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back to article Brit firm aims to make airport perv scans obsolete

A British firm is aiming to capitalise on travellers' body issues with a security scanner that does not produce an image, yet can identify a wide range of concealed explosives. Following Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab's failed attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner over Detroit, body scanners are firmly on the security agenda. …

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Anonymous Coward

passive terahertz body scanners

It's worth mentioning that there are *passive* terahertz scanners that don't expose people to any additional radiation of any kind. If there's no good reason for not using passive scanners instead, then all the non-passive technologies should be banned, even if they are slightly cheaper. Exposing people to potentially harmful radiation is not worth it just for security theatre.

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Anonymous Coward

It won't be long before...

Some idiot gets onto a plane with explosives hidden in his ass crack.

Then the obvious response from the security agiencies will be to have everyone infront of full body scanners with their hands down their kecks puling their ass cheeks apart to see if they can see your ringpiece or not.

I find the idea immensley ammusing, but probably less so when they have everyone doing it in order to enter a train or bus station.

Imaging full body scanners are nothing more than a quick way of doing a strip search.

This new tech looks like a way around that, if it works.

Now, lets see how long it takes for the firm to be taken over and swept under the rug by the imaging scanner companies.

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Anonymous Coward

It will be some time

Arse meat tends to absorb a lot of the force. As borne out by numerous failed assassination attempts. Arse bombs are not currently recommended.

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Grenade

Re "explosives hidden in his ass crack."

And this is what is commonly known as a "dirty bomb"?

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Anonymous Coward

lol

that's quiet a funny though (and a very good example of the times in which we live) that the number of people "saved" by terrorism could be vastly outnumbered by the number of people that die due to unexpected effects of exposing hundreds of millions of people to cutting edge scanning technology.

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Headmaster

Tut tut...

If it wasn't for the terrorists there would be no scanners, so it must be the terrorists that are responsible for killing the public with scanner radiation. Do get it right or you will never make a politician.

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Where will it end?

Sooner or later someone is going to propose neutron activation scanning; after all, all explosives seem to contain nitrogen, so if we can detect nitrogen....

Except food nearly always contains proteins, which contain nitrogen. Excuse me sir, you can't take those foodstuffs through security.

People are also made of proteins.

Best of all, supposing there was an explosive that didn't contain any nitrogen ... how about ... triacetone peroxide? That 'Mother of Satan' stuff at the centre of the 2005 bombings and the liquids-on-aeroplanes scare?

So, no neutron activation scanning then, which is probably just as well. But I bet some fool is going to propose it anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Wonderful

So now they'll start sticking the explosives where the sun doesn't shine to get through security at the airport where the sun doesn't shine (Manchester).

Hopefully they'll be able to remember the passwords and how to log on.

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Coat

Terrorhurts scanner?

'nuff said.

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Silver badge

RE: Where will it end?

Actually, PETN isn't nitrogen-based. It also doesn't rely on combustion to perform its magic but rather explosively-rapid decomposition.

And I keep personally thinking of a female suicide bomber concealing the goods in a dildo or vibrator already "well seated". Last I checked, terahertz scanners have trouble going all the way through bodies because of the water content.

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Grenade

Doggy style

What about the good old bomb dog?

Who could ever object to having a german shepherd sniffing your interesting bits?

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Go

Well, I for one...

...Will be wearing undies made entirely from tin-foil for my next few trips, just to see what sort of an impact it has: i.e. Whether the operators are paying attention or not.

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Go

well I for two....

...Will be wearing Elephant Pants (yes that sort of 'trunks') just to see what sort of an impact it has: i.e. Whether the operators are paying attention or not.

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Coat

Let me know..

..when you are going to do this. Always wanted to see the expression of a someone trying a joke at Airport Security..

Mine's the one with the deckchair, beer, and theatre glasses to watch the impending show

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Silver badge

Security measures worked!

I don't get it. There was an attempt to blow up a plane. The attempt was unsuccessful. As far as I'm concerned, the security measures (metal detector for living goods, x-ray for luggage) worked. Yes, he took explosives on board but no, he couldn't bring the necessary ignition widget with him.

If we want to avoid that someone can bring any explosives on board those body scanners won't do the trick since, as other pointed out already, the culprits would find some other creative ways to hide the stuff. (And those air blast explosive detectors or passive scanners won't work either if the explosives have been swallowed.) We would need to x-ray every person - particularly a concern for frequent fliers... Then again, in the end this might reduce green house gas emissions; but that's not the point. If we succeeded in making on-board terrorist attacks impossible then the terrorists will just find other valuable targets such as earthbound public transport (er, they already did that), large building (that as well), football stadiums, etc.

I'm not saying we should make life (or rather suicide death) of terrorists easy but all those security measures won't make our own lives much safer though more troublesome.

EA

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Flame

to Charles 9 - PETN

PETN contains nitrogen: the clue is in the name. Pentaerythritol tetranitrate

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Big Brother

We could save a fortune

Just make everyone fly naked.

We were born that way, and if God had meant us to fly .....

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Def
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Stop

Urgh

The last thing I want to do is sit on a plane to the US surrounded by fat, naked munters.

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Paris Hilton

I do wonder..

..how long it'll be before Mr Terrorist gets spotted by security and decides to do it there and then. Better than being on a place I admit, but it's not going to be pretty.

Paris because she'll blow anywhere.

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They will strike where security is weak

Who remembers the IRA bombing Heathrow with mortars back in 1994? It's only a matter of time before somebody repeats it. I'm surprised it hasn't been so far.

I have no idea how large the perimeters of Heathrow, Gatwick, etc., are, but they are not small. What next? Nobody will be allowed near an airport without having a gun shoved up his nose.

I must be honest and admit a slight sadness that the IRA didn't hit an American airline at the time. It might have shut up all those Americans who spoke up (and still do) for the IRA, who gave them money and support.

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Paris Hilton

To Charles 9

> And I keep personally thinking of a female suicide bomber concealing the goods in a dildo or vibrator already "well seated". .<

Please send pictures.... I think it would be difficult to do this in Playmobil, unless the moderatrix would like to prove me wrong... please?

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Grenade

Think of the children

I've yet to see the suggestion that ne'er do wells will simply recruit (or forcibly use) children to hide explosives. If, as seems, children will not be bodyscanned, they are then the ideal carrier.

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Silver badge

You're done for, mate

Now you will be arrested for providing advice potentially useful to terrorists. Buy your orange jumpsuit while stocks last.

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Silver badge

Re: We could save a fortune

And that still wouldn't stop someone who's swallowed the explosive or stored them inside an orifice such that they wouldn't be seen even when the person is naked.

@John Dee: You assume the explosive would detonate while still inside the orifice, but what if the bomber goes to the lavatory and takes the explosive OUT before setting it off?

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Silver badge

Solution

Change the government to remove the scaremongers, then relax.

The terrorists will explode a bus or a plane or a house every now and again. No security measures will ever prevent that, however, more intrusive security measures increase the number of disgruntled citizens who in turn increase the number of potential terror recruits which in turn increases the probability of a successful terrorist attack.

There is a healthy amount of airport security, which is a step or two lower than what we have now. Beyond that no amount of extra hassle for passengers will ever result in a corresponding decrease in terror act probability.

As far as the prospect of dying on a plane brought down by terrorists - how much worse is that than dying in a plane brought down by a lightning or a microburst or CFIT or a maintenance problem?

Remember the Scarebus that fell from the sky on the way from Brazil? Hardly? Well, that's the answer - people die all the time in various accidents but life goes on.

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Stop

@Vladimir P.

"people die all the time in various accidents but life goes on." Not their lifes - but that's just pedantry.

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Grenade

Pubic or public

Am I the only one who read "pubic security"?

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Other than explosives

wouldn't it be simpler to take other weapons through security? Would a glass knife be detected? Or if it would, why not take a lump of glass and a rock in your carry-on luggage and chip out your own knife while in the toilet?

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Unhappy

We're all doomed

No amount of sci-fi technology is going to stop the wicked disruption of international air travel by a fanatical bunch of Neanderthals and the misery inflicted on thousands of innocent people as a result.

Despite all the money being invested in advanced scanning equipment, it is still not possible to detect the presence of a shop steward from the Unite trade union.

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Silver badge
Alert

All together now ...

... oh, no, radiation am bad and I don't want none of it near me!!

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FAIL

Security Theatre be dammed

I've been abroad twice in the last few months and I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter what restrictions they put on passengers, if you just ignore them and don't look like a terrorist, there's little chance of you being detected.

For example, I left a small bottle of contact lens solution and a scalpel blade in my hand baggage and amazingly, despite the amazing security at Gatwick(!), wasn't detected...

It's obviously so simple to bypass the xray operator as they have become so bored stupid looking at multicoloured shapes on their screens that they fail to see a smaller shape hidden in the mass of metal objects in my bag (laptop & mobile chargers, USB HD, speakers, etc).

Wrap a scalpel in foil to change the outline and you can't tell what it is, then you actually have something more dangerous that the metal cutlery they banned years ago. It's all designed to make you live in fear - then thank the authorities for allowing them to picture you without clothes on.

Privacy and common-sense - they've heard of it!

Anon for obvious reasons...

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Big Brother

Care for a walk?

Buy local, be local, stay local... care for a walk, dear? We'll have to avoid street corners, too many cameras...; are those shoes??

Let us all abandon clothing and enjoy "true freedom"... and drink our bottles of "suspicious liquid" whilst enjoying the sun... that is a sun, isn't it??

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