Full Body Scanners, the Ineffective Way to Fight Terrorism

The United States Transportation Security Administration recently announced its intention of introducing up to 150 new full body scanners in airports. There’s been a lot of backlash from travelers and taxpayers regarding potential health concerns, costs, and time delays.  In light of this, there’s one other big question that needs answered. How effective will these machines be at eliminating the threat of terrorism on U.S. planes?

Do They Work?

Full body scanners either use x-rays or radio waves to view the first layer right under the clothes. Unlike, medical imaging instruments, they’re not designed to penetrate the skin. Do they do what they’re supposed to? The answer is yes. Unlike a metal detector, the scan can expose things hidden directly under clothes. 

The bigger question is whether it’s effective or not in terms of scanning for contraband? The problem is, the scan does not penetrate enough to be able to view body cavities and/or orifices. Even a large fold of fat on an obese person can be a place to hide objects from the device .Storing items in such places has been a long time favorite of drug smugglers. Don’t expect that to change with this new initiative and look for terrorists to take up the practice.

 Too Little

The full body scan simply will not deter the most dangerous terrorists.  Those groups that are well organized will have no problems getting around a simple system like this. Over time these scanners are likely to thwart a few threats of the mentally unstable variety but it’s likely that our most serious threats will see them as a minor obstacle in their path. 

Are there alternatives?

Some feel that the TSA may be jumping the gun by putting all of its money into body scanners. Currently, there are two other alternatives that have some merit. The TSA has tinkered with the “puffer” and the “guardian”. Both use chemicals to see if there are explosive devices on a person. The guardian can even detect substances in hard to monitor places like shoes. Of course, these devices have their own weaknesses, mostly around the maintenance of the machines.  Still, the TSA might want to save its money and see if either one is a viable option once improvements are made.

In conclusion one would find it very difficult to say that full body scanners will actually deter or prevent any terrorist attacks. For it to work a terrorist would have to be extremely illogical in his or her thought pattern to think that a weapon or bomb could be smuggled right under their clothes.  It’s highly unlikely that the initiative will make any real dent in serious terrorist activities. As such, a better path would probably be to spend the funds on more worthwhile efforts such as intelligence.

 

 

Related News Articles

Research and Markets: Full-Body Scanner Trends - Global Market Overview 2014-2017
Thu, 03 Apr 2014 11:23:00 -0700
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Full-Body Scanner Trends" report to their offering.

Global Commercial Airports Body Scanners Market
Mon, 24 Mar 2014 14:00:00 -0700
DUBLIN, March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/zb2kpd/global_commercial ) has announced the addition of the "Global Commercial Airports Body ...

TSA wants armed security at airport checkpoints
Wed, 26 Mar 2014 14:32:09 -0700
Following last year’s LAX terminal shooting that saw a TSA agent killed, the airport security agency lobbies Congress for gun-toting guards

Patented research remotely detects nitrogen-rich explosives
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:58:23 -0700
A Kansas State University engineer has developed a patented technique that improves military security and remotely detects improvised explosive devices. The same technique could help police during drug searches.

Photo Release -- 3D Systems Upgrades Its Popular Sense(TM) Consumer 3D Scanner With New Features and Software for Mac ...
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 06:00:00 -0700
ROCK HILL, S.C. -- 3D Systems today announced the immediate availability of the Sense(TM) 3D scanner for Mac and feature upgrades available with Sense software V1.1. The Sense is the first 3D scanner designed ...

3D Scanner offers features for Mac users.
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 05:53:55 -0700
Offering flexible scan size for capturing large and small objects, Sense™ 3D Scanner with Sense v1.1 software includes optimized scan tracking and stability as well as auto-enhance that corrects brightness and color with one click. Automatic object recognition extracts precise targets from busy backgrounds, scanning only object user wants. User interface provides automated zoom, track ...

SWAT standoff in Mira Mesa ends peacefully
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 18:17:06 -0700
Police and SWAT officers surrounded the home after an 18-year-old student threatened her parents with a knife.

Scanner on Specialty Retail Equities -- Research on Aeropostale, Body Central, Francesca's Holdings, and Men's Wearhouse
Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:45:25 -0700
LONDON, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, April 09, 2014, the NASDAQ Composite ended at 4,183.90, up 1.72%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.11% to 16,437.18, and the S&P 500 closed at 1,872.18, up 1.09%. The gains were broad based as eight out of 10 sectors...

iPad Air 2 release date specs: iPad Air 2 to release before next iPad Mini; thinner body but not so easy to repair
Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:48:54 -0700
Slow sales of the iPad Mini may be prompting Apple to push full steam ahead with the iPad Air and bring it out at an earlier release date.

Samsung Galaxy S5 review: Improved phone still a step behind other Android models
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 04:07:38 -0700
With the Galaxy S5, Samsung has pulled back the reins. The phone maker shifted its focus to refining the features that were already present in predecessors like the Galaxy S4 rather than stuffing more into an increasingly wider polymer body. Read the full review of the Galaxy S5 at Greenbot.com. The Galaxy S5 is just a bit wider than its predecessor and the dimpled backing has a bit of grip to ...

Los Angeles International LAX | Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International ATL | Chicago O'Hare International ORD | Dallas/Fort Worth International DFW | Denver International Airport DEN | Las Vegas McCarran International LAS | John F. Kennedy International Airport JFK | Phoenix Sky Harbor International PHX | Houston George Bush Intercontinental IAH | Newark Liberty International EWR | Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County DTW | Minneapolis-Saint Paul International MSP | Orlando International MCO | San Francisco International SFO | Miami International MIA | Philadelphia International PHL | Charlotte/Douglas International CLT | Seattle-Tacoma International SEA | Boston Logan International BOS | New York City LaGuardia LGA | Washington Dulles International IAD | Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall BWI | Salt Lake City International SLC | Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International FLL | Honolulu International HNL | Tampa International TPA | Ronald Reagan Washington National DCA | Chicago Midway International MDW | San Diego International SAN | Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International CVG | Oakland International OAK | Lambert-St. Louis International STL | Portland International PDX | Memphis International MEM | Kansas City International MCI | Cleveland Hopkins International CLE | San Jose International SJC | Sacramento International SMF | Pittsburgh International PIT | Nashville International BNA | Orange County John Wayne Airport SNA | Raleigh-Durham International RDU | Houston William P. Hobby Airport HOU | Indianapolis International IND | Austin-Bergstrom International AUS | San Antonio International SAT | Fort Myers Southwest Florida International RSW | Milwaukee General Mitchell International MKE | Dallas Love Field DAL | Palm Beach International PBI | Hartford - Springfield Bradley International BDL | LA/Ontario International ONT | Port Columbus International CMH | Albuquerque International ABQ | Louis Armstrong New Orleans International MSY | Kahului Airport OGG | Jacksonville International JAX | Burbank Bob Hope Airport BUR | Providence Theodore Francis Green Airport PVD | Reno-Tahoe International RNO | Ted Stevens Anchorage International ANC | Tucson International TUS | Omaha Eppley Airfield OMA | Manchester-Boston Regional MHT | Norfolk International ORF | Louisville International SDF | Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport OKC | El Paso International ELP | Boise Airport BOI | Richmond International RIC | Spokane International GEG | Tulsa International TUL | Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International BHM | Kona International KOA | Albany International ALB | Greater Rochester International ROC | Agana Antonio B. Won Pat International GUM | Long Beach Airport LGB | Lihue Airport LIH | Dayton International DAY | Little Rock National LIT | Islip Long Island MacArthur Airport ISP | Syracuse Hancock International SYR | Greensboro Piedmont Triad International GSO | Grand Rapids Gerald R. Ford International GRR | Colorado Springs Airport COS | Savannah/Hilton Head International SAV | Des Moines International DSM | Charleston International CHS | Orlando Sanford International SFB | Springfield-Branson National SGF | Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport TYS | Pensacola Regional Airport PNS | Madison Dane County Regional Airport MSN | Palm Springs International PSP | Greenville-Spartanburg International GSP | Jackson-Evers International JAN | Huntsville International HSV | Wichita Mid-Continent Airport ICT | Buffalo Niagara International BUF