The Naked Truth About Body Scanners

Roger Simon
Politico
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Officials say 98 percent of people go through the machines rather than request a pat-down, which is not surprising: First, who likes to be touched by a stranger? And second, going through the machines is faster, and flying has becomes such a cumbersome and aggravating experience that most people will do anything to get it over with.

And, after all, the machines are worth it because they detect explosives. Except they don’t. As it turns out, the machines don’t detect explosives at all. They detect images on your body that shouldn’t belong on your body.

“It’s not an explosive detector; it’s an anomaly detector, Clark Ervin, who runs the Homeland Security Program at the Aspen Institute, told the Post. “Someone has to notice that there’s something out of order.

Which means those security employees who stare at the screens have to be sharp enough and well-trained enough to detect things that are abnormal. (And some experts think that if the explosives are flat and pancake-shaped and taped to your stomach, they could not be detected anyway, because the picture would look too normal.)

Full story here.

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