If you’ve been on the internet today, you probably saw (along with the iPad 3) that those fancy TSA naked body scanners can be easily duped by just carrying something to the side over you body (in a side pocket or an attached pouch). Wait… that’s all it takes? Apparently so. Even the TSA doesn’t deny it.
Apparently, when an object is placed on your side, the dark colour of the object will simply blend into the background of the scan, rendering it invisible to airport security. That’s a pretty frightening loophole, if you ask me. I believe the general understanding of those naked body scanners for regular people goes something like this: “If you get to see us naked, you better keep us safe. And if it doesn’t keep us safe, then why see us naked?”
The official TSA blog responded to what the TSA called a “viral video about body scanners” that “is a crude attempt to allegedly show how to circumvent TSA screening procedures”. Oh, OK. That’s where you expect the TSA to refute the claim that you could fool the body scanner right? To prove us internet folk wrong! To shut everybody up! To keep peace! To curb terrorism! Nope. The TSA didn’t do that. At all. Instead they ducked the whole fiasco with this non-denial non-statement statement:
For obvious security reasons, we can’t discuss our technology’s detection capability in detail, however TSA conducts extensive testing of all screening technologies in the laboratory and at airports prior to rolling them out to the entire field.
Translation: We don’t understand our own security technology and we’re not sure if this loophole really works that’s why we’re throwing words like ‘extensive’ and ‘laboratory’ and ‘testing’ at you to make you think like we know what we’re doing.
Imaging technology has been extremely effective in the field and has found things artfully concealed on passengers as large as a gun or nonmetallic weapons, on down to a tiny pill or tiny baggies of drugs.
Translation: Don’t worry about this loophole because we find other stuff all the time! Trust our track record! Don’t trust the technology!
It’s one of the best tools available to detect metallic and non-metallic items, such as… you know… things that go BOOM.
Translation: We know how to use ellipses and strategic caps lock to divert your attention on the fact that we never addressed the situation.
With all that said, it is one layer of our 20 layers of security (behaviour Detection, Explosives Detection Canines, Federal Air Marshals, etc.) and is not a machine that has all the tools we need in one handy device. We’ve never claimed it’s the end all be all.
Translation: You know how we’re installing naked body scanners to see naked people? It’s not that important for security. We just want to see you naked
However, our nation’s aviation system is much safer now with the deployment of 600 imaging technology units at 140 airports. It is completely safe and the vast majority use a generic image that completely addresses privacy concerns. Also, keep in mind that is optional. Anybody can opt out of the body scanner for a pat-down.
Translation: If you don’t want to get naked, we’ll gladly feel you up instead.
So that’s what the TSA is rolling with. A non-denial on if this is a huge security loophole or not. So glad they’re in charge of keeping us safe. Aren’t you? [TSA]