No More Creepy Scans at Airport Security. Huzzah.

Remember a couple of years ago when the TSA decided to use Rapiscan Systems backscatter scan technology at the airport, and we all laughed and then were promptly horrified because “rapiscan” and “backscatter” didn’t sound like anything we wanted to be involved in?

Welp, turns out that the TSA is dropping the use of those machines because the company Rapiscan (seriously, guys — fix this) couldn’t provide the software needed to make sure that creepy TSA agents aren’t checking out your jiggly bits as you pass through airport security.

Score one for modesty.

[read full post at ABLC]






60 replies
  1. 1
    Mnemosyne (iPhone) says:

    Yay! Now I won’t have to be groped at the airport again for the crime of wanting to minimize my exposure to x-rays!

  2. 2
    gbear says:

    The software designers’ comment was ‘What do you mean, you don’t want to see them…’

  3. 3
    Chet says:

    And the amazing thing is, locking the cockpit doors is probably all the security we need. We could probably let people on planes with anything at all they wanted, and it would still be the case that the most dangerous part of a trip by airplane is your ride to the airport.

    I wonder how many people these machines killed, simply by causing a number of people to drive instead of suffer to fly.

  4. 4
    General Stuck says:

    I didn’t see nothin’, I didn’t hear nothin’, and I don’t know nothin’

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    Sounds like a market opportunity just opened up for Forced Ultrasound, Inc.

  6. 6
    Raven says:

    I never got all the hand wringing about airport security. I don’t give a shit what they do as long as the goddamn plane stays in the air.

  7. 7
    Roger Moore says:

    @Chet:

    And the amazing thing is, locking the cockpit doors is probably all the security we need.

    I wouldn’t go that far. A bomb can still take out a whole airliner whether the cockpit door is locked or not, so some steps to keep people from bringing them onboard are probably justified. Not to mention keeping out gear that would let somebody get through a locked cockpit door. But yes, most of the added screening since 9/11 is security theater, not anything of great practical value.

  8. 8
    TooManyJens says:

    But Rapiscan got their money, so mission accomplished.

  9. 9
    Raven says:

    In The High and Mighty with John Wayne a jealous dude gets in a scuffle, pulls a 38 and pops a cap. The passengers wrestle it away from him and give the piece to the Co-pilot who says, “I’ll give it back to you when we land”!! THAT was real flying.

  10. 10
    General Stuck says:

    After 15 solid years of practically living in a flying plane of some sort, or helicopter, I swore off flying, unless there is a very very good reason for it. I don’t want to go nowhere my feets won’t take me.

  11. 11
    Roger Moore says:

    @Baud:

    Sounds like a market opportunity just opened up for Forced Ultrasound, Inc.

    I think the alternative is millimeter wave stuff. It was probably a better choice than backscatter X-ray in the first place, certainly from a safety standpoint. And since this sounds like a software problem rather than a flaw in the basic technology, it’s not safe to assume that this is the last we’ll see of it.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @TooManyJens:

    DING DING DING DING DING

    Mission accomplished, indeed!

  13. 13
    Punchy says:

    This seems like a great bidnizz plan. The gubbmint paid a brazillian ducets for these things, Rapescan makes sure they go obsolete in 3 years, then turns around and sells them another brazillian sawbux worth of shitty equipment. Profit!

  14. 14
    Roger Moore says:

    @TooManyJens:

    But Rapiscan got their money, so mission accomplished.

    They got some of their money, at least, but they’re not going to get any service contracts (which is where the real money is in a lot of these devices) and future sales.

  15. 15
    MattF says:

    ‘Rapiscan’? Seriously?… Oh, wait, I get it… the ‘a’ is short. So, I guess that makes it OK. Whew.

  16. 16
    efgoldman says:

    …to make sure that creepy TSA agents aren’t checking out your jiggly bits as you pass through airport security.

    Well, I’m long past the jiggly bits part, but when we went to DC in December, we chose the 8-hour train trip without any bullshit, rather than the 90-minute flight with all the airport hassles. Not only security theater, but the access, the parking, the luggage restrictions, all that crap.

  17. 17
    daverave says:

    Speaking as someone with a couple of hip implants, I sure as hell hope we don’t go back to the days of, “OK sir, I’m going to run the back of my hand up the inside of your thighs until I meet resistance, all right?” The worst part, given our security theater, is that I was afraid that any witty rejoinders I came up with would result in a trip to Gitmo or something.

  18. 18
    efgoldman says:

    @MattF:

    Oh, wait, I get it… the ‘a’ is short. So, I guess that makes it OK. Whew.

    Or maybe not….

  19. 19
    I am not a kook says:

    You mean I can take this chorizo out of my pants now?

  20. 20
    efgoldman says:

    @I am not a kook:

    You mean I can take this chorizo out of my pants now?

    Kosher salami.

  21. 21
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @General Stuck:

    After 15 solid years of practically living in a flying plane of some sort, or helicopter, I swore off flying, unless there is a very very good reason for it. I don’t want to go nowhere my feets won’t take me.

    I’m getting more than my share these days.

    As much as I’ve flown, and as many places, I’ve never been in one of the pr0nscanners. Always the millimeter wave or the wand. Or an old fashioned metal detector walkthrough.
    The milimeter wave is amazing. One found a gum wrapper in my pocket recently. a GUM WRAPPER. Why do they need better systems than that. Millimeter wave is cheap.

  22. 22
    scav says:

    @I am not a kook: I’m sure Colemans has a recipe for that
    chorizo on their website. Mexican or Spanish, by the by?

  23. 23
    efgoldman says:

    Sort of OT, but….
    I’m watching the local (Providence) news. There was a (small) gun nut rally today.
    The head of the organization, full face on camera, into a microphone, said, and I quote: “Guns are not instruments of death.”
    No?
    Then what the fuck are they manufactured for!??!
    As close to damaging a TV set as I have ever come.

  24. 24
    Svensker says:

    @Raven:

    I saw that recently. It struck me how much more free and easy things were back in those days. The things the film accused the Commie Chinese of doing, Western governments all do now. Sad.

  25. 25
    efgoldman says:

    @scav:

    Mexican or Spanish, by the by?

    In these parts its Portugese, and spelled with a second “c.” “Chourico,” pronounced “Sherr-ees.”

  26. 26
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @efgoldman:

    The head of the organization, full face on camera, into a microphone, said, and I quote: “Guns are not instruments of death.”

    I hope they keep doing that. Most people will have the same reaction you did. And that makes the firearm-American influence groups look bugnuts crazy.

  27. 27
    gogol's wife says:

    @Raven:

    Love that scene.

  28. 28
    efgoldman says:

    @RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist:

    And that makes the firearm-American influence groups look clearly bugnuts crazy.

    Edited a little. I didn’t think you’d mind.

  29. 29
    scav says:

    @efgoldman: Chourico, pronounced “Sherr-ees“. I have a new reason to live.

  30. 30
    efgoldman says:

    @scav: Anywhere around Fall River or New Bedford, MA, and coastal RI.

  31. 31
    RossInDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    @efgoldman:

    As much as it infuriates me to see the 2nd Amendment absolutists demanding unlimited gun rights, I think it’s ultimately to the advantage of gun control efforts. The more extreme they’re seen as being the easier it is to just work around their rigid position rather than trying to accommodate. They’ve adopted an indefensible spot to make their stand.

  32. 32
    FlyingToaster says:

    I’m sure that the open letter from the team at UCSF had NOTHING to do with letting the contract lapse.

    Still not letting WarriorGirl go through anything but a magnetometer.

  33. 33
    Ted & Hellen says:

    So is the outrage that some security person might have seen an xray image of our naughty bits and we’re morally outraged by that, or that this was all security theatre and did no good anyway?

  34. 34
  35. 35
    I am not a kook says:

    @efgoldman:

    In these parts its Portugese, and spelled with a second “c.” “Chourico,” pronounced “Sherr-ees.”

    Hmm, didn’t realize Portuguese rivals English in Fucked Up Orthography Olympics.

  36. 36
    Violet says:

    @daverave:

    Speaking as someone with a couple of hip implants, I sure as hell hope we don’t go back to the days of, “OK sir, I’m going to run the back of my hand up the inside of your thighs until I meet resistance, all right?” The worst part, given our security theater, is that I was afraid that any witty rejoinders I came up with would result in a trip to Gitmo or something.

    I’m quite certain I’m on some list somewhere as I’ve been known to say quite audibly, “I fucking HATE the US Government for making me go through this” as the TSA agent was fondling me.

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    You got it, T&H.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Handy says:

    The machines are being installed in other government buildings so if you need food stamps or social security you will still be rape-scanned.

  40. 40
    scav says:

    @I am not a kook: Chouriço for the full flavour apparently, although Catalon Xoriço has even more hour-rahh!

  41. 41
    efgoldman says:

    @I am not a kook:

    Hmm, didn’t realize Portuguese rivals English in Fucked Up Orthography Olympics.

    I don’t speak the language, but its possible its a new world modification. Like Quebec French vs. Parisian.

  42. 42
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    You’re very clever, but which is it?

  43. 43
    Lojasmo says:

    Damn. My long time plan of fluffing with porn on my ipad on the concourse is now thwarted.

  44. 44
    scav says:

    The chouriço pronunciation given Here is sho-ree-zoo which looks about what I’d expect. Better still, it gave the difference between the Spanish and Portuguese as

    According to Lopes, both sausages are made with pork shoulder, paprika, garlic, black pepper, and salt, but an astonishing 20 percent of Spanish chorizo’s weight is paprika. Chouriço, on the other hand, has considerably less paprika and much more garlic and black pepper. In addition, lots of Portuguese red wine is splashed in to round out the flavor.

    Can I just say, round my sausage.

  45. 45
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Ted & Hellen: As HerrDoktorToaster says, “not only do the damn things not work, and give you and extra dose of radiation while showing your plumbing, but it’s all some kind of freakish security kabuki. No, not kabuki, its security noh, because it makes no sense whatsoever.”

    Whenever he travels alone, he gets sent to the scanner, and asks for both a pat down and a statie to observe. They don’t bother when he’s with me and the girl.

  46. 46
    ruemara says:

    There goes my last chance at a hot date.

  47. 47
    Haydnseek says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Security theatre? To a great extent, yes. Did it do any good? There’s no way to know. It’s like trying to generate a definitive number of armored car robberies that were thwarted by the presence of armed professionals guarding the cargo. That’s the way logic works. Your argument lacks data, simply because there can never be any. They don’t capture and question the people that abandon their plans because the security is too tight, for the obvious reasons.

  48. 48
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Well, that’s what I don’t get about this post.

    Is ABL glad TSA won’t be scanning people because it’s offensive to see their nibbles, or does she want the whole program to go away because it does no good, or what? Doesn’t seem clear.

    Would a potential hijacker now be more likely to be able to sneak something in under their clothes? Doesn’t say.

    Are we good with having security theatre that does no good as long as they don’t xray us? What?

  49. 49
    shortstop says:

    Two weeks ago, a TSA agent in Miami (dear Jesus, how I hate that airport and its perennially snotty staff) got all outraged when I called it the Rape-i-scan. This morning, a Newark TSA agent joined me in mocking the device.

  50. 50
    TooManyJens says:

    @Roger Moore: That actually makes me feel a little better.

  51. 51
    KCinDC says:

    Let’s see. Government pays security company millions for machines that don’t work. Now machines are scrapped to make way for whatever new machines some security company comes up with that will cost new millions. Sounds like TSA and DHS are doing exactly what they’re supposed to, just not necessarily what their public mission is.

  52. 52
    13th Generation says:

    It’s RAP-iscan, not RAPE-iscan. Try not to troll so much all the time Angry Black Lady.

    People might take you more seriously.

  53. 53
    MattR says:

    @FlyingToaster: The TSA continues to insist that those profs at UCSF are chicken littles who don’t fully understand the technology. They say the technology is 100% safe

  54. 54
    SLKRR says:

    @efgoldman:

    The New World pronunciation of Portuguese is actually quite phonetic. You have to go to Portugal to hear it truly butchered. “Gelado” becomes “zhladj” in Portugal, for example.

  55. 55
    Joey Maloney says:

    I haven’t seen any mention about then-DHS boss Michael Mukasey’s financial interest in the company that made the Rapiscans. It was a story at the time. So a corrupt Bush-era official took the money and ran and saddled the government with a bunch of useless junk. Color me surprised.

  56. 56
    Origuy says:

    @I am not a kook:

    Hmm, didn’t realize Portuguese rivals English in Fucked Up Orthography Olympics.

    Gaelic (Irish or Scottish) has the all-time championship locked up.

  57. 57
    FlyingToaster says:

    @MattR: And they failed to convince either the UCSF researchers, the Columbia Med professor, or the head of oncology at Johns Hopkins. The latter two tried their damnedest to get access to do live research (basically your standard REM exposure filmstrip for a series of passengers passing through), and the TSA refused to let them. Research that would have cost under $50K and likely demonstrated definitively if there was a problem, or proven the UCSF assertions exaggerated.

    My mom’s oncologist told her to tell all of us kids not to go through; there are already too many incidents of skin cancer in her family to take that risk.

  58. 58
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    @I am not a kook:

    You mean I can take this chorizo out of my pants now?

    You’ll have to take out the foil covered cucumber first.
    http://youtu.be/NeGteg74mjw?t=3m56s

  59. 59
    e.a.f. says:

    get rid of those enhanced machines. They don’t do anything for secruity. They do a lot for those making and selling them, but that is about it. they are a waste of taxpayer money. They are an invasion of a person’s privacy . The amount of “patting” down which is done would get some one arrested if it were done anywhere but the airport.

    LIke how many people have they actually arrested because they wre actually taking something onto an airplane to destroy it? I would suggest the government be more concerned about tired airline pilots are & fake parts on the jets than the people getting on them.

    It would be much more cost effective to go back to the original walk through metal detectors & wands. Less invasive, faster, more dignity. If the government is concerned about terrorists getting on planes, they should ensure they have trained military personnel at the airports, allow only those actually flying into the airport, and use dogs to sniff for explosives. The other thing they never seem to think about are all the people who fuel & clean the planes.

    Better yet, contract it out to Israel. They seem to have a lock on airport security.

    Many of these security workers, aren’t that secure themselves. If teh American government were actually concerned about safety they might try to have the armed forces staff these positions. It isn’t as if we don’t have any armed forces. They have also been trained to loook out for things such as this.

  60. 60
    Olivia says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

    “Yay! Now I won’t have to be groped at the airport again for the crime of wanting to minimize my exposure to x-rays!”

    The last time I flew, not only did I get blasted with those X-rays, I got the groping as well. Fortunately, I had been to Senor Frog’s the day before and was getting used to it.

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