back to article Full-body scanner blind to bomb parts

Most of the uproar over full-body scanners has focused on privacy concerns. There's one larger question, however, that hasn't received much scrutiny by the chattering classes: do the damnable things work? One German TV station says "Nein." By way of Americablog comes a video of a man easily concealing the makings of high- …

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Fail

If it takes 30-40 seconds per person to get through these scanners you'll create a huge queue waiting to get through.

How long before the terr'sts work out that it's a lot easier to blow yourself up in the queue before the security checks than bother going through all that to go on the plane?

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Anonymous Coward

Or indeed

Inside the scanner. Bodies can be cleared away but remove a scanner or two and you're going to casue major trouble.

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@Peter Hewitt-Dutton

What about things that may be IN their body? Think something concealed in a dildo and put to use while on the move...or perhaps drugs or other stuff stuffed "where the sun don't shine"? Decency's sake prevents any casual inspection for the stuff, and if no tech exists that can detect things IN a body, guess where the dangerous stuff will be hidden next.

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Stop

The authorities are always trying to prevent the last attack, not the next one.

So the guy would have had to take his jacket off. That would have gone through the x-ray scanner, not the metal detector.

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"Puffer" Machines much better option

A Trace Portal Machine (aka "Puffer Machine") probably would have easily detected the powdered PETN in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab underpants. These puffer machines are where aviation security and safety efforts should be focused.

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Boffin

However, that woudl not pick up the ingredients of thermite

which are powedered iron oxide (rust) and aluminium (like they make saucepans from).

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Grenade

Regardless

The man sneaking chemicals through the scanner was fat enough to hide a pound or two of high explosives in his fat rolls. Neither infrared (shown here) nor mm-wave technology (the current panacea) would catch that.

Now imagine if someone was obsessed enough to have the explosives sewn into their body.

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Paris Hilton

All The Objectors

Many of the whinges that are made about the use of this technology come down to two things. First, the additional cost of the scanners. Second, the inconvenience of your air trip being delayed whilst you show off your todger.

So why not come up with a solution like this? Give people who are flying a choice. They can take the slow boat to China which is going to require the gung-ho application of expensive devices to check for explosives etc. Or the option to go on the airplane which hasn't had the checks made.

This choice means that the flyer can toss the dice, or not. Let the whingebags decide.

And Paris because I'd like to give her the once-over check for concealed weaponry. I also think that she might be the airman's daughter as I heard that she keeps her cockpit clean.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm?

Your reasoning seems flawed. The point of the story is that the checks don't work, so we are being delayed for no reason at all. In safety terms there would be no difference between the checked plane and the unchecked plane. As a terror target the checked plane is much juicier than it's unchecked sister since blowing up a plane that the public believe had been checked would have more impact.

So you sit there with your smug false sese of security, the rest of us will continue to campaign for our taxes to be spent on something useful rather than a smoke screen designed to fool the public into believing our lords and masters are doing something useful.

Or you could try reading the article again.

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Thumb Up

Quite right ...

... I'd take the "high"-risk option any day of the week, since I'm brave enough to use stairs, which kill more people a year than aeroplane attacks. You see, I can make a reasoned decision based on evidence, not emotion, therefore I am not a "whingebag" but a fully evolved human being!

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IT Angle

Can we make title optional or what...

"Thermite isn't very dangerous, you can cause a small fire on board at most"

If you light it in the right place it would be crazy-dangerous on an aircraft.. Stuff will burn through anything and you can make it in seconds - though you wouldn't even get through a standard metal detector with it let alone anything else.

These scanners aren't the ones they're trying to put in airports here though. These look like cheap knockoffs, though even the ones we're rolling out supposedly would't have caught the christmas bomber guy.

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@Martin Nicholls

>>"If you light it in the right place it would be crazy-dangerous on an aircraft."

If you knew exactly where to place it, and could get it there and keep it there while it burned, you might be able to damage some control lines, though I thought there was often redundancy in such systems?

However, if it just burnt a hole through the aircraft, would *that* actually be likely to bring it down? I remember the Hawaiian airliner where half the roof tore off, and that still carried on flying.

Also, you'd still need to be able to place and ignite it without arousing suspicion, which might be difficult these days.

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Joke

Web 2.0 the images

Outsource the airport security function to the hive-mind.

People across the world could log in, view the passenger images in real-time and decide "hot or not"

Hot being: wired, tooled up, ugly, stupid, ... aka a terrorist!

If the majority of users vote NO to the person travelling, the hapless traveler falls through a trap door and is shipped off to the re-education camp.

Link it to FailBook and Twatter and there you have it.

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Why don't...

...our sometimes elected officials come up with genius ideas like this?

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Unhappy

They will ...

... just you wait.

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FAIL

Sparkford, Somerset?

I hope they are not sold from some small office in Somerset? Dousing scanners - They all work via static electricity!

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Stop

Thermite shermite!

This is rather silly considering to light Thermite you need something like a red magnesium strip which can only be lit with a blowtorch... so while it may be easy to sneak some thermite and maybe even the magnesium strip onto the plane there is highly unlikely you would be able to get a blowtorch on-board without it being noticed.

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Flame

I beg to differ...

You can light a strip of magnesium with a standard bic lighter, and if the magnsesium is in powder or granular form, with a match. I speak from experience (non-terrorist related). Magnesium is sometimes used in backpacking survival kits because you can use it to light a fire in even the worst conditions.

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Boffin

Thermite shermite!

Actually it is quiet easy, if you studied chemistry to a level where you understand the thermite reaction you will probably also have come across another mix of chemicals which can easily be packaged into a tiny 'pill' type package and would easily light thermite with nothing more than a pp3 battery... or for that matter a few drops of glycerol.

additionally there are products that should be banned from planes that are not.... for example the old style one shot flash cubes for older cameras, since they burn magniesium they could light your thermite's fuse..

As for thermite, if they use the standard metal detecting arch (as well) I'm sure that much iron will trigger the alarm.

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Airbus 380 maximum 853 passengers how many scanners?

Quite a lot methinks.

You'd think Broon had never heard ot he law of diminishing returns. But then to a politician the only interesting such return is the fall in their majority.

To be fair as others have pointed out this is an IR passive scanner. I'm not sure who would be dumb enough to install this type.

However ther

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Silver badge

Too bad he didn't strip at the end...

... to reveal he was wearing a fat suit made entirely of explosives. That would have been awesome.

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JMB

Full-body scanner blind to bomb parts

How long before they decide that monitored CCTV cameras are needed in aircraft and airport toilets because that is the one place that someone can assemble their bomb without being seen.

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Not just a camera in the toilet

but an ejection system to remove the terrorist threat without endangering the other passengers. A modified Jobby Wheecher should do the trick.

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Joke

Toilets?

They're going to do away with toilets firstly for security reasons and secondly so they can pack in more passengers. From that point onwards we'll all be expected to wear bags or hold it in for eight hours or more.

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Headmaster

Unarguable ?

> "No system is perfect."

>

> Unarguable. And distressing on a number of different levels, from exploding aircraft

> to exploding security costs

Hmmm - in other words you believe that some or all systems are perfect ?... perhaps you meant 'inarguable' ?

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Not the point

The scanners need not work any better than the current metal detectors - what matters is that they are faster and you don't have to take off your belt, watch, shoes and now probably underpants while going through it.

As far as terrists are concerned - if they want to blow you up, eventually they will.

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Joke

Todger shaped explosives?

My sir, what a corker you have there!

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Flame

Full-body scanner obscured by body mass

so this will work on skinny terrorists ?

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Go

Re: Thermite shermite!

So that's why he also brought a small ignition charge along (the thing he pulled out of his mouth).

I still vote for flying naked, it's the only way to win the war on terror and prudishness.

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WTF?

Why would planes be a terrorist target?

Why all the fuss about a terrorist threat to blow up a plane anyway. Hardly any planes have been terrorist bombing attacks - ever. a few hijackings in the past maybe, but cockpit security has increased since then.

Most attacks have been on buildings and public transport - for which there is very little security. Surely a packed football stadium or commuter train would make a much easier target.

if a terrorist wanted to blow up a plane I am sure the would succeed whatever security measures were in force.

So this is just another excuse to have more security measures which create a feeling of fear in the traveller, so the government can exercise control over the population, and make more money for the security companies.

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Anonymous Coward

@WizGnome

>Why all the fuss about a terrorist threat to blow up a plane

It's got to do with psychological manipulation and brain washing techniques. When you go to a football match, shopping centre, cinema or whatever there is no expected level of danger. However, when flying there is always a degree of fear that the plane may fall out of the sky. For some, this level is low but, for the majority it is quite high. By emphasising the possiblity of something happening in a situation most people are uncomfortable with heightens their fears and turns a perceived possibilty into an absolute certainty thereby pushing them over the edge of reasoning and into the realm of hysteria. Once this is acheived you just pull the string and they follow, no thinkg required nor allowed.

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Black Helicopters

@Chris W

And, so, in order to calm those fears of flying, the government starts flapping around like a wet hen, installs scanners which require a massive invasion of privacy to (not) work, and raises the threat level to "highly likely". Apparently they don't understand the difference between "likely" and (relatively high) "likelihood".

Does anyone remember what it was like when we had *real* terrorists? You know, the IRA blowing shit up on a semi-regular basis, rather than the al-qaeda clown squad setting fire to their own clothing?

Keep calm and carry on (your carry-on bags).

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Troll

Simples

If you want to hurt world wide aviation, close Heathrow, Newark etc. , cause yet more panic in the chattering classes and drive the media into 'Special' frenzy just explode when you get to the scanner. That fat suit made of C6 with the screws packed around it should send a few more airlines spiralling into Chapter 11. Or we all learn to accept more people die at the wheel of their own automobiles and terrorists aint so frightening if you point and laugh ...or was that flashers? Meerkat icon please.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC

>so, in order to calm those fears of flying

Er, no. The government installs scanners and a employs a number of other methods to assuage the publics fears and give the impression that they know how to handle terrorist threats. Once so comforted they can then use this a foot in the door to roll out even more intrusive surveillance programs under the guise of the government knows best and is working to protect your safety.

As for the IRA question, I lived in London during the height of the IRA activity so can personally say that I do remember what it was like.

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@Chris W

>>"Once so comforted they can then use this a foot in the door to roll out even more intrusive surveillance programs under the guise of the government knows best and is working to protect your safety."

Possibly, but then there already *are* pain-in-the-arse security measures at airports.

I'm wondering what other kinds of intrusive surveillance would actually be made significantly easier (or even *any* easier) to introduce as a result of airports having walk-through scanners, given what airports already do.

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buy 1 get 2 not that free

Thanks to the Germans, it seems that these scanners don't work at all... Of course no system is perfect but why then wasting millions on an imperfect system which won't stop simple thing...

If it can't detect flammable liquids neither other substances, nor the format of objects that contain such substances, then what’s its purpose?

But of course for UK.GOV, this scanner is a panacea and all that money which UK.GOV don't have, will be wasted in such scanners that "aren't perfect"... then wannabe Mr Beenlads will carry on transporting undetected explosives or flamable liquids while we all get toasted and our nice "bio-metric photo scans" photos get exposed in some pfrono-site on the internet... this is what is called a good deal... buy one and get two not that free.

but of course nothing is perfect :)

I just wonder who from UK.GOV purchases these scanners have ever tested them properly or would be like the bomb-detector hand-scanner that doesn’t work but was purchased anyway for the sake of that it might work one day outside the shop detectors :)

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@1of10

>>"Thanks to the Germans, it seems that these scanners don't work at all..."

Emphasis on the *'these'*.

As has been pointed out many times already, the scanner in question isn't the only kind of scanner, and doesn't seem to be the kind that current interest/money is focussed on.

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In the words of former flight test engineer

Expecting *perfect* safety is for people with out the balls to live in the real world.

Expensive, ineffective and unneccesary.

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Pint

Beware Bavarians

bearing gifts. Doesn't sound right somehow, but overweight Bavarians are no lighthearted matter. Their beer is good, though.

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Welcome

Save yourself the wait

Get a private pilot's license. Rent a plane - not an airliner - and fly yourself - just a thought.

Theoretically, if private piloting was more popular, it would also be more affordable.

As far as making any sort of a lemming-like rush on security systems, I'd like to think that continued scrutiny of the systems will be good. Indeed, no system is perfect, and if a system is that flawed, we sure shouldn't waste our time giving ourselves a false sense of security, with it -- and wasting more government tax revenues, t'boot -- would you agree?

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Flame

thats thermite

it produces molten iron that could burn through an engine block

aluminium and iron oxide (rust)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermite

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Thermite/Thermate

Thermite/Thermate is metal, so therefore it would be detected by metal detectors.

It also has a unique signature that bomb sniffing dogs can detect, as would "puffer" machines.

My money is on terrorist "fat suits" which the full body scanner can be fooled. Body cavity concealment is an even more viable option. The last Batman movie gave a good idea; surgical implantation. The bad guys are always thinking of new ways of thwarting security efforts.

I guess full body x-rays, sniffer dogs and "puffer" machines are the best way to go then. X-rays are harmful if overused, and can damage DNA in everyone and are extremely harmful to pregnant women and children. Cancer anyone?

I think the main reason why the bad guys target the airliners is because if the airlines went out of business it could cause a multi-billion dollar collapse of the world economy. It would also cause such a disruption in world travel and it would affect business.

Oh man. It just gets worse and worse. I do like the idea of having ones on pilot license and private plane. *sigh*

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