Violation Without Protection

On my few trips abroad, my time has always been made more difficult by the extra security checks that are done at the airport. In the UK it's bad, but (and I count myself lucky I haven't been since 2005) in the US it is worse. Chief among the hoops the people coming and going have to jump through are the controversial full-body scanners that allow for what amounts to remote, virtual strip-searches, to show up suspicious articles on your person. Most of the installations are in America, but increasingly they are being seen in other countries as well. Not only that, but in America at least, the TSA (who oversee security on public transport) is looking into expanding their use into other areas, including having the technology in mobile vans.

It's all going a bit big brother, but at least it stops those pesky terrorists, right?

Wrong. The only possible reason for these massively expensive, human-rights infringing units is a claim that they stop people bringing naughty things onto the aircraft, like guns, knives, explosives and, er.. breast milk?.

Anyway, that rather flimsy excuse has just gone away for good. Some young upstart has shown that the TSA's highly complex and expensive scanners can be fooled just by walking through them with the offending item at an angle. He tested it out on the latest scanners in two airports, and posted his results, but not before informing the TSA of his actions to give them time to do something about it.

What they will do, I am unsure, but I could put a fair guess in that they won't admit their mistake and/or go back to the old metal detectors. Going by the trend of upping the ante, virtual strip searches will be replaced by real ones, and human rights can go even more to the dogs. And if Jon goes travelling any time soon, he's surely going to get a hard time for what amounts to either a national shaming of the TSA, or the uncovering of a dangerous chink in the armour of airport security around the world.

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