from the my-pants-pockets-are-not-bombs-stop-grabbing-my-@ dept.
Pinckney writes "A paper by Leon Kaufman and Joseph W. Carlson in the Journal of Transportation Security asserts that x-ray backscatter machines are not very effective (PDF) even in their intended role. While carelessly placed contraband will be detected, the machines have glaring blind-spots and have difficulty distinguishing explosives from human tissue. As they write, 'It is very likely that a large (15–20 cm in diameter), irregularly-shaped, cm-thick pancake [of PETN explosive] with beveled edges, taped to the abdomen, would be invisible to this technology. ... It is also easy to see that an object such as a wire or a boxcutter blade, taped to the side of the body, or even a small gun in the same location, will be invisible.'"
The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to
watch someone else doing it wrong, without commenting.
-- T.H. White