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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ummmm...

    Thermite isn't very dangerous, you can cause a small fire on board at most. If he'd done it with something more dangerous, then that would be a news.

  2. Peter D'Hoye
    Dead Vulture

    Please learn to understand German...

    Some important facts told in the clip:

    1. the normal routine would also include a side scan, not just front/back

    2. the scan is always done without jacket. The pockets of his jacket were floating in the air, not blocking any body heat.

    Also, this is just a thermal measuring system, not really an active scanner that emits radiation to scan through everything.

  3. trydk
    FAIL

    Not the "Child Porn" Scanner

    It looks to me (and from what I could glean from the German conversation) that this scanner is actually a passive infrared scanner and not the milimeter wave ("Child Porn") scanner much talked about.

    If I am right, this scanner works by looking at items blocking your body heat, which makes detection of items in the side pockets (as here) all but impossible without a side scan. And obviously inside your mouth too, which the milimeter scanner cannot do either, btw. The same for items under your wig, in your crotch and under your shoes. ... Do I have to mention ears, nose and anus?

    Passive infrared? Nah!

    Milimeter waves? Why bother?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Doesn't work...

    So what is the f***king point of it. Clearly someone has a vested interest in the order going through.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    "who appears to be pro-scanner"

    Go to the 4:50 mark and you will see that he is David Haskett, a manager of ThruVision the scanner's UK vendor of course.

    He said that in an airport scenario the physicist would have to take his jacket off .. so I guess he'd have to hide the stuff elsewhere like, umm, on his person.

  6. Sly
    FAIL

    are we suprised?

    this isn't Hollywood (Total Recall). Science doesn't work as seamlessly as we would like and producers of new tech always release beta versions these days hoping nobody will notice the non-working parts. Just another example of not doing proper testing before implementation.

  7. Haku
    Coat

    Secutrity Theater

    I keep seeing those two words whenever somene talks about the increased measures to try and stop people blowing up planes, perhaps they should install stages in airports so everyone waiting gets to see the strip show of the people going through security ahead of them?

  8. Dick Kennedy

    What the scanners are really looking for

    Maybe the scanners can't detect combustibles, but they're finding something far more sinister. Check this out:

    http://www.weeklyworldinquisitor.com/scanners-reveal-probes.html

  9. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I suspect ...

    ... that I know what the incendiary is, and I've long wondered why no-one has yet used it (obviously, I'm not going to say what I think), since it gets around the liquid restrictions, and would not show up on any scanner.

    On a different note, is anyone else jealous that the Germans are doing proper TV investigative journalism?

  10. E-man
    Alert

    Body scanner failure

    I first read abou this failure last wednsday shortly after the program was filmed. It was on a major new wire, AP news if I recall. Oddly enough, it was pulled from the wire a short time later and no mention of this was to be found in any other publication. Cheers to the staff at the Regstar for finding it an running with it!

    If a thick, teflon frying pan doesn't stand up to what basically looks like thermite, what chance does the skin of an aircraft have. The scanners are useless, violate child porn laws and ar a massive invasion of privacy.

    How much more of our freedom and civil liberties shall we have to give up in the name of "security"?

    Welcome to the New World Order....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Thermite

    It looks like the physicist had the ingredients for Thermite from the way that the incendiary went up in the frying pan. Not a bomb! But still very dangerous in a plane.

    However the guy also showed how the machines don't seem to actually spot anything except microphones. The english speaking guy said it that in real life the person wouldn't be wearing their jacket and that scans in two directions would be taken - but it still doesn't explain why the stuff strapped to the physicist's leg wasn't spotted.

    As is usual with security - all show and no substance.

  12. Breandan Goodall
    Grenade

    A Waste of Our Time and Our Money

    According to a number of reports on the scanners they are likely to take 30~40 seconds to scan each person, which is a significant increase from the 1~2 seconds it took to pass through the old scanners. If a 100 people (not so uncommon at peak times) people are ahead of you in the security line you'll end up spending the better part of an extra hour waiting, not in a bar or somewhere interesting, but in a queue trying to pass the time playing russian roulette strip poker where you try to guess how many items of clothing the security staff will ask you to remove.

    Oh, we'll also be paying extra in airport fees in order to enjoy the privilege of wasting more of our lives on useless security.

    Come on people, our politicians (both NuLies and NuCons) have exaggerated and made baseless claims about terrorist threats that are never backed up with any kind of detail. We were all smart enough to spot the bullshit behind the 45 min claim, so how come we don't see the bullshit behind the menace of the nappy bomber.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong type of scanner

    Not saying I support the use of body scanners, but this isn't the kind of scanners most folks (including the TSA) are talking about. The video is a low-res thermal scanner instead of a millimeter wave scanner.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get real!

    There are three major reasons for fitting new security equipment and routines. Terrorists incidents are only the excuse.

    The first is the simplest - the political and social power that comes from keeping populations afraid, by potentially criminalising just about everyone.

    The second is to use security theatre to generate even bigger profits for big business, and in the process to line politicians'/civil servants' pockets and/or increase their power.

    The third reason is so that the kind of petty officialdom whose nuisance value used to be limited to telling us "you can't park that there, mate!" now have their self-importance expanded no end while claiming to protect us all from terrorism - as if. What a huge boost to sad minds.

    Security is a very serious matter - no question - but these clowns don't have the answer and won't have it any time soon because our actual safety isn't top of their priorities - they're too busy trying to prevent the last attack.

    There are people around who do fully understand security and its application to public life and travel. These days, they're almost dissidents.

  15. Niall 1

    Image quality

    Every sample image I've seen for full body scanners look like low quality photos with the colours inverted, but the image on that clip is just a useless red blob. So what is the quality of the images that these things show?

  16. Sarah Baucom
    Grenade

    Not the same type of scanner

    That scanner seemed to use infrared or something, not the millimeter wave scan systems airports are using (at least the ones in the US). The millimeter wave scanners can see way more detail, and I'm pretty sure would have detected the items in his pockets (though maybe not the one in his mouth). http://notesfromthebartender.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/rapi_scan_lg.jpg

    1. Apocalypse Later

      Not dangerous?

      I have seen thermite eat right through a steel plate a quarter inch thick. Set it off in an aircraft and there will not only be a fire, but a hole in the fuselage and anything else it encounters on the way.

    2. N2 Silver badge

      Not dangerous?

      Im sure that stuff is used by divers to cut metal underwater, AFAIK it produces oxygen when it burns at around 2000 degrees C & burns through metal like a hot knife through butter.

      Not the sort of stuff you'd let your children play with.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      And in other news

      >the political and social power that comes from keeping populations afraid

      Afhgan elections have just been cancelled due to security risks. Get ready for May 6th, or maybe not.

    4. TimeMaster T
      Flame

      Never underestimate an incindeary

      Thermite will create a stream of molten iron that would melt its way though a planes guts, like right down into the fuel tank that is in the mid section of a 747. Remember a few years back where a 747 blew up because (officially) of a spark in the middle fuel tank?

      Or if could cut through critical electrical/hydraulic lines, or start a fire in the luggage compartment.

      What makes thermite grenades so dangerous isn't the bang they make but what the iron stream does on its way down. One grenade, in the right spot, can destroy or disable some really big machines.

      All that would bee needed is to know WHERE to ignite it on a plan to do the most damage, at the very least it would likely cause a depressurization of the cabin and might even cause the plan to disintegrate mid air. I know of a few mid air break ups that were caused by failures of the pressure cabin.

      Flame, because thermite is HOT!!

  17. Chris 86
    FAIL

    Not quite

    The English speaker was the MD of a body scanner firm. He said in an airport environment the scanee would have had to remove his jacket (which contained the thermite in a pocket), AND there would have been a profile scan - the scanner works by detecting contrasts between the body and concealed objects - the side pocket wasn't on the guy's body from the scanner's perspective so no contrast. He did however say that it couldn't detect anything in the mouth.

    Of course thermite (Iron oxide and aluminium) would have been detected by the metal scanner that everyone has to pass through.

    So the conclusion to draw is that if you can conceal enough thermite in your mouth (whilst retaining the ability to speak) and manage to avoid passing through the metal detectors, you might be able to make a small hole in an aircraft.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    We are lucky so far

    So far the wannabie bombers have been educated in places like the "Not Another Old University in Cambridge" (the same that delivered the climate change stuff). Lots of desire to go to heaven and shag 74 virgins (not surprising if your name is Reid) and lack of elementary abilities and aptitude to design something that works.

    It will be really scary if people from places where they still teach Chemistry, Engineering and Physics start doing bombs and the German example shows this perfectly. It took someone with a clue almost no time at all to prepare a contraption that went through the scanner with flying colours.

  19. ravenviz
    FAIL

    Dogs!

    When will they realise all this technology is fallible and go with dogs instead? And they love sniffing bottoms!

  20. OG

    Typo and some

    "Unarguable. And distressing on a number of different levels, from exploding aircraft to exploding security costs"

    Fixed.

    Anyone with a few brain cells knows these things are useless. They wouldn't have stopped crotchbomber, they wouldn't have stopped 9/11 and if they used them for them for public transport, they wouldn't have stopped 7/7 (probably not good to give them ideas). Begs the question that apart from lining some pockets, what are they good for?

  21. gizmo23

    "exploring aircraft"

    Shouldn't that be "from exploding aircraft to exploring security costs" ?

  22. Tom Knapen
    Thumb Up

    Continental Europe...

    Ah, continental europe, the voice of reason against anglo-saxon madness. Love it.

  23. \\\

    English speaker appearing to be pro scanner.

    Of course he's pro scanner. It's David Haskett, manager of ThruVision.

  24. quartzie
    FAIL

    Passive IR Scanner

    As simple as the demonstration is, the experiment only used a passive Infrared scanner that didn't rotate around the body - allowing concealment of fairly explosive stuff in the guy's pockets, which stood away from the physicist's rotund figure.

    The discussion afterwards elaborated that had the scanner rotated, it would have likely revealed the pocketed items, or anything that didn't let the body heat through. Small items and in-body objects are difficult.

    HOWEVER: the hated body scanners at airports use a decidedly different approach of transmitting milimeter waves, or alternatively, low-powered X-ray (10~0.01nm), creating images or even 3D models (mm wave) with much higher resolution, which are also completely independent of body heat.

    The Reg Failed to take this into account.

    As the techie pointed out, though: no technology is perfect

  25. Andrew Baker

    Suggestion

    Maybe they should buy some dowsing rods instead ?

  26. Lord Elpuss Silver badge
    FAIL

    No system, or person, is perfect

    The poor English-speaking guy was clearly ambushed by the show's producers. He works for the scanner manufacturer (that's why he kept saying "Our product") and was probably informed before the show that the object was to demonstrate the tech.

    So he's a tech demonstrator, not a trained scanner operator - and he was absolutely right that the jacket which contained most of the ingredients would have been taken off in an airport situation because it was outside the scanner boundaries hanging from the fat twat's arms.

    Having said that, three things come to mind.

    1) Whether or not he was aware of the show's objectives, he should have been prepared (and clearly wasn't) so only has himself to blame

    2) The scanners are either ineffective already, or will be shortly when terrorists develop even better techniques of hiding things

    3) Why would the terrorists bother to invent new ways, when they've clearly won already. I mean, even in their wildest and most deranged dreams they couldn't have hoped to have caused the chaos and misery that millions of innocent people already have to endure on a daily basis.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for an El reg competition!

    I call upon El Reg to organise a competion, we need a name for this scanner that sums it up properly.

    I suggest: 'The Pervatron'

  28. Tezfair
    FAIL

    Nacktscanner or napsack scanner?

    What surprised me more, was its a young lad trying to sell / demonstrate a multimillion quid system. I would have thought it would have been more of a boffin / director / old bloke selling the system. It lacks credibility from the start.

    You could see he was out of his depth and doesn't have a knowledge of the system other than pressing the go button.

    Perhaps he should tip it over and look for ied bombs - hang on, someones allegedly made a working machine that does that already...not!!.

  29. Richard Jukes

    Bit unfair...

    Its a bit unfair that the chap was not scanned exact to airport procedures to give an accurate comparison. However I have no doubt the system is an improvement, but how bad will false positives be?

  30. The BigYin

    Who'd a thunk it?

    Labour spunk millions on something that is unecessary, unwanted and that doesn't work.

    One wonders how many members of the Labour party may have an "interest" in the manufacturers of these ridiculous scanners?

    Of course, it is primarily an EU directive that is brining these things in but if Labour had any ball and gave even one shit about us (two shits is just asking too much of these scum) then they would tell the EU where to go.

    It's time we kicked Labour out.

    It's time we quit the EU. A united Europe is great 'n all, but not a united Europe that meets in secrecy and can't even get it's accounts signed off.

  31. Peter Hewitt-Dutton
    FAIL

    Wrong

    These are NOT the scanners we use in the UK, so this could not be less relevant.

    We use X-Ray scanners on which you can see everything the passenger may have strapped to their body.

    I opperated the things for 2 years at Heathrow.

    1. Matt_W

      X-ray scanners

      Isn't all this stuff about the scanners old news?

      I went through Heathrow May 2006 and was "randomly selected" for a scan - one of the full body x-ray scans. (Not sure the specifics) I asked the operator could I see the image (I'm not sure if they'd show you know) but he did show me - in pretty good res. nekkidness - blurred my face and gentleman's area, but I could recognise myself. Pretty cringey - felt a sudden need to go on a diet...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      @No system, or person, is perfect

      "3) Why would the terrorists bother to invent new ways, when they've clearly won already. I mean, even in their wildest and most deranged dreams they couldn't have hoped to have caused the chaos and misery that millions of innocent people already have to endure on a daily basis."

      They don't even need to invent new ways, just explode their bombs in the now very long queues waiting to get through security. In fact it would be way more effective in stopping air travel for quite some time as rather than bringing one plane down, it would stop travel on hundreds if not thousands of planes with worldwide effect.

      Even if they only had something like a firecracker, they would still have caused enough fear to make most people think that a terrorist is round the corner.

      The definition of a terrorist is one who causes terror. It doesn't mean that they have to succeed in bombing something, only in causing fear and terror.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Even so

      If the material had been stuck to the inside of his upper arm then I think an IR type scanner would be unlikely to see it unless they had an upwards view. And that is what will be needed for millimetre wave scanners to find things hidden in the crotch region.

    4. TeeCee Gold badge
      Happy

      Good idea!

      May I suggest "KnackerVision"?

      Encompasses both who'll be using it and what they'll be using it for....

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Anglo-Saxon

      An anachronistic term put about by the French (or should that be Normans?) in their tedious mission to link the UK and the USA in the minds of people from other countries, and thus tar us with the same brush and get everyone on-side in their even more tedious mission to convince the world that they really should have won the nasty game of imperialism, and "Ma mère it isn't fair, why does everybody speak English instead of French?"

      The Anglo Saxons died out a long time ago, I am English, I have no bronze jewellery and I've never worn a stetson.

      Not that it bothers me, or touches any nerves ;)

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Semantics

      Wasn't this filmed by Germans? Thereby making them as Anglo-Saxon as the English?

    7. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      So you would have prefered some old guy?

      Who perhaps knew even less of the tech ?

      Idiot.

      The only credibility lost is yours for such out dated opinions.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      "... love sniffing bottoms!"

      The problem is, it is the PEOPLE DOING THE SCANNING that wouldn't get to "Let the Dachshund out", so to speak. They don't want the dogs to have all the fun!

    9. 1of10

      X-Ray

      So let me guess... medical X-Ray is bad... but looks like airport X-Ray are good...

      Just let me tell NHS to move their hospital X-Ray departments to the airports since yours X-Ray might cause less damage to who gets scanned or to who works within X-Ray area.

      No X-Ray thanks!

      so what would be next? heavy sedatives?

      So that all passangers sleep before boarding and only wake up after landing? (ooops is better not say this laudly otherwise UK.GOV adopts this idea)

  32. Tom 7 Silver badge

    @ummmm

    A smail fire with thermite? Thats the stuff that would burn through the skin, cause explosive decompression and then possibly tear the plane apart. Unless they were smart and used it to burn through a structural bulkhead but that would require reading up before they got on the plane and terrorists, like government ministers dont bother with research do they?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even if he had been scanned to airport regs

    Simply strapping the thermite containers to his inner thighs (of all places) would have concealed them most effectively from the through-vision apparatus. From the front, they'd hardly have shown (too cool) and from the side, his legs would've hidden them.

    As the video reported, items inside body cavities can't be detected with ThruVision and items at body temperature can't be detected (so the physicist must've been wearing his leg-detonator for long enough to reach equilibrium).

    Not a good advert for ThruVision, all told.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What Fun!

    Marvellous to see a marketing man squirm!

    Not fair! The explosives were in the wrong pocket!

    Wouldn't have been so much fun if the plane had crashed, though.

  35. Lost in a maze of twisty messages, all alike.
    FAIL

    Dear moderatrix

    Told you so ....

  36. barth

    if she's a bomb

    i'm sure not everyone will be blind to her parts

  37. Tony Hoyle

    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?

  38. Charles 9 Silver badge

    @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.

  39. Richard Porter
    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.

  40. Magellan

    "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.

  41. Juiceman
    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.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  43. Martin Nicholls Silver badge
    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.

  44. Winkypop Silver badge
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    2. david wilson

      @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.

    3. noboard
      Thumb Up

      Why don't...

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

    4. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
      Boffin

      However, that woudl not pick up the ingredients of thermite

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

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
        Unhappy

        They will ...

        ... just you wait.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    6. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      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!

    7. Captain Thyratron

      Actually...

      ...no, you wouldn't get "explosive decompression". You'd get a slow, piddling leak. de Havilland Comets aren't very popular anymore (and those failed because the plane fairly ripped open along a badly fatigued joint after several compression/decompression cycles--not because a hole opened up in a panel of sheetmetal that doesn't bear any load).

  45. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Sparkford, Somerset?

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

  46. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Phil 54
      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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  47. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    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

  48. DrXym 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.

  49. 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.

    1. Paul was already taken
      Thumb Up

      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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  50. Tim Parker
    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' ?

  51. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    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.

  52. Mos Eisley Spaceport
    Joke

    Todger shaped explosives?

    My sir, what a corker you have there!

  53. Isendel Steel
    Flame

    Full-body scanner obscured by body mass

    so this will work on skinny terrorists ?

  54. Schultz
    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.

  55. WizGnome
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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).

  56. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. david wilson

      @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.

  58. 1of10

    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 :)

  59. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    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.

    1. david wilson

      @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.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Beware Bavarians

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

  61. gimbal
    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?

  62. Carter Cole
    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

  63. bruceld

    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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