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Are planned airport scanners just a scam?

article claims EMF (radio-wave/millimetre-wave) scanners have no health risks
Are planned airport scanners just a scam?

The Independent
January 3, 2010

The explosive device smuggled in the clothing of the Detroit bomb suspect would not have been detected by body-scanners set to be introduced in British airports, an expert on the technology warned last night.

The claim severely undermines Gordon Brown’s focus on hi-tech scanners for airline passengers as part of his review into airport security after the attempted attack on Flight 253 on Christmas Day.

The Independent on Sunday has also heard authoritative claims that officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home Office have already tested the scanners and were not persuaded that they would work comprehensively against terrorist threats to aviation.

The claims triggered concern that the Prime Minister is over-playing the benefits of such scanners to give the impression he is taking tough action on terrorism.

And experts in the US said airport “pat-downs” – a method used in hundreds of airports worldwide – were ineffective and would not have stopped the suspect boarding the plane.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, allegedly concealed in his underpants a package containing nearly 3oz of the chemical powder PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate). He also carried a syringe containing a liquid accelerant to detonate the explosive.

Since the attack was foiled, body-scanners, using “millimetre-wave” technology and revealing a naked image of a passenger, have been touted as a solution to the problem of detecting explosive devices that are not picked up by traditional metal detectors – such as those containing liquids, chemicals or plastic explosive.

But Ben Wallace, the Conservative MP, who was formerly involved in a project by a leading British defence research firm to develop the scanners for airport use, said trials had shown that such low-density materials went undetected.

Tests by scientists in the team at Qinetiq, which Mr Wallace advised before he became an MP in 2005, showed the millimetre-wave scanners picked up shrapnel and heavy wax and metal, but plastic, chemicals and liquids were missed.

If a material is low density, such as powder, liquid or thin plastic – as well as the passenger’s clothing – the millimetre waves pass through and the object is not shown on screen. High- density material such as metal knives, guns and dense plastic such as C4 explosive reflect the millimetre waves and leave an image of the object.

Mr Wallace said: “Gordon Brown is grasping at headlines if he thinks buying a couple of scanners will make us safer. It is too little, too late. Under his leadership, he starved the defence research budget that could have funded a comprehensive solution while at the same time he has weakened our border security.

“Scanners cannot provide a comprehensive solution on their own. We must now start to ask if national security demands the use of profiling.”

Mr Wallace added that X-ray scanners were also unlikely to have detected the Christmas Day bomb.

The Government is looking at millimetre-wave scanners for widespread use in British airports as part of Mr Brown’s review. They are safer to use than X-ray scanners because they do not emit radiation and do not require passengers’ consent. Pregnant women cannot go through X-ray scanners but there are no such health risks with millimetre-wave technology.

However, a Whitehall source revealed that the DfT and the Home Office had already tested both the millimetre-wave and X-ray body-scanners as part of an ongoing assessment of airport security and anti- terror measures.

Read Full Article Here

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11 Comments so far
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I guess in the future we’ll be entering airplanes and buses naked :P

Comment by thelocalguide

[…] in most millimeter-wave bands. Perfect for detecting metal objects on subjects at airports, but not so great at picking up low-density materials such as plastic, chemicals or liquid which were some of the items used by the underwear […]

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[…] in most millimeter-wave bands. Perfect for detecting metal objects on subjects at airports, but not so great at picking up low-density materials such as plastic, chemicals or liquid which were some of the items used by the underwear […]

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[…] in most millimeter-wave bands. Perfect for detecting metal objects on subjects at airports, but not so great at picking up low-density materials such as plastic, chemicals or liquid which were some of the items used by the underwear […]

Pingback by Full-Body Scanners Increase Cancer Risk « Dark Politricks Retweeted

[…] in most millimeter-wave bands. Perfect for detecting metal objects on subjects at airports, but not so great at picking up low-density materials such as plastic, chemicals or liquid which were some of the items used by the underwear […]

Pingback by Full-Body Scanners Increase Cancer Risk « James Delnort's Blog

[…] in most millimeter-wave bands. Perfect for detecting metal objects on subjects at airports, but not so great at picking up low-density materials such as plastic, chemicals or liquid which were some of the items used by the underwear […]

Pingback by Full-Body Scanners Increase Cancer Risk « Dark Politics

[…] Perfette per il rilevamento degli oggetti di metallo portati dalle persone negli aeroporti, ma non così efficienti nel rivelare materiali di bassa densità come plastiche, prodotti chimici o liquidi, che erano alcuni degli oggetti utilizzati dal bombarolo […]

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[…] technology has not only been proven to be ineffective against many different types of low-density materials such as plastic, chemicals or liquid, but it could be easily defeated as all the terrorist would need to do is flatten his plastic […]

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At last! Someone who undretnsads! Thanks for posting!

Comment by Malerie

[…] TSA agents who spoke to a reporter agreed that the body-imaging scanners are effective — but only if the officers monitoring them are paying attention. Are planned airport scanners just a scam? […]

Pingback by Armed Agent Slips Past TSA Body Scanner « noworldsystem.com

[…] scanners have failed miserably in detecting dangerous weapons; an undercover TSA agent successfully passed through security multiple times with a handgun. Adam Savage from Mythbusters came out and said the “TSA x-rayed my junk, but they missed […]

Pingback by New Airport Scanners Will See Through Bodies « noworldsystem.com




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