Fool Body Scanners: Corbett exposed massive TSA security flaw. What now?

TSA Fool Body Scanners: Corbett exposed massive security flaw. What now? (Credit: Jonathan Corbett's YouTube video; screenshot)

TSA Fool Body Scanners: Corbett exposed massive security flaw. What now? (Credit: Jonathan Corbett’s YouTube video; screenshot)

Last week, blogger Jonathan Corbet, who runs the website tsaoutofourpants.wordpress.com, posted a video on YouTube titled “How To Get Anything Through TSA Nude Body Scanners“.

A far cry from a DIY terrorism encouragement video, the successful experiment was designed to highlight to the TSA – and the public – the major security hole behind the already controversial Nude Body Scanners and the agency tasked with our very security & safety.

Arguing that because the outline that is shown when passengers pass through a TSA body scanner is drawn in light colors and placed on a black background, Corbet discovered that the machines will miss a metallic object that is placed on a passenger’s side, because it will blend into the background. He also stated:

“The machines have very frequent false positives, so in order to increase my likelihood of success, I wore a plain shirt (no fancy patterns, smallest buttons possible) and used thin fabric and single-stitched sewing for the pocket, and made sure the test item was 100% metal on the outside — no plastic, rubber, or glass.” 

View the video below:

So what became of this mass public expose?

Instead of  taking immediate measures to patch such a looming hole in aviation screening, the Transportation Security Administration dismissed the video in a blog post of its own.

“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,” TSA blogger Bob Burns wrote in a post last week. “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. It’s one of the best tools available to detect metallic and non-metallic items, such as … you know … things that go boom.” 

The TSA disputed Corbett’s techniques for “beating” its body scanners, noting in its blog post that the X-ray machines are “one layer of our 20 layers of security.”

So I guess that’s it? Jonathan Corbett must be a liar then. There is no way he beat the machines. Whew! Well everybody, lets unpack our anti-terrorism survival kits, breath a sigh of relief and all go home.

Of course, back in the land of common sense, where human safety is worth more than getting egg on the face of an administration, Corbett has responded,

“They can’t ignore this — the mainstream media coverage is just beginning! I’ve been in touch with some of the larger MSM outlets yesterday, and additionally, I’ve been in touch with the offices of several members of Congress.”

Even more shocking was the TSA’s reaction to “strongly caution” the press against reporting on this story, as shown on his blog. Both the media suppression and worthless scanners are more than just a scandal, they’re now creeping into cover-up conspiracy territory.

Another one of the Bush Administration‘s great legacies.

Update (January 2013): TSA announce they’re removing the scanners

Since bringing this to light, followed by the public outcry in protest of security officials getting to see you naked in unreasonable detail just for daring to go on a flight, the TSA have succumbed and decided to remove the expensive scanners. Instead, they will be replacing them with a much more discrete version, as shown in the thumbnail image below:

Image Credit: TSA announcement to the public

Image Credit: TSA announcement to the public

Does this now make you more comfortable to fly and go through these security checks again?

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Categories: Business, Health, Medicine, Politics, Law

Author:Andrew Beato

CEO, Chief Editor and founder of Intentious. Passionate comment enthusiast, amateur philosopher, Quora contributor, audiobook and general knowledge addict.

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