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Transportation Security Technology

The Sensible Body Scan Alternative 354

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-the-bus dept.
An anonymous reader sends in a CNN article that looks at airport security from more reasonable point of view, suggesting that looking for every last micro-gram of potentially explosive material is a waste of time, since very small quantities of explosives are unlikely to significantly damage a plane. The author also recommends incorporating parts of the Israeli method of securing airplanes — look for the bomber, not the tools. Quoting: "Clearly everything should be done to prevent explosives getting on board an aircraft in quantities sufficient to cause structural failure and bring the plane down. But is it worth chasing lesser quantities that would result in zero or minimal damage? The enhanced pat-down that some find so offensive is designed to search for these small amounts. It often ends with a swab being taken to test for explosive residues. Technology does have a role to play, but imaging is not the solution. Operator fatigue sets in after short periods of time staring at computer images. That's why there are reports that contraband items have been smuggled through X-ray units used to scan carry-on bags. The aim should be to detect high explosive in quantities that are sufficient to cause significant damage. We don't need a machine that takes pictures of the human body. It makes more sense to develop a detector that clearly discriminates between high explosives and human tissue or water."
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The Sensible Body Scan Alternative

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  • by rbanzai (596355) on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:37PM (#34351988)

    The goal is to make money for government contractors and politcians, not enhance safety. Inefficient, ineffective solutions produce much more profit for government contractors and the politicians that support them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Does anyone else sense something strange is going on with the apparently spontaneous revolt against the TSA? This past week, the media turned an "ordinary guy," 31-year-old Californian John Tyner, who blogs under the pseudonym "Johnny Edge," into a national hero after he posted a cell phone video of himself defending his liberty against the evil government oppressors in charge of airport security.

      So far, all we know about "ordinary guy" John Tyner III, the freedom fighter who took on the TSA agents, is that

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Oh, come on ... that post is longer than a line at the airport. I don't have time to read a post that's longer than the actual story. I opted out of reading it, felt myself up and moved on to the next post.
      • Does anyone else sense something strange is going on with the apparently spontaneous revolt against the TSA?

        No.

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:19PM (#34352336)

        So let's say it is a setup, what is the problem with that?

        Rosa Parks did not randomly happen upon a bus, there is a long tradition of using the predictable actions of those in authority to get public support for your cause.

      • by drunkennewfiemidget (712572) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:29PM (#34352440) Homepage

        OK, lets say everything you just typed is true.

        Who cares?

        The fact of the matter remains your rights as Americans are being trampled all over, and you're being treated like criminals regardless of whether you are one or not.

        And your world image is suffering (again) because of it. And your tourism industry is no doubt feeling the effects of it, too.

        Whether they're Libertarian, Democrats, or Republicans shouldn't matter. What the TSA is doing is wrong, and what you just typed is completely fucking irrelevant.

      • by glebovitz (202712) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:51PM (#34352674) Journal

        I dunno. I'm not a libertarian and I think the TSA search policy is misguided, intrusive, and fucked up.

      • by gambino21 (809810) on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:19PM (#34352932)
        You should at least put a link to the source when you copy and paste a large section of someone else's article [thenation.com]. I won't bother to post a point by point refutation of this article because someone else already did [salon.com].
      • by BlueStrat (756137) on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:30PM (#34353048)

        According to the Union-Tribune, when asked if the TSA was set up by Tyner, the local administrator coyly replied, "I don't know that it was an actual set up--but we are concerned that this passenger did have his recording [on] prior to entering the checkpoint so there is some concern that it was an intentional behavior on his part."

        The TSA was set up just like the thousands of convenience store robbers are victimized by store owners having the audacity to have surveillance cameras running before the robbers walked into the premises to perpetrate a stick-up.

        Just like the set-ups of cops videoed beating handcuffed suspects.

        It's getting to where an authoritarian government goon can't even publicly strip a WW2 wounded vet or traumatize an autistic child without worrying about being "set up" by outraged bystanders recording the abuse.

        Thank goodness we have Progressives from both parties in control of the government to protect us! I know Obama will be appearing on nationwide TV any second now to announce he's ordered the insanity to stop.

        Any second now.

        Really.

        Just any moment.

        Stay tuned!

        Strat

    • by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:45PM (#34352028)

      It's more than just the profit motive here, too. We can't racially profile in the US because thats racism, and that's not allowed. Additionally, we check for tiny quantities of explosives because where there's smoke, there's fire. That's how this works. It's virtually impossible to conceal explosives inside something without getting at least traces of dust on the outside, and so far that theory has actually managed to catch the few people who have been caught.

      Whoever wrote this is an idiot. They're on the right side of the debate, but their maddeningly short-sighted arguments are damaging their position.

      Grandma Mable gets scanned because the TSA isn't racist. My PS3 gets scanned because it'd be a great place to hide a bomb.

      If they want a good argument, look on here a few days ago when someone argued that the security checks cost more lives than they save due to displaced travelers being pushed off airplanes and onto the roads. That's a solid viewpoint.

      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:58PM (#34352154)

        It's virtually impossible to conceal explosives inside something without getting at least traces of dust on the outside, and so far that theory has actually managed to catch the few people who have been caught.

        Who's been caught by the TSA?

        Not a single terrorist has EVER been caught by the TSA while trying to board a plane.

        And if they thought your can of Coke was really a threat, then why don't they treat you like a threat when they find it? Instead they just demand that you throw the POTENTIAL LIQUID EXPLOSIVE into a garbage can next to them.

        It is 100% bullshit.

        • I didn't say the TSA caught anyone. I just said that that method has worked, which it has.
          • I didn't say the TSA caught anyone. I just said that that method has worked, which it has.

            So the method that the TSA uses works because the TSA hasn't caught anyone by using that method.

            But people are caught.
            But not by the TSA.

            Wanna buy a rock that prevents crocodile attacks?

            • Johnny builds a fence to eliminate his terrible Coyote problem. All his Coyotes are gone.

              The TSA has a fence too, and no Coyotes. Can we rule out the fence as preventing the Coyotes?

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Sir_Lewk (967686)

                khasim has a rock that repels crocodile. khasim has not been attacked by crocodiles.

                You do not have this rock!

                I strongly advise that you purchase a crocodile repelling rock from him, as you apparently cannot rule out the rock as preventing the crocodile attacks.

              • The TSA has a fence too, and no Coyotes. Can we rule out the fence as preventing the Coyotes?

                Seems that the TSA does have "coyotes" so yes, we can rule out the fence as preventing them.

                Particularly since, as I've stated before, the TSA is not catching ANY terrorists. Not a single one.

                Now, you seem to be arguing that this is because the TSA is so effective that the terrorists just don't try any more.

                But that is contradicted by the facts. The shoe bomber.

                So your "logic" is that the terrorists don't even try e

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            No it does not, my anti-terrorist rock is what is stopping the evil-doers.

            Please prove otherwise.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by element-o.p. (939033)
            If TSA hasn't caught anyone, how can you say that the method has worked? You can't. You can't point to a cost/benefit analysis or privacy impact analysis because TSA hasn't performed either of them. [iwilloptout.org] Furthermore, you can't even argue that TSA has prevented other terrorists from trying to hijack or blow up an airplane because there have been at least two other attempts since 9/11: the Underwear Bomber and the Shoe Bomber (google them). TSA didn't stop them -- other passengers and the flight attendants did
        • by 0123456 (636235)

          And if they thought your can of Coke was really a threat, then why don't they treat you like a threat when they find it? Instead they just demand that you throw the POTENTIAL LIQUID EXPLOSIVE into a garbage can next to them.

          Well, duh. If the garbage can explodes when they throw your Coke into it then they know it was a bomb, otherwise you're free to go.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by bennomatic (691188)

            And if they thought your can of Coke was really a threat, then why don't they treat you like a threat when they find it? Instead they just demand that you throw the POTENTIAL LIQUID EXPLOSIVE into a garbage can next to them.

            Well, duh. If the garbage can explodes when they throw your Coke into it then they know it was a bomb, otherwise you're free to go.

            No, if the garbage can explodes when they throw your Coke into it, that just means that the last guy threw pop rocks in it. Duh indeed.

        • While the ban of liquids is stupid and pointless, the fact that you Coke can isn't treated like a bomb is a very poor argument against it. The idea is that if the TSA is consistent about not allowing any liquids through the checkpoints then the liquids people have with them won't be explosives because no one will bother trying to sneak liquid explosives onto the planes.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            I hate to be the one to bring you this information so late in your life, but the human body has several areas that are used primarily for the storage of liquid. The TSA so far is not checking any of those.

            • That's why they've introduced the body scanners. Please try to keep up, here!
              • by h4rr4r (612664)

                Those do not search the areas I am talking about. X-rays are never going to show you if what is in my bladder is urine or a liquid explosive with similar density.

      • by Moryath (553296) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:06PM (#34352228)

        Grandma Mable gets scanned because the TSA isn't racist

        Grandma Mable gets probed and pulled aside for a "random bag check" because people like you are idiots and too damn stupid to understand the idea of focusing resources where they will do the most good.

        The guy below says he is "not comfortable" with the government keeping "tabs" on citizens. I guess he's never applied for any job that required a real background check, where agents will actually go and interview friends, neighbors, past employers, etc. And I'm sure you and he both don't understand the level of infiltration and front-organization setups that go on in the incestuous relationship between US mosques, terrorist front groups (CAIR was founded by two Hamas members, "Islamic Society of North America" is a Muslim Brotherhood organization, half the "charities" in Dearbornistan MI are Hezbollah front groups, and so on).

        Political correctness gone amok is getting to be more of a danger to us than the pedoprophet's followers are!

        • I didn't say I agreed with pulling out Grandma Mable. I'm just saying that's the real justification.

          I think it's always going to be a fight between the right of individuals not to be in the system, and the goddamned ease and efficiency of just putting everyone into the system. It'd be a heck of a lot easier if everyone just consented to Isreali-style background checks, but I'm not ready to take away everyone's rights like that.

        • Dearbornistan? Really?

          Cover up, your racism is showing. Go back to Livoniaryan, MI.

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        'Additionally, we check for tiny quantities of explosives because where there's smoke, there's fire. That's how this works.'

        Use a bit of explosive or just components and dilute it in alcohol and splash the entries to the airport with it, where all the people have to walk through it, instant chaos, security, none.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by element-o.p. (939033)

        Grandma Mable gets scanned because the TSA isn't racist.

        TSA may not be racist (but there is enough anecdotal evidence that there is an above average number of attractive, well-endowed females being pulled aside for additional screening to make one wonder how "random" the random screenings really are), but it certainly is fascist. Grandma Mable shouldn't get scanned unless TSA has intel or other probable cause to suggest she is trying to smuggle something through airport security. I, for one, am really effing tired of being treated like a criminal si

      • by hedwards (940851) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:52PM (#34352694)
        That's a bullshit argument to make. The reason why you can't racially profile in the US is that we're sensible enough not to do it. Racial profiling does not work, never has and never will.

        It's especially ineffective against the Islamist extremists that are apparently more dangerous than anybody else for the simple reason that Islam is very diverse. Consequently it's not that tough to find people of any racial or ethnic background to recruit. The bigger issue is finding ones that are desperate and angry enough to go though with it.
    • by ianare (1132971)

      It's also security done on the cheap. The approach described in the article is more expensive because recruting, training, and keeping a highly qualified work force costs more than letting poorly trained operators simply scan everyone. It's the cheapest, fastest way to give the impression something is being done; the old rule 'cheap, fast, good - pick two' applies here - security will not be good.

      Worse, the money spent on these machines could be spent on hiring more and better trained TSA agents. Giving mor

  • The only way to do security of this type effectively IS the way other countries (like Israel) do it - and that is with profiling, of course the bleeding hearts here in the U.S will never stand for it, so we end up screening little kids, 80 year old invalids, and other unlikely candidates, because we are afraid of offending someone. It might not be 100 % but I'll bet it beats random checks any day of the week....

    • the bleeding hearts here in the U.S will never stand for it, so we end up screening little kids

      You think someone willing to blow up a plane isn't willing to use a child to smuggle his explosives: Worry less about bleeding hearts and more about rotting brains.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Absolutely correct. We have literally an army of trained interviewers who have the skills, and know how the opponent sounds. Many of them, currently, are underemployed. It would be a perfect union of skill and need, which would satisfy most requirements except one. When you screen people out, you make judgments based on a variety of factors. But since certain factors would be unavoidable certain elements in our country will fight screening as if we were going to use shamans and bone-casting to make the

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Millennium (2451)

      Although profiling is effective, there are some douchebag law-enforcement officers -stereotypically mostly in the South, but when hear their victims talk it becomes apparent that they're pretty much everywhere- who ruin profiling for everyone, even the honest law-enforcement officers. We need other methods, because abuse of profiling in the US has been way too great in recent years to trust law enforcement to do it properly.

      That's not to say that current methods are any better: they aren't, and should be di

    • The only way to do security of this type effectively IS the way other countries (like Israel) do it - and that is with profiling

      Citation needed. For one thing, the security risks are actually pretty low. How many acts of terrorism on US airplanes have been successful since 9/11? Second, it seems to me that islamic fundamentalists from the middle east, who I'm assuming you're saying we should profile, are not the only security concern. Oklahoma City was a group of crazy white dudes. The underwear bomber was black.

      So we should profile everyone who isn't Asian, Native American, or Latino? Seems like we're almost doing that now.

    • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:55PM (#34352720) Homepage

      The only way to do security of this type effectively IS the way other countries (like Israel) do it - and that is with profiling

      Except that Israel does not use profiling for airport security.

      Israeli security experts have repeatedly emphasized that, in their view, profiling is an open invitation to terrorism. Terrorists need only to find out what profile is being used, and then they're in; they just use a terrorist that doesn't fit the profile. Profiling fails.

      The Israelis use questioning. 100% questioning.

      The US, on the other hand, does use profiling. The last time I was detained for detailed questioning (because, for reasons beyond my control, I'd bought a one-way ticket at the last minute-- a profiling flag), every other person in the group was a middle-Eastern or Indian male. It was pretty darn obvious what the profile was.

  • The big problem right now is that billions were spent on getting the scanners that nobody wants to have used on themselves. So we have an "enhanced pat down" which primarily serves to push people into the scanning booth. Still, people are voting to have their children felt up and various body parts manipulated rather than getting scanned.

    If they try to walk away from the billions spent on the scanners taxpayers (like me) will rightly be rather angry that this much was spent on something utterly unsuitable

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:46PM (#34352034)
    Could the underwear bomber have done any worse than what happened on Aloha airlines flight 243 [aloha.net]?
  • Peter Rez (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lord Byron II (671689) on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:49PM (#34352066)

    The author of the editorial is Peter Rez, a physicist at Arizona State. As someone who has had an opportunity to take a couple of classes from this guy, let me say that he is very smart and reasonable, and while I don't always agree with what he has to say, I think it's definitely worth a bit of your time to read what he has written.

  • by osu-neko (2604)
    I don't think Israeli solutions will scale. It's a fine idea to look at what they do and mine it for good ideas, but you can't argue that what they do will necessarily work for anyone else just because it works for them. It may not be effective, or it may simply not be practical, when applied elsewhere.
    • Perhaps the Israeli solution should be scaled up. How many screeners per passenger are needed in Israel? How many would it take to activate the same sort of system here? How many screeners per passenger is the US system already using? Last but not least, when considering the whole: how effective (partly based on the above comparisons) is the Israeli system compared to the US' ?

  • " the Israeli method of securing airplanes — look for the bomber"

    How can I say this without sounding racist? Oh well here goes - The average uneducated American( without tertiary and beyond) is not very worldly. I am not American. I have traveled extensively.

    It is little wonder. While things may have changed a bit, some years ago I was watching television in Minneapolis and the Newscaster says "Moving to international news - Bill Clinton is in Arkansas this week....". While I laughed out loud at
  • If only we had some sort of device that could detect bomb materials by smell and could easily be used around humans. Perhaps some sort of animal that could be used for this purpose, these could then be stationed in airports and detect this material at the entrances or at the security checkpoint. Then we would not need invasive groping or X-rays and we would be able to detect even material a subject has swallowed. I realize this is only a dream, but one day we will surely have it in our power to produce such

    • Instead of going through a scanner, walk through the metal detector and a fan blows over you and into a kennel of trained dogs.

      Since the fan is blowing your stink to the dogs, you don't have a problem with allergies.

      Then you just need to keep rotating the dogs so that someone cannot come through with something that will damage their noses to cover for the next guy in line bringing through a bomb.

      In fact, they should randomize the check points so that the terrorists will never know who will be going through

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I figured the allergy risk was pretty low and we can give out free claritin, but your idea is even better.

    • by ScentCone (795499)
      That many dogs and handlers, on duty for millions of passengers, is not only also not fool-proof, but is fantastically expensive. If you know people in that line of work, you'll understand.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        The same complaint can be made of the scanners and gate rape.

        • by ScentCone (795499)
          In that they are not 100% reliable, yes. A huge army of dogs, handlers, and their support system would be more so. Not to mention the people who inevitably freak out about the dogs, and sue over having been "menaced" by them, just like they're calling pat-downs "sexual assault."
          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            So put the dogs in a separate room and use a fan to move the air towards them. If you are not a doctor or my girlfriend you should not be touching my balls. No being paid a couple dollars an hour more than mall security and with less training does not make you a person who should be scrutinizing my testicles.

  • by echucker (570962) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:01PM (#34352188) Homepage
    Why you ask? Because the first person to point out how useless all of the scanning is will be singled out as anti-American by their opposing Congresscritters. Same problem when it comes to common sense with child porn laws and sexting by those under the age of 18. If you don't throw the book at the offender, you're not "thinking of the children!"
  • Bomb Sniffing Dogs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bkmoore (1910118) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:08PM (#34352242)
    The most effective detector for hidden explosives is the bomb-sniffing dog. My unit used dogs to great effect in Iraq, and yes we did find bombs and hidden explosives on people, in cars, buried in the ground or in houses. Dogs can even sniff explosives from several meters away. So all the passengers would have to do is walk by a bomb dog and his handler on the way to the airplane. If the dog signals a positive, then that passenger could be taken aside for a more detailed search. An indication from a trained working dog is legal grounds for probable cause to search a person.
    Dogs are so effective that DARPA even has a challenge to come up with a machine detector that could match a dog's nose. So far, no one has won the prize. I admit that dogs do have limitations such as needing rest, food, water and play time. But those limitations can be easily overcome with a little careful planning and cycling dogs in and out. The DEA and the US Customs services already use dogs at airports to screen luggage for drugs or illegal animal trade. So many airports probably already have the infrastructure to attend and care for working dogs. I honestly do not know why the TSA hasn't even openly considered bomb dogs as an acceptable alternative to full-body scanners. The TSA is obviously aware that the military and police have been using dogs effectively for many years.
    • by LanMan04 (790429)

      An indication from a trained working dog is legal grounds for probable cause to search a person.

      See, I have a problem with that. I know and fully understand that dogs are VERY good at detecting odors and don't have legimitate false positives all that often (no citation on that). Good tools for the job.

      The problem is that they can be induced to indicate by the trainer. It's like having a radar gun with a secret button that displays 96mph on the display no matter what the actual speed is. There are countless, countless reports of a dog alerting on some "suspicious" guy for drugs, no drugs are found,

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by NoSig (1919688)
      Because dogs are less invasive they don't signal that "something is being done". Actual security does not seem to be the goal here.
  • by parallel_prankster (1455313) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:11PM (#34352268)
    FTA , "they never suffered any delays after interviews" - How many passengers do they serve a day? Can you imagine putting such a system in JFK?? I dont support the current pat down or radiation therapy , but the Israeli scheme is not scalable to US levels. Besides, I feel that attacks on Israel have been crude and their system works well to avoid them. The US fears of more sophisticated attacks ( or atleast wants us to fear ) and hence wants a nothing-suspicious-left-behind strategy. To summarize, I think it is easy to study the Israeli system and come up with a way to beat it!
    • by potat0man (724766) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:08PM (#34353334)
      Not to mention I ought to be able to travel within my own country without answering to a government official about the purpose of my trip.

      I think we all just need to accept that some people are going to be struck by lightning, some people will die from trees falling on them, some people will die of food poisoning, and some people will die in exploding planes. People will go 80mph, driving with one hand while nursing a coffee and puffing a cigarette, while passing other vehicles going in the opposite direction also going 80mph only 5 feet away and think nothing of it. We should take the stupidity/bravery that allows us to do that and use it to just get on the damn airplane with our fingers crossed.
  • Israel's system works because they profile.

  • The comparison isn't very apt or fair. Israel has a single airport to protect, the US has something on the order of 100. Add in the fact that unless you're an Israeli Jew or part of an established, organized tour group, you can expect a 3-4 hour wait and it quickly becomes infeasible to do something similar in the US without making air travel a very painful process. There's things the Israelis do that probably should be adopted in the US, such as having the secure, bomb resistant areas for checked luggage

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:27PM (#34352418) Homepage

    As much as I admire the success of "the Israeli method of securing airplanes" on a day-to-day basis, it has failed abysmally in the decade-to-decade time frame. Not because it has permitted planes to be hijacked or blown up, but because it is still in place after so much time. It (along with the quality of the Israeli armed forces, its nuclear arsenal, and the insufficiently qualified support of foreign governments) has served as a kind of "enabling behavior", making it possible for the Israeli government to maintain hostile relations with its neighbors and even so many of its (non-Jewish) subjects. I'm not saying that the political situation in the Middle East is entirely (or even mostly) their fault. But their ability to make a state of war tolerable enough to live with decade after decade has kept them from finding a real solution. (Obligatory geek reference: ST:TOS episode "A Taste of Armageddon".) Likewise, the US government's efforts to make its "war on terror" tolerable for its people to live with - with no planes blowing up or other experiences of "war on US soil" - enable it to avoid dealing with the real root causes of this problem. Not Islam. Not Iraq or Iran. Not Israel. Running with the "i" theme I've got going here, I'd call it "industrial imperialism". If we want air travel to be safe - if we want our people to be safe - we need to look at that, not individuals' skin color or body cavities or religion.

  • Professionals (Score:3, Informative)

    by fermion (181285) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:28PM (#34352436) Homepage Journal
    The problem is that the TSA will not hire professional staff. This would be staff trained in the art of eliciting telling responses and observing telling behavior.The reason, as has been stated, is that the TSA is a jobs program created by the Bush administration to absorb unskilled workers from the labor pool, particularly those that could not be absorbed through the existing military employment program.

    The long lines are going to stay, as this gives observers time to analyze the people, and the people to get jittery. The person who checks tickets will stay, as a well trained skill worker there is the best line of defense. The current protocol is quite useless, as at least a minute of questioning will be necessary.

    Bag scanners with neutron bombardement will detect explosives and weapons. We must invest in software to make these detections automatic and reliable.

    Full body scanners are useless. The underwear bomber would have been caught if professionals were observing and procedures were followed. Random nuetron scans of humans will detect explosives.

    If we want security, there is simple means to minimize explosions. Cargo holds can be kept in vacuum or flooded with Argon. If as the DoHS says passengers require assurances, we can all fly sedated in a 10/90% oxygen argon mixture.

    Otherwise, cockpit doors must remain closed. Passengers are not going to scared by a few people with knives knowing they are going to die anyway. Small quantities of explosive may cause panic, but won't take down a plane if the pilots are secure.

  • Until we have idiot-resistant, hard-to-spoof, low-false-positive and cost effective chemical sniffers for explosives and NBC weapons, we will have to rely on other methods.

    The behavior profiling methods used by the Israelis are effective, but rely heavily on experienced and highly motivated screeners. A computerized implementation of these methods might be combine facial recognition (for known threats), eye tracking and full body motion detection to characterize behavior and identify atypical behaviors

  • simple alternative (Score:4, Interesting)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@@@yahoo...com> on Friday November 26, 2010 @05:08PM (#34352824) Journal

    Dogs. Put a bomb-sniffing dog at each security checkpoint. When the dog alerts to a substance, stop the line and use pat-down procedures (performed in private) on the individual(s) who caused the alert. This is cheaper and much, much more reliable than any scanner.

  • by noidentity (188756) on Friday November 26, 2010 @09:06PM (#34354768)

    Clearly everything should be done to prevent explosives getting on board an aircraft in quantities sufficient to cause structural failure and bring the plane down.

    Clearly you haven't thought this through, or you'd realize that "everything" includes ending air travel, or doing full medical-grade X-rays of every passenger. No, what should clearly be done is to reduce the risk of injury due to terrorism below that of things people put themselves at risk to every day, like car travel. The rest is a matter of educating people. At that point, by definition, the terror caused by the risk of someone taking down a plane is less than that of traveling in a vehicle, and we have won and the terrorists have lost. That's the way to win without subjecting the very people we want protected (us!) to any unnecessary hardship.

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