Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another Muqata Prediction Comes True

Only a few weeks ago, Muqata columnist JoeSettler wrote about what air-travel (and security) is going to be like in 2011.
2010 began with the afterglow of the underwear bomber. The government through the TSA implemented far more intrusive and tedious countermeasures in their ever failing effort to block terrorists from smuggling weapons and bombs onto the planes.

Far more passengers were randomly selected for questionings before boarding, extending the boarding time for all by an additional hour on average.

While new legislation required that the Full Body Scanner be deployed at all airports, implementation took time, and subsequently, full body pat downs and random selection strip searches ultimately reached a level of 10% of all passengers – adding an 2 hours for boarding at airports not up to legislative spec, and a certain amount of expected (but acceptable) annoyance from passengers.

But clearly the most intrusive and failed measure was the introduction of the Full Body Scanner at all airports.

The public was initially accepting of the scanner, understanding the need to trade a certain amount of privacy for security.

But even as the first “Celebrity Scans” were leaked onto the internet (understandably Angelina Jolie and ironically Arnold Schwarzenegger) the public took it in stride, meanwhile searches for “Celebrity Scans” became the number one search term on Bing and Google.
Little did Joe know that his prediction would come true in the second month of 2010 -- a whole year early!

Yesterday, the news emerged that despite promises by Heathrow airport security authorities in London, that naked body scanner images are immediately destroyed after passengers pass through new x-ray devices... naked images of Indian film star Shahrukh Khan were printed out and circulated by airport staff at Heathrow in London.
UK Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said last week that the images produced by the scanners were deleted “immediately” and airport staff carrying out the procedure are fully trained and supervised.

“It is very important to stress that the images which are captured by body scanners are immediately deleted after the passenger has gone through the body scanner,” Adonis told the London Evening Standard.

However, the Transport Secretary’s assurances were demolished after it was revealed on the BBC’s Jonathan Ross show Friday that Indian actor Shahrukh Khan had passed through a body scan and later had the image of his naked body printed out and circulated by Heathrow security staff. Read the rest of it here (there are no photos in the link!)

This is rather disturbing and raises a whole plethora of questions (no, we never believed the British authorities for a second).

Its painfully obvious how unprofessional the "security" analysts are at London's airports, and this is only a tiny step away from child pornography (and distribution).

Instead of perverts at London airports or dimwits in the TSA -- we need professional security analysts who focus on the psyche of the person and his profile.

Israel's profiling works.

We can take bottles of water on planes...and even board airplanes without being virtually strip searched (and our photos printed out) by perverts...and still have the best airplane security in the world.

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Gee a Moron said...

Unfortunately the mishegas is reaching Israel as well. On last Thursday night's Delta flight from Tel Aviv to Atlanta there were posters at the checkin and gate that no liquids (including Duty Free) greater than 100 ml. (less than a third of a can of Coke) would be allowed in carry-ons. I was asked as I boarded if I had such contraband but not searched. Also, they announced that the seat belt sign would stay lit, "by order of thge Israeli Government", for thirty minutes after takeoff. Nothing reciprocal on the landing side.

ProfK said...

I'm a bit confused on the full body scanners. Is what is shown like your illustration with this posting--basically a skeleton, or is it a picture that would be fully recognizable as a specific person? If a recognizable picture then yes, there is a real privacy issue. But if it's a skeleton?!

Anonymous said...

Pictures of various leaked airport scans of celebrities.




Don't thank me, I'm a giver.

Shlomo said...

ProfK - The pictures here are misleading. The scans actually show the surface of your body (like if you were naked), but are in shades of black/white/grey, and are generally a little bit fuzzy.

X-rays, because they penetrate the body, are potentially dangerous and are not used.

Anonymous said...

Those objections about child pornography will get overrun by the politically correct in no time.

I'm surprised that organized religions aren't all over it by now. The more fundamentalist, the better (because they can put up a good fight).

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