So, as most people know, the TSA and their full-body scanners have been in the news a LOT as of late. We can thank John Tyner (blog here) for this sudden public “awareness” of what the TSA is doing these days with his, now infamous/famous “don’t touch my junk” quip to TSA workers. My question though is this: why are there no other alternatives to the technology that they have in place?
I was reading this morning how the reason that the full-body scanners are even in place is because of the underwear bomber from last Christmas (plastic explosives went unnoticed in his underwear and then he tried to ignite it while in the air). Also, apparently they put pilots through the full-body scanners and the extra pat-downs that they have put into place just this week with the groping in the underwear. The latter makes little sense to me thanks to the fact that they are flying the damn plan and have a gun in the cockpit. The only things that you really need to be double checking on these people is are they still mentally stable and are they who they really say they are (double check ID and the like).
Ok, so that solution only reduces the use with pilots, what about all the normal passengers? I’m still unsure about why the only options are becoming a full-body scanner that creates a detailed image of your basically nude body or a pat down that includes a groping of your groin, breast, and basically everything else under the clothes. Of course, there are all the gripes out there that this is an invasion of privacy, and I’m neither belittling or disagreeing with this almost definite fact. My question is where is the supposed technological advancements we have had in recent years? Why are we unable to “read” people differently? Why are the options x-ray or metal detector plus human groping? This just doesn’t make sense to me.
Now, I know I would likely regret doing a full post about my idea for a replacement to these options, but how about a general concept. Why not measure density? More specifically, why not density changes? With those fake beer bellies, they cause a non-uniform density across your stomach area with the presence of some kind of liquid. A synthetic knee has a different density than normal bone. C4, even spread thinly across the skin, would likely have a different density than the rest of your body. I’m not claiming I know what technology could accomplish this, but coupled with a metal detector, it seems relatively benign and effective.