Naked Scanner Maker Accused Of Manipulating Tests To Make Scans Look Less Invasive

from the well-that-was-useful dept

We'd heard a number of reports about how the TSA was already either retrofitting the various naked scanners or moving on to less privacy invasive versions, but there were two interesting points to come out some Congressional hearings on the devices yesterday. First, apparently there is some concern that the makers of the Rapiscan machine (and, yes, it still amazes me that anyone thought that was a good name), OSI Systems, may have "manipulated" tests in order to claim that the machines did not invade travelers' privacy:
The company “may have attempted to defraud the government by knowingly manipulating an operational test,” Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Transportation Security Subcommittee, said in a letter to Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole Nov. 13. Rogers said his committee received a tip about the faked tests.
OSI, of course, is denying it, but this is the same company that also apparently ran into problems last year when maintenance reports suggested radiation levels 10 times as high as promised.

The other bit of news? The TSA has admitted that it has simply put a bunch of these machines in storage -- 91 machines, worth $14 million -- because of related privacy concerns.

While it's a good thing that privacy violating machines aren't being used, it raises serious questions about why they were purchased and put into use in the first place -- and done so without ever taking comment from the public, as is required under law. Perhaps if they had actually done that, they would have avoided wasting so much taxpayer money on machines that violate everyone's privacy.


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  1.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 10:43am

    High Debt = Gov Waste

    I can almost Bet that a large amount of Debt could be wiped out by Cleaning House in Washington.
    There is so much waste it is Disgusting.
    And there are so many Idiot Politicians that will actually Pass Laws which go Directly against our Previous Laws so then there has to be more Waste Fighting the Law that never should of been done in the First place.
    Point in View for one of these would be various States trying to Close Down a Planned Parenthood when those places are already Protected.
    So then there has to be a Legal Case wasting a ton of our Tax Paying Revenue.
    Another good one would be Interfering with our Right To Vote and passing Laws which Suppress that Right.Politicians make Law and then we have to waste more money Fighting bad Law which never should of been done in First place.

     

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  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 10:50am

    "91 machines, worth $14 million"

    They're upwards of $1M each! So perhaps missing a "1" for $114M? Yes, it's in your source, but the magnitude of numbers would jump to your eye if you had any sense of "sunk (or fixed) costs", or any feel for economic realities among the 99%. But you just copied and pasted it without noticing.

     

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  3.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Re: "91 machines, worth $14 million"

    Why don't you find us a source for your info? Prove Mike wrong 4 reeulz for once.

     

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  4.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: "91 machines, worth $14 million"

    "Evidence" is toxic to trolls, you won't be getting any evidence from this one.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 11:05am

    Re: "91 machines, worth $14 million"

    Here is the frist paragraph of the artcle Mike cited for you:
    The Transportation Security Administration has put 91 of its full-body scanning machines worth $14 million in storage because of privacy concerns, officials told a House hearing Thursday.

     

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  6.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 11:09am

    Re: "91 machines, worth $14 million"

    From the article:
    Transportation Security Administration has put 91 of its full-body scanning machines worth $14 million in storage
    91 machines are worth $14 million total.
    Originally, the TSA had planned to ship the 91 machines to smaller airports.
    This indicates that these aren't all the machines they've bought.
    For now, the 91 machines are in a Texas warehouse, which now holds a total of $155 million in unused equipment
    $155 million is the total of all unused equipment, of which 91 of these machines are a part, not the sum total. And since machines are still in airports, it's safe to say that these 91 are not the total of all machines the TSA has.
    The TSA has spent $140 million on full-body scanners, according to Sanders. This includes $40 million for backscatter machines and $100 million for millimeter-wave machines
    Oh, money shot. The TSA has spent $140 million on all machines total, not just these 91.
    The agency bought 200 full-body scanners in May, bringing its total to 1,000
    1,000 is a whole lot more than 91. $14,000,000/91 = ~$154,000 per machine. $154,000 x 1,000 = $154,000,000 which is just about equal to the $140 million claimed to have been spent on scanners.

    No, it's not in his source that these machines are $1,000,000 each. Please kindly cite your source.

     

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    akp (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 11:49am

    Re: High Debt = Gov Waste

    Why is Every other Word of Your comment Capitalized?

     

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  8.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 11:49am

    OSI, of course, is denying it, but this is the same company that also apparently ran into problems last year when maintenance reports suggested radiation levels 10 times as high as promised.

    They say the reason that the report indicated 10 higher radiation levels was that the technicians did took ten sample readings, then added them up, but forgot to divide by ten. So the level they reported was just the sum of the readings, not the average. So anyway you look at it, they don't know what they're doing, but I guess I'd rather have incompetent technicians than much higher radiation.

     

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  9.  
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    PT (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 11:58am

    ...it raises serious questions about why they were purchased and put into use in the first place...

    Oh, I think we all know why they were purchased. As for why they were put into use, it's a principle established by long precedent that the government never negotiates away or takes out of service any piece of Congressional pork until it's been paid for and its sponsors adequately compensated.

     

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  10.  
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    Mr. Applegate, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    Re: "91 machines, worth $14 million"

    Come on OOTB show us the cite!

    Here let me help you out:
    http://www.ogs.state.ny.us/purchase/spg/pdfdocs/3823219745PL_Rapiscan.pdf

    This is the pricing from 2009

    Oh, guess what they LIST at $119K each, or about $185K each with all the options.

    Now since I know you will have a problem with this too lets do some math:

    91 Machines at $150,000 each (to allow for incidentals) is $16.8 Million.

    I bet not all the machines had all the options. In fact I would be willing to bet that some of the options are mutually exclusive.

    Huh imagine that Mike's numbers were pretty damn close after all. A lot closer than that number you pulled right out of that shit pile you call a brain.

    Kind of sucks to come out of the blue, eh.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 12:12pm

    Yeah they can just stay the hell away from me with their rape scanners.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 12:15pm

    Re:

    I mean really they already probe my ass enough and now they have to rape scan it?

     

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    Mr. Applegate, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: "91 machines, worth $14 million"

    Oops, my bad -

    91 Machines at $150,000 each (to allow for incidentals) is $16.8 Million.

    Should have been:
    91 Machines at $185,000 each (to allow for incidentals) is $16.8 Million.

    Not sure how that happened.

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Rogers said his committee received a tip about the faked tests.

    You mean, from a whistleblower? Arrest him and charge him with material support of terrorism!

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    From an ArsTechnica article:

    Ironically, that move has improved the efficiency of TSA operations. According to USA Today, Rapiscan machines were taken out of service in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Charlotte, and Orlando. As a result, TSA representative John Sanders told Rogers's committee, the same number of lines can now process an additional 180,000 more passengers per day.

    And no one got blowed up in all that time.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/11/rapiscan-accused-of-faking-privacy-tests-for-air port-scanners/

     

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  16.  
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    Watchit (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 2:07pm

    I've always wanted to go through a naked scanner with a raging boner and see what happens...

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 3:10pm

    Re:

    Melted by X-Rays!

     

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  18.  
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    Pixelation, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 3:34pm

    Anyone?

    Did anyone else read that headline as...
    Naked Scanner Maker Accused Of Manipulating Testicles.

     

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  19.  
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    k-h, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 3:53pm

    Re:

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 4:12pm

    Let's not forget that Department of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff ordered these naked body scanning machines and then cashed in big-time when he left the government and opened a "consulting" (back-door lobbying) business. Among his first clients were the companies that made the body-scanners he forced on the public.

    Nice payback for a job well done.

    If there had been any justice, then Chertoff should have been forced to pay back the taxpayers whose money he squandered -- an amount that's only a small fraction of the many $millions he made in kickbacks.

     

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  21.  
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    Wally (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:02pm

    Well, I'm glad that Columbus International and other Southwest Airlines hubs use the Milimeter Wave varyety of scanner....though with the less private kinds I've gone through, I'm just glad they didn't mistake certain bits of me for a P40 single shot grenade launcher...

     

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  22.  
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    Watchit (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Re:

    That is the greatest thing I have ever heard.

     

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  23.  
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    relghuar, Nov 19th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    ...without ever taking comment from the public...

    Yes, but if they had done that, stupid uninformed public - certainly manipulated by evil blogs like techdirt - might have come to conclusion these scanners are a bad idea!! And then the poor tech company couldn't make $14 million from (free) taxpayer money!
    Think about the jobs, please!!!

     

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