Full body scanners in airports are wrong

Why full-body scanners at airports are wrong

I do not like body scans at airports. They are contrary to the 4th amendment.  Radiation scans are not safe. Full airport body scans are a waste of money and another example of old technology being deployed in the war against terror. Call me libertarian constitutionalists American,  but hear me out and then take my poll at the end.

  • Full-body scanners are ineffective – Terrorists are using more sophisticated tactics. It is another example, of people deploying money in the wrong places to fight terrorists. Everyone is preparing for the next 9/11 and building The Maginot line at air terminals when the enemy is preparing for something else:

I don’t know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines (they are useless). I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747, that is why we have not put body scans our airport.

These are the words of Rafi Sela, an Israeli airport security expert who helped design the security in Israel’s largest airport. The Israeli really knows what they are doing with security, the USA is heavily involved with lobbyists. Do you think Israeli security is brainless? I do not. Terrorist organizations are not brainless either, they are constantly revising their tactics and not using the same ideas they did ten years ago. There are new types of chemical scanners that are more useful. Even dogs are more effective. Sure I was stopped in an airport by dogs because my bag was next to someone else’s bag who had some illegal substances.  Lie and stress detectors like used Vegas will let you know better what is going on with a person because you can trick a body scanner, but contrary to popular belief it is very hard to trick a lie detector. In Austria, they use a much more effective machine scan that can smell explosives and not expose people to radiation and humiliation.  Terrorist can give the TSA full-body scanners the slip with certain material, thin .5 millimeter lead lining. Maybe you would not think of doing this, but Al Qaeda does. They plan and rehearse.  Terrorists are now focused on homegrown cells committing acts in the country, now. But again, the question is why if these are effective, then Israel does not use them in their airports? If you can answer that question then we can talk.

  • If you support these scans you might be helping the enemy – Yep, since people can trick the scans they are only a fancy distraction, read this about how the scans are ineffective. It is nothing but a wasteful way of taking the eye off the ball, so the enemy can slip through the lines and cause real damage in another place and way.
  • Lobbyists are in bed with the company that makes the scanners: I know you are saying Mark it is not true. Washington has no lobbies. But it is true. For example, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff promoted them while not disclosing he was a lobbyist for the producers. His company Chertoff group (pronounced ‘shirt – off’ group) and Rapiscan Systems were clients and he admitted conflict of interest. This is so wrong.  You can read up on this. This is clearly wrong. Body scanners are wrong morally and the USA spending money on something again that is not effective. See point 1 above. You can also read up on people like Tom Blank, Chad Wolf, Kevin Patrick Kelly, Former Senator Al D’Amato, etc.
Airport body scanner lobbyist in Washington
He has no concern of skin cancer and radiation as he is a glowing image of health. Would you trust this face? Chertoff does not trust you. He lobbied hard for Rapiscan.
  • Radiation danger from body scans – Just like all the police who got cancer from speed detectors years ago, the risks are there. The radiation on full-body scans is low, if and only if it is distributed over your entire body mass. It is not.  Many experts are not thinking objectively. It is focused on the thin layer of your skin. This is a focused beam of radiation. Respect radiologist will counter the claim that the radiation is low because the companies doing the study do not consider the fact the radiation is beamed and focused on the thin layer of your skin. The last I herd skin cancer is very dangerous.  Even if only ten to one hundred people die from this radiation a year, do you want to be that one? Even if you are not one of the unlucky ones it affects your health. Radiation causes DNA damage. No radiation steam baths for me, I will opt-out. It is warned and advised that people who are pregnant, want to have children and children should not go through these scanners also if you are at risk for a number or illnesses. It will take time to see the effects but these radiation scanners will affect more people than any terrorist action. But its good money for the producers, I guess. The company will tell you they are safe you can check out their sales page, and but again be objective.  if and only if you calculate it over your whole body mass. Airport full-body scanners are not safe if you look at it this way, as it is focused on your skin not distributed through out your whole body.
  • Pictures of body scans have hit the Internet –  Hands up in the air and drop your pants. Basically, this is what you do. Sure you do not think somehow someway these body scan images of you with no clothes have not hit the web? I know what you are saying ‘Mark listen, no one would ever use the world wide web to search for pictures of bodies without clothes’. Well, I have heard people do.  OK so they are only these blue and white x-ray images, but people simply add a Photoshop layer or two and boom, there is color and life to your photo. Again, I do not really care too much about my body image, but what about kids? There are many freaks in the world.
  • Images of full body scans will be on the Internet

  • Something called the US constitution – ‘Oh Mark, why do you keep bringing that silly document up again?’ Because clearly, the 4th Amendment states:
  • The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    So we all are suspects and guilty until proven innocent? The whole world has probable cause. Therefore the 4th amendment, the US constitution does not matter. Just to get your blood going, it is a little sensational of course, so take it with a grain of salt, but watch this on the TSA scans.

    • Opt-out – of the Body scan and you will be in for a real treat. Children being touched and taught this is OK for a stranger to do this to you. Your private area felt. Any complaints and you will be swarmed by the TSA keystone cops as was Nicholas Monaghan was. You can look up his case. Total government submission of the population and not for an increase in security.
    • TSA checks that use these scanners may give you the warm fuzzies, that terrorists are being stopped, but terrorists are clever and fanatics, and as much as the TSA is trying to sell people on their website, I do not buy it. Maybe I am wrong and off base, but I really think they are an example of setting up a road block which the criminals see well in advance and find a work around for.
    • Many Americans accept and submit easily when the buzz word ‘national security’ is spoken – For example, we invaded Iraq and fought a ten-year war, and no weapons of mass destruction were found. All you have to say is ‘it is in the name of security’ and Americans are sold and turn off their critical thinking. They are like come on don’t be a party pooper, you are a radical or a conspiracy theorist. I am not, I am just an American that likes to be skeptical. I believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. If you tell me these expensive machines will stop terror, prove it, and tell me why do the Israeli’s not use them?

    Body scans are bad

    In conclusion, I guess my biggest concern is they are ineffective and a waste of money. I keep pointing out that certain technology is very good in the war on terror (drones, satellites, lie detection and stress scans, chemical scanners,  identifying people of interest with new computer technology etc). Other things like the shot-gun approach of scanning all travelers is not, it lulls people into a false sense of security because the bad guys already know how to get around them. Again why does Israel not use them? Homeland security should spend money on certain things, yet other things devices are not.  Full body scanners and the headaches that go along with them are not the most effective means to stop the bad guys.

    Did I convince you?

    [poll id=”6″]

    Here is my video on the TSA full-body scanners Let me know what you think?

    Related Posts




    This is my Youtube Channel: EconLessons


    9 responses to “Full body scanners in airports are wrong”

    1. steve

      Obviously you are brainwashed Republican. Stop watching fox news.

      1. Mark Biernat

        I do not watch Fox news as I live in Europe.
        State your points in a clear, crisp way rather simply mindless comments

    2. loosenut

      I have to disagree with your comment about 4th amendment rights being violated. First, nobody is forcing anybody to get these scans, they are only happening at commercial airports. Second, you can opt out and get a nice groping (which might be considered an equal violation of your rights, I suppose).

      1. Mark Biernat

        I see your point, but that being said, the same argument could be made if you are going to a concert, going to the shopping mall, going to school. The government could scan and feel and check you in any situation that you are not in your home. The fourth Amendment just says they can not search you, not they can search in some places and not in others. The main idea is they can only search you with a court order and naming the specific person and reason and place. It has to have your name on it and from a judge.
        I live in a post communist country now, Poland. Under the Police state of communism the police could search you under the idea of ‘homeland security’. But that was a police state.

    3. sustainablej

      My concern is two fold. 1. The scanners are active, active meaning they put out radiation, either ionizing or microwave. 2.strip search with no probable cause

      The scanners put out radiation. Period. If this is so, and humans are to go into them. Dosage levels must be clearly stated. I have read many different numbers on this. The best ‘specification’ is that ‘you get more radiation traveling on a flight across the US than you do from one of these scanners’ if this is the case, quantify it!! Last I knew, if you get an x ray you need a prescription, or you need to wear a lead vest so as not to dose one’s body. The dose needs a prescription. Although, I am not sure how dentist’s get around this.

      MMwave technology. This is frickin’ microwave!! I worked on MRI machines for many years. I understand wavelengths and power absorbing into the body and the head. How is the machine calibrated, per load, is it a standard RF blast, what power level? Againg the TSA sites are fuzzy on the spec here, ‘much lower than the dose you get from your cell phone’ if that is the case, what is the SAR level or power level for the scanner? Need specifics here, not just ‘oh trust me and get it over with’.

      I understood metal detectors, didn’t like them. But understood them, the technology anyways.

      Removing of the shoes, annoying and lame. Again, did n’t like this, but ok… i will take off my shoes.

      But the strip search with technology with no specifications on power levels… that is a line that is crossed on both the real (hard specifications and logic) and the imaginary (feeling of personal privacy)

      Tell Chitoff, I opt out. As I did in Richmond, VA on 1/1/2010.

      1. Mark Biernat

        I could not agree more. Now the government is putting them in court houses, and planning subways, boats etc. They will be everywhere, even concerts and stadiums. Someone is making a lot of money off these scanners and someone else will get radiated.
        I go back to my point that the radiation calculated over your total body mass is one thing, but over the surface of the skin where the radiation is focused is a lot for the mass of your skin. This will result in skin cancer in a number of people. I just do not want to be one of those people.

    4. Amanda Ford

      The scanners are a charter for perverts and sadists. They are encroaching on our personal space in a way that is totally offensive and uncalled for. They are degrading and dehumanizing. The medical problems with them are well documented – you can google them. The millimetre wave scanners can split DNA and cause genetic mutations. The backscatter scanners can potentially cause 6 forms of cancer. These machines are far mor dangerous than what the government would have you believe. Read what independent scientists have to say and you will soon get the picture. Any dose of radiation is potentially dangerous, no-one should be exposed to it without good reason. Also be aware that women are twice as sensitive to radiation as men and that 1 in 20 people already has a genetic mutation which makes them very much more vulnerable to radiation.

      For people who think its fun and sexy to get like some of the previous commentators you all need an attitude transplant. Your body belongs to you, not to the government and when government starts crossing the line into your personal space and disregarding your fundamental right to dignity and privacy you can be sure there is something else on the agenda. This is all about control, nothing to do with security. In an increasingly controlled police state the establishment wants your obedience and right now it is pushing things to the limit to see just how far it can go.

      Those of you who cannot see this and blindly and helpfully walk into the scanners are not only a danger to yourselves but to the rest of us. If everyone saw what is happening for what it really is and refused to go along with it all this useless and unnecessary security theatre would be gone by now but all of you are prolonging it and taking us deeper and deeper into the police state and eventually to Marshall law. You also need to think of others, transgender people for example and people with prosthetics. Think about the man with a prosthetic testicle who I read about on the ACLU site who has to be physically strip searched every time he goes through the scanner so now he does not fly anymore. Also consider the many people who have medical conditions and implants or have recently recovered from surgery and how the TSA makes their life hell. Think of your girlfriend whose sanitary towel is detected by a particularly officious TSA agent being taken to a back room to have god only knows what done to her. You can google that one for yourself. Are you happy that this is done to your wife, girlfriend or mother? Think of the people wearing incontinence pads who have literally had them stripped off them in public at the airport, yes you can google that one too. I hope that you are getting the picture!

      If you truly want to make an exhibition of yourselves I am sure you can do it somewhere else but if you and people like you maintain that flippant attitude you may not be laughing so much if you wind up at a Fema camp some time in the future after your door is knocked down by a SWAT team in the middle of the night and you are led away in handcuffs as an enemy combatant, detained without charge indefinitely with no recourse to a lawyer and quite possibly subjected to torture. You seem to forget that America is operating under emergency law and habeas corpus and posse comitatus have both been revoked. This should tell you how serious things really are and in the context of that the use of body scanners and all the humiliations that go with them should make perfect sense given the context. We need to take this country back and if you still cannot see that heaven help us all.

      1. Mark Biernat

        Thank you for a clear well written comment on body scans. I am not an alarmist but I have no idea why people would walk though these. Radiation is not safe if it is concentrated like this is on the skin.
        Further, I really think people should look at the 4th Amendment to the constitution. What does this say? It says the government can not search you without probable cause and should be supported with a written warrant.

    5. Amanda Ford

      In reply to your comment, many thanks for your article also and the chance to exchange ideas. You may not be alarmist about it but I am. People need to be! This is about our health and our future! Just talk to a radiologists and he will tell you that no dose of radiation is safe and that the government is telling you lies. From what I have read I understand that the machines have not been tested properly and that the results have been fudged, a bit like climategate. Apparently they really do not know as much about them as they ought to. There are also very important maintenance issues which make these machines very unsafe unless they are calibrated properly – would anyone want to trust such a shambolic agency as TSA or anyone really with something so dangerous but totally unnecessary? I for one would not like to take the risk. You may not be aware that TSA agents are not issued with the standard radiologists’ badge which they should be wearing to measure the exposure they are subjected to which will be considerable given that they are in the proximity of unprotected machines all day long. Now why is that I wonder?
      I totally agree with you that the use of these kinds of security procedures is in violation of the 4th amendment and given that the government wants to totally change the face of American society all of this is one way of breaking all the rules if the public let them get away with this. The current government does not want you to have the 4th amendment, or the first of the 2nd or the 10th and if it had its way the Constitution would be totally eviscerated so that people did not have any rights or freedoms. This is the way things seem to be going at the moment and no doubt you have noticed that the war on terror has incrementally been manoeuvred to now include ‘domestic terrorists’ such as people with Ron Paul bumper stickers and returning veterans. This is ‘mission creep’ on steroids. If they roll these scanners out everywhere at malls, stadiums and train and bus stations as you were saying then almost everyone will literally be working for the TSA. This is security gone berserk and since this would extend into the general population, well past the minority who fly, I cannot see people standing for it. There are enough people who do not fly because of the TSA as it is.
      Everyone should also realise that airports are not secure, ie not ring fenced so they can be breached easily. According to a YouTube video shown to Congress early this year there are horrendous security lapses within the airport complexes and it sounds as though staff vetting and security is almost non-existent. Airports are insecure on so many fronts not least the potential for surface to air missile attacks and attacks on the large groups of people waiting for security checks. You do not need to board a plane to launch a successful terrorist attack, TSA makes it easy for you to do it in a number of other ways. One of the best devices for explosives detection is the sniffer dog and since the body scanners are unlikely to detect explosives, (apparently it is unlikely they would have detected the underwear bomber), and since the only mechanism that did has been removed it seems that we are less protected from explosives at the airport than we ever were. Feel any safer? I certainly don’t. These scanners are not only dangerous but of little practical value and since they cannot detect explosives this is just another metal detector albeit this one is obscene.
      I wanted to further address the issue of privacy that one of the comments stated was ‘imaginary’. I take issue with that. Firstly, as you implied, the 4th amendment protects people from searches and seizures without probable cause. The 4th amendment also protects your privacy because the whole point is to protect you from unwarranted government interference in your life. The Constitution is a recipe for limited government and the right of the citizen to be left in peace to live their own life. Right now we have government in our faces all the time. Another very important point is that constitutionally if it is illegal for me to do something to you, for instance view your body or sexually molest you then it is illegal for the government to do it. Your body belongs to you and the government cannot touch it, view it or go on it or in it without a warrant. Because people are no longer politically educated and they have no moral compass all of this has to be explained to them. Most people do not even know what the first or the 4th amendments are sadly.
      Anyone who does not think that their right to physical integrity and privacy is an issue is extremely naive, immature and ill-informed. They are a liability to themselves and to others because they will have no sense of judgement and will be easily conned into the government trap of being persuaded to exchange liberty for security. In reality the government can never keep you safe and do your really want it to anyway? If the person in question believes that it is perfectly ok for an untrained, unqualified, low-waged government worker who he does not know to sit in a back room and view a picture of him and go over it with a magnifier that is so detailed it can see more than the human eye, then I can only say that he needs a reality check fast. Once you go down that road it takes you to places most of us would not want to be. Do you really want someone like a TSA agent, or anyone else for that matter, to have that kind of power over you? Most of us do not want to be infantilized or treated like criminals or to give that kind of control to someone else. That is part of the natural self-protection mechanism that we are born with and for good reason.
      I felt it was necessary to go into the privacy issue in some depth because it is one that people too often egotistical dismiss on the pretext of showing how liberated they are and how unliberated everyone else is. I notice that people coming from that argument often put pressure on others to conform to their way of thinking in an effort to prove to everyone that they are right and to hide their own insecurities. That is just obfuscation. Of course there are privacy issues. I don’t think another person has the right to demand to be able to see the intimate details of your body in order to board a plane, it is a violation and it is unnecessary. No normal woman would want some unknown to be able to see if she is wearing a sanitary napkin, that is obscene, and no man would want his private parts, or lack of them, being scrutinized. Neither do people with implants or other devices want this displayed. These machines have hard drives, they would not be able to operate unless they did which means that no matter what the TSA says, the information is stored for retrieval. Once the government has this information it will never let it go. It is aiming to have files on everyone so a body scan is just one more item for the file with which to identify you. Now do all you privacy deniers see where this is going? Never trust the government, it obviously does not trust you.
      I might have more time for what the government says if it practiced what it preached. If I saw Barack Obama being scanned and his wife and daughters being groped on a regular basis then you could at least see that they truly believe it works. If the system is so safe and so wonderful and there are no privacy issues then why don’t Napolitano, Pistole and Chertoff all lead the way by getting themselves scanned and showing us the pictures. Now I would really respect that. But as things are we have a two-tier system where members of the government ‘in the know’ can bypass airport security and the rest of us are expected to be violated in order to prove that we are not terrorists, even celebrities and congressmen. It is truly absurd and it amazes me greatly that celebrities in particular seem quite happy to have their security violated in that way! As I said in the previous post, this is a pervert’s charter and you really would expect people like celebrities to have more self-respect and to be blazing a trail for the rest of us .
      If we are truly all such a danger to each other than we would be much better staying at home but the reality is that none of us are terrorists, we are all good citizens. We were before the ‘underwear bomber’ (which was a staged false flag event by the way) and we still are now. Nothing suddenly changed. This is all about the security industrial complex making a great deal of money and about the intimidation of the American people into submission. The physical and mental impact of this diabolical nightmare will cost us dear in terms of health and psychological damage which will manifest at some point in the not too distant future. For that reason It is extremely important to make the right choice and people need to seriously assess the arguments for and against all of these security measures and to make an informed choice which they can justify to themselves and to others. My own position is that I would urge people who read this to stay well away from this whole charade even if it means changing their lifestyle. I am sure no-one wants to deal with having cancer or another serious illness triggered by radiation and I am sure no-one wants to have to deal with the toxic after effects of going through this humiliating and degrading and totally useless process time after time. Given that we are all now being bombarded with the fallout from the Fukushima disaster I think on health grounds alone going through these scanners should be out of the question for anyone who wants to preserve their lifespan.

      PS Did you know that your video is no longer available? Is it possible for you to put it up again please?

    Leave a Reply