It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The Transportation Security Administration's X-ray backscatter scanners have been the center of a widespread controversy, following concerns from privacy advocates that they take nearly naked photos of people. The trade-off is improved security, of course. Yet Leon Kaufman and Joseph W. Carlson, two physics professors at the University of California, San Francisco offer a stark conclusion: They can be easily duped, according to a recent paper published in the Journal of Transportation Security.
"It is very likely that a large (15–20 cm in diameter), irregularly-shaped, cm-thick pancake with beveled edges, taped to the abdomen, would be invisible to this technology -- ironically because of its large volume, since it is easily confused with normal anatomy," the researchers said in the paper. Kaufman and Carlson conclude that some types of foreign objects can be reliable detected only if they are packed outside the sides of the body, and some well hidden items would be impossible to see even with the scanner.
Experts have already highlighted that such machines are unable to detect hidden plastic explosives. The authors of the new paper expand on these limitations -- and it couldn’t come at a worse time, as families prepare for holiday travel plans.
Because of the inherent detection methods, raising the level of X-ray exposure and thus the picture clarity wouldn’t help. “Even if exposure were to be increased significantly, normal anatomy would make a dangerous amount of plastic explosive with tapered edges difficult if not impossible to detect.”
"It is very likely that a large (15–20 cm in diameter), irregularly-shaped,
There are so many loopholes in the system.