Having noticed Rapiscan’s stock (OSIS) plummet from around $77 a share to ~ $50 this past Wed. and Thurs.( to rebound somewhat on Friday to around $64) due to a “scan scam”, I am doubly surprised to have just been confronted with a Rapiscan full-body X-ray scanner in the San Diego airport (SAN). (The other reason is that I understand their scanners are being phased out.) When I asked why they were still using them, the TSA rep assured me that they were being swapped out any day! Of course I was a female opt out (but said nothing more lest I be punished).
Scan scam? Full-body scan-maker denies faking test amid TSA probe
A US legislator says Rapiscan, the maker of controversial body-scanners used at American airports, may have falsified its software test results. The company denies the allegations, saying it’s cooperating with the TSA probe into the matter. Continue reading
I think it’s true. The TSA retaliates against travelers for disobedience, a “bad attitude” or for not showing sufficient deference, especially in certain big city airports. Having a bad attitude can just mean being “a female optout” to begin with, requiring someone (of the right sex) to come from afar to do the invasive pat down. Last time,although the person doing the pat down was a woman, they asked if it was ok for these two men to watch. TWO! Perhaps they were in training. They were intensely interested. I couldn’t see why these guys should be watching my pat down, but I figured I’d be further punished if I objected. I have never worn a dress during the era of scanners, but wonder how horrible that would be. I may try it. So far the worst I’ve done (aside from engage in futile arguing in Europe once when they wouldn’t let me opt out) is bring copies of materials on the risks of the whole body scanners, leaving copies for others. Continue reading
Why are we still being subjected to full-body X-ray scanners in the U.S. whenEurope has (just) banned them? And why do I seem to be the only “female opt out” (at least in my line of people at several airports)? (This should be parked on my kvetch page.)
Full body X-ray scans may save travelers the trouble of being frisked, but the European Union has decided to ban the machines due to safety concerns.
The controversial machines show a complete image of a person’s body, but their purpose is to reveal hidden explosives and weapons at security checkpoints. Experts’ biggest fear is that these machines may emit high levels of cancer-causing radiation.
The European Commission blocked new trials for the device due to safety concerns, but Manchester Airport was allowed to continue to use the $130,000 machines for another year as part of a trial.
Machester Airport workers were hoping that the EC would approve permanent user of the machines, especially after they declared that the machines pose close to a zero risk in May.
However the European airport never got the go-ahead. The European Commission’s chiefs didn’t give approval for the machines to be used permanently after a three year trial.
Now the airport will have to replace the full body X-ray scanners with “privacy -friendly” scanners which will cost the airport over $2 million and 55 extra security workers.
While the machines have been scrapped from Europe, the United States continues to use them. The devices, which were added in 2010, are used in at least 68 airports across the country.
The Transportation Security Administration started to add these scanners after a man tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane in 2009 with a bomb that he had in his underwear. TSA tests show that the machines don’t emit harmful levels of radiation, yet some passengers still opt for full-body pat downs instead of passing through the machines due to a fear of their potential effects.
Research suggests that despite how low the radiation is, hundreds of passengers may get cancer just because there are so many scanners in the U.S. Last year, there were 250 machines in U.S. airports and research suggested that 100 people could get cancer because of them. Airports have added 600 new machines this year.
Read more here.
- In the Clutches of the TSA
I don’t know if this is true, but I was told yesterday by some TSA inspectors that there would no longer be an “opt-out” option from full-body scanners in Europe. (Anyone know about this?) About to pass through security at Heathrow (British Air) I began the usual strip, including knee brace, which invariably triggers bells. I was told they didn’t want me removing the knee brace “in public”, so I went through the machine, it went off, and I was given a pat down and told I also had to go through the full-body scanner which I always opt out of (not that it has often arisen). They usually grab a bullhorn and yell out loudly “female opt out!” in order to signal the need for a non-male TSA rep to do the pat down. This time, however, they told me there had just a few days ago been a change of rules in Europe, and there was no opting out (if selected). After I argued for several minutes that neither the safety nor the effectiveness of the full-body scan had passed severe tests, I suddenly found myself surrounded by 4 male TS officials who said I either go through the full-body scanner or not fly. I received a form in which to write my complaint to the authorities. After I submitted to their invasion of privacy, they still demanded I take the brace off—I guess it was ok to perform in public now. Any females with similar experiences?
If the following is true, I hope she succeeds in suing:(updated Dec. 3, 2011)