he doesn't even know "who" "you" are, nor does he even care. Quit complaining and enjoy the freedom you have to move about the cabin.

     

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  8.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.
    - Benjamin Franklin

     

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  9.  
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    CoCo Was Screwed, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    you really are misinformed aren't you...

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:47am

    We're imbeciles because we believe in personal privacy? We're not safe, we never will be safe. Get used to the idea and stop forcing the rest of us to subject to a legal screwing by the government.

     

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  11.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    Re:

    Naw they will just delay their FOIA requests ... :)

     

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  12.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re:

    Its either sarcasm, he works for DHS, or he works for the company that makes the scanners ....

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:54am

    dog cat mouse

     

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  14.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think Lewis Black said it best when he talked about how if you need the pat down, then do the pat down. But if you need the pat down, then all the other bullshit you made us do obviously isn't effective, so do away with it and just pat us the fuck down....

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    MAC, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 9:11am

    Backscatter

    The Israelis use dogs.
    When was the last time one of their airliners was hijacked?

    This country is too stuck on technology; a dog’s nose is 40,000 more sensitive than any human or machine sniffer.

    Also, a well trained dog can spot a nervous person and, dogs make terrorist nervous...
    And, dogs are a whole lot cheaper than the gazillions of dollars that we are spending on trying to implement a technological solution to a problem that has already been solved.

     

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  16.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 9:15am

    Re: Backscatter

    You're right! We need properly trained Israeli Robo-Dogs!

     

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  17.  
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    Dawn (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 9:24am

    Re:

    And what are the real probabilities that there will be someone carrying a bomb onto the plane under someone’s clothes? I think that the risk is such that I would rather my personal privacy not be invaded. However, if they would like to run me past some kind of explosive “sniffer”, that would be fine with me. Airplanes are still the safest method of travel.

     

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  18.  
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    Jason, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 9:28am

    Don't they know?

    Naked is the new secure.

     

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  19.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Backscatter

    Yeah, but MS would probably get the software contract, the dogs will BSOD and go on a killing rampage thru the concourse...

    You know, on second thought... I'll bring the popcorn.

     

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  20.  
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    Jay (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    "btw -the dude watching the screen is in another area so he doesn't even know "who" "you" are, nor does he even care."

    ...

    There's a dude, in a dark room watching people all day.

    And you don't think that's going to start affecting him in anyway?

     

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  21.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 9:42am

    Re:

    "Look you imbeciles, do you really want to be blown out of the sky never to see your loved ones again? "

    Yeah, because terrorists are more likely to use the same method again after it's been tried (and failed more times, statistically). Instead of, you know, using an unforeseen and original method of causing terror. Like our government is doing, for example.

    "The idea here is to keep us SAFE."

    Ok... but it doesn't even work. Go do some research online where these scanners FAILED to find the numerous items that the demonstration "terrorist" had on him. Including a detonator, plastic explosive material, and a cigarette lighter, just to name a few.

    "btw -the dude watching the screen is in another area so he doesn't even know "who" "you" are, nor does he even care."

    And the government officials who illegally wiretap you and search your computer aren't in the room with you either... so that's OK too?

    "Quit complaining and enjoy the freedom you have to move about the cabin."

    We have the 'freedom' to move about the cabin after we bow down to the government's agents and give in to their control in exchange for the (false) illusion of safety. No thanks. I'll walk. And when more and more THINKING consumers (yes, oxymoron, I know) start doing the same thing, the airlines will help us do away with this farce themselves.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    Re:

    The risk of melanoma is probably higher than the risk of getting blown out of the sky.

    I, for one, would rather take my chances with the bomb.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Re:

    I guess you welcome the comming police-state or are profiting from measures now...What you described ended in a corn-field in Pennsylvania...SAFE
    Seize-Accuse-Forbid-Enslave?

     

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  24.  
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    Eugene (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re:

    And then, in the Matrix, someone will invent backscatter sanners. And then our virtual selves will also start sacrificing personal liberties for safety. And then *they'll* end up in the Matrix-Matrix

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 10:27am

    Re: Backscatter

    The Israelis also use semi-automatic machine guns and don't give a rat's ass about your rights. Either you comply (at gunpoint) with the search or get your head blown off. Travelers need to remember (and understand) that you can't have your cake and eat it, too. Something's gotta give. Either it's your safety or your privacy.

     

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  26.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 10:28am

    Re: Child pornography?

    Brilliant ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    scarr (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Backscatter

    Clearly, you've never been through Israeli airport security. If you think machine guns at the airport is unusual, you can't have visited many international airports; it's not uncommon.

     

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  28.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    A not so funny thing occured to me after reading Bill Silversteins comment (above). Since these scanners can record I wonder how long it will be before someone posts kiddie porn online based on these scanners ... think of the children.

     

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  29.  
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    Pgz (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 11:35am

    Re: Backscatter

    The Israelis also have no qualms about profiling, and many citizens are armed to the teeth. If you are ready to pursue the Israeli model due to its success, you better be ready to go the whole nine yards.
    PS The new backscatter units produce images that make the Pillsbury Doughboy look like porn.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Don't they know?

    I wonder what effect this will have on streakers in airports...if any.

     

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  31.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: Backscatter

    The new backscatter units produce images that make the Pillsbury Doughboy look like porn.

    It took me a minute, but I think you're saying the images are utterly non-erotic. Well don't underestimate the ability of *someone* to get turned on by something. Almost anything.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 5:02pm

    The Israeli Model

    Bruce Schneier looked at this recently, and concluded that the Israeli model cannot scale to the workload of major international airports.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    ChadBroChill (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re: Backscatter

    Having been through the Tel-Aviv airport 5 times, I have found their security to be very thorough and long, but not invasive at all. They have armed soldiers on guard, but I have not experienced anyone being threatened, even a friend of mine with a Syrian stamp in his passport who got held up and questioned. They are very security-conscious (with good reason) but they don't invade your privacy on a whim like they do here in the good ol' USA. They are courteous and respectful until you lie to them or do something threatening yourself (such as my dumb dad forgetting about the knife in his bag). So it seems you can have privacy and security at the same time. But never safety, no one has that.

    And what's a semi-automatic machine gun? You mean the M-15 assault rifles they use (and bought from us)? or maybe the AR-15's? Because those weapons have many fire configurations, but I wouldn't describe any of them as a "machine gun".

     

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  34.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Backscatter

    Hardly anyone knows the difference between an automatic rifle and a machine gun, or even that there is a difference.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    darryl, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 10:29pm

    But if it was Google streetview it would be 'OK' by Mike.

    Oh I see, I get it now, its not Ok for the Government to take pictures of you and invade your privacy. But its OK for Google to do it, why is that ? is it because the Governnment is trying to stop bombs and smuggling, and Google are trying to extract more money from the entire population.

    So its OK for google but bad for the government to invade your privacy. I guess you would consider it free speech if the Government decided to post all the captured pictures under a CC license and posted them to "Google backscatter pics"..

    Hey they could even tie it to street view and enable you to see naked pictures of the residents of the house, (great for rapists).

    Then we can post assasination clips on youtube, so that your 11 year old daughter, can EASILY stumble across some person having their head cut off with a big sword !!!..

    Great, If that is what you want Mike... Well I just dont know..

    You might want to be a bit carefull with what you wish for, it might just come true..

     

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  36.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 5th, 2010 @ 12:46am

    Re: But if it was Google streetview it would be 'OK' by Mike.

    Darryl, do you come up with this sort of humor on your own, or do you have help?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 5th, 2010 @ 6:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Backscatter

    internet rule# 34. -shudder-

     

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  38.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 5th, 2010 @ 8:04am

    Re: But if it was Google streetview it would be 'OK' by Mike.

    I wonder how hard it would be to write a Greasemonkey script that collapses all darryl threads. I may look into that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 5th, 2010 @ 4:27pm

    Re: But if it was Google streetview it would be 'OK' by Mike.

    Not too hard! If someone wants to host this somewhere, go for it. If you use Firefox, install Greasemonkey and then add a new script using this script below. It could probably be adapted to some other browsers, feel free to experiment.


    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1_DWYEIhgMK54_sBDMj5UnuW0bHmdADnCY3099_9ffF g

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Bengie, Nov 8th, 2010 @ 5:52am

    Re:

    If you look up the "safety" on these back-scatter xray machines, they caused about one death per ~200mil people.

    About 2 billion people fly every year. If you assume half of these are at airports that may actually use this kind of tech, then about 5 people will die every year to cancer caused by backscatter xrays and countless others will just get regular cancer that won't kill them within the year.

    Ohh, and don't have sex for several days after getting on of these. They greatly increases the chance of having deformed babies.

    There goes your honeymoon.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Bengie, Nov 8th, 2010 @ 7:45am

    Re: But if it was Google streetview it would be 'OK' by Mike.

    "So its OK for google but bad for the government to invade your privacy."

    Google doesn't invade privacy, it only aggregates *PUBLIC* data. The data they use is already publicly available. There is no expectation of privacy with public data.

     

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  42.  
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    nasch (profile), Nov 8th, 2010 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Ohh, and don't have sex for several days after getting on of these. They greatly increases the chance of having deformed babies.

    There goes your honeymoon.


    If you're flying on a jet aeroplane, you probably also have access to contraception.

     

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  43.  
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    Mr.Paul, Nov 14th, 2010 @ 11:40pm

    Bull SH**

    If ANYONE came up to me or especially my wife and said to submit to one of those,Id be outraged and Refuse to do so..They dont kno what kinda problems people have with that!! It's all crap,and the poor people who accually have to work there in the airports.Im sure they have tons more of sexual harrassment there now..How unfortuanate that this country(USA) is going to shit..I'm totally outta here,screw this government..bunch of ignorant politicians..

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    James Ryan, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 5:13am

    @keybored

    Yes, we want our loved blown out of the sky. What an idiotic statement. I suppose if they told you that from now on you could only travel in hospital gowns, you'd be for that too? Well, I work with scanners - this is not some amorphous, fuzzy picture they come up with. These are recognizable (in color, no less when the software is adjusted) nude photos. And as far as the guy not caring - why do you think porn is soooo very prevalent on the web. This about what works, what doesn't and, most importantly, how far do we bend over in the name of "security". I am no libertarian but people taking naked pictures of the public (and so what if they are in another room - if nothing else, it gives them the opportunities for mischief that the public can't see).

     

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  45.  
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    wakawaka, Nov 16th, 2010 @ 8:04pm

    backscatter

    backscatter images are extremely precise. sometimes on tv we see deliberately altered backscatter images designed to hide genitalia, but that deliberate alteration is done because the actual image is completely accurate picture of you without clothes. and as for backscatter porn--i've already seen some. to do backscatter porn you take a video camera, videotape the person standing on the backscatter machine, then walk over to the video display of their naked image, and video tape their naked body. This technology is going to destroy the morality of the people who monitor it--they are going to see every conceivable body type completely naked, children, men, women, old men, old women. backscatter is bad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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