Monday, November 15, 2010

Will TSA's "advanced imaging technology" work in all those Freudian places? Probably not.

Given all the controversy over the increased screening at airports these days, I thought I’d give the link to TSA’s own presentation of its “Advanced Imaging Technology” here. It sounds appropriate for airline employees who must be screened repeatedly to wonder about exposure to radiation. It may actually benefit passengers with some kinds of surgery or implanted devices.

But the nature of some unconventional semisolid explosive material is so subtle that it may become impossible for any device to catch every conceivable hiding ploy, such as in “cavities” or maybe even in hair. One can imagine the necessity of the “body analysis” of the 1971 film “The Andromeda Strain” of Michael Crichton’s novel, or maybe even the dreaded “photoflash chamber.”

I actually went to an employment assessment for TSA screeners back in Minnesota in August 2002. I backed out over a misunderstanding on starting pay. But I think I would be concerned about being required to do extended “pat downs.” It’s a bit too intimate (like the military). And it seems to have become much more intimate recently.  (I've undergone only one, back on 2002 at San Francisco airport.)

The media is making a lot of software engineer John Tyner's challenge to the TSA (over his "junk"). Here's John's own account of the incident, apparently posted with Mobile Blogger, link. In fact, the vigor of Tyner's on air comments makes me glad someone with my background did not become a screener.  And, yes, I hope he finds this post!

Here's the link for the supposed TSA "boycott" over Thanksgiving.  Doesn't sound pretty.

Picture: Prepare your teddy bear for TSA body analysis (it's less permanent than a laser beam).

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