• Europe skeptical about whole-body scanners

    Questions are being raised in several European countries about the effectiveness, cost effectiveness, health, and privacy aspects of whole-body scanners; a former head of security for the British Airports Authority: “A thorough body frisk would do the same sort of thing, if it is done properly, and of course it costs a lot less”

  • Sorting the bad guys from the good

    Israel’s WeCu claims a 95 percent success rate for its new terrorist detection system that monitors reactions to visual stimuli at airports and checkpoints; the company’s device flashes stimuli, such as photos, a symbol, or a code word, relating to the information authorities are most interested in (whether it is terrorism, drug smuggling, or other crimes), to passengers as they pass through terminal checkpoints; hidden biometric sensors then detect the subjects’ physical reactions and subtle behavioral changes remotely or during random contact

  • Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, soccer World Cup take extra security measures

    The organizers of three big sporting events – the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics, and the soccer World Cup – are taking extra security measures to ensure the safety of participants and spectators; The Winter Olympics’ security budget initially projected at $175 million now tops $900 million, and the force for the games will include more than 15,000 people, a surveillance blimp hovering over Vancouver, and more than 900 surveillance cameras monitoring competition venues and crowd-attracting public areas; at the Super Bowl, nearly everyone entering the stadium will be subjected to a pat-down search; exceptions would be a police officer in uniform, a player in uniform, and the president of the United States

  • Partnership aims to help air shippers meet security deadline

    Congress has mandated that by August 2010, 100 percent of cargo on passenger planes must be screened; companies begin to position themselves to take advantage of the business opportunity involved in offering secure cargo warehousing and shipping

  • 950 whole-body scanners in U.S. airports by end of 2011

    The administration has allocated $215 million in the proposed 2011 budget to buy 500 whole-body scanners; they will be added to the 450 to be bought this year; currently there are 40 body scanners operating in 19 U.S. airports

  • Ahern signals support for airport body scanners

    The Irish government will support the deployment of whole-body scanner at Irish airports; Minister of Justice Dermot Ahern: “If additional measures are required either in exchange of passenger information or better technology, then we should take them”; Ireland has also accepted the apology of the Slovak government for an explosive-smuggling exercise which saw an unwitting Slovak passenger smuggle explosives planted in his luggage by Slovak intelligence through Irish security

  • GAO: TSA needs to test whole-body scanners rigorously

    A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report says the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) needs to make sure that the whole-body scanners the agency plans to deploy at U.S. airports undergo thorough operational and vulnerability testing; a failure to do such vetting has already resulted in a similar airport checkpoint security technology for explosives detection being withdrawn from service before being fully deployed, the GAO report noted

  • Yemen bolsters airport security – and adheres to Muslim strictures

    Growing pressure from European countries lead Yemen to bolster its lax airport security measures; among the new measures are whole-body scanners; because of Muslim sensibilities, female security scanners would watch the images of women passengers’ body images, and male security scanners would observe the images of male passengers

  • Thermal-boosted infrared detection scanners address radiation, privacy concerns

    Iscon Video Imaging’s proprietary thermal-boosted infrared detection technology shows objects and clothing without any harmful radiation; the detection system creates a temperature differential between clothes and a hidden object

  • Terahertz scanners may detect what whole-body scanners miss

    A typical full-body scanner works by bouncing X-rays off an individual’s skin to produce an outline image of the person’s body; these images must then be studied by an operator who makes the call whether there is a potential explosive present or not; the operator’s subjective view makes the system more fallible; terahertz technology works by sweeping a terahertz beam across a person and then using sensors to detect the radiation that reflects back; explosives and benign substances such as candy have a different terahertz spectrum, or fingerprint, that can be classified by TeraView software

  • Research aims to improve airport security

    From body-part censors to cameras that recognize faces, Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab is working with security technology that assuages privacy concerns; CMU’s Instinctive Computing Lab, eventually envisions a system that can wipe out the body image entirely, picking up only weapons, which will appear to be floating in space

  • U.S. Supreme Court will eventually rule on the legality of whole-body scanning

    In the absence, at least for now, of an overarching U.S. Supreme Court decision, how would U.S. courts react to the privacy concerns surrounding whole-body searches, assuming a legal challenge is initiated against taking pictures of one’s private parts while trying to fly to the United States? An answer may be found on the fact that at least two U.S. circuit courts of appeal have beaten back challenges to airport security measures; in the most recent one, in 2006, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — Justice Samuel Alito’s old stomping grounds — ruled a suspicionless, unwarranted search during airport screening was allowable under the “administrative search doctrine”; the doctrine, elucidated in a 1971 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said that “searches conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme in furtherance of an administrative purpose, rather than as part of a criminal investigation to secure evidence of a crime, may be permissible under the Fourth Amendment though not supported by a showing of probable cause directed to a particular place or person to be searched”

  • Gordon Brown: U.K. airports to get whole-body scanners next week

    The U.K. prime minister said that beginning next week, whole-body scanners will be deployed at U.K. airports; in addition to backscatter X-rays and millimeter wave systems, Brown hinted that the government would seek to deploy terahertz technology

  • India awards Implant Sciences $6 million contract for sniffer

    India will deploy the company’s explosive detector – the Quantum Sniffer QS-H150 – for protection of military and civilian facilities; the sniffer comes with a large substance library which includes not only standard military and commercial explosives, but also a wide variety of improvised and homemade explosives (IEDs and HMEs)

  • Discrimination warning over U.K. airport body scanners

    U.K. equality watchdog wrote U.K. home secretary to say it was “concerned that that the proposals to introduce body scanners are likely to have a negative impact on individuals’ rights to privacy, especially members of particular groups including disabled people, older people, children, transgendered people, women and religious groups”