Full body scans

An image of Susan Hallowell, Director of the T...Image via Wikipedia
Washington Post:

The full-body scanners in use at 78 U.S. airports can detect small amounts of contraband and hidden weapons, all while producing controversial images of travelers.

The "good catches," federal officials say, have largely gone unnoticed amid the criticism that erupted over the ghostly X-rays and "enhanced" pat-downs. The Transportation Security Administration, which intensified airport screening last month, points to several successes: small amounts of marijuana wrapped in baggies, other drugs stitched inside underwear, ceramic knives concealed in shirt pockets.

But the machines could miss something far more deadly: explosive material taped to someone's abdomen or hidden inside a cavity. Researchers and security experts question the technology's ability to detect chemical explosives that are odorless, far smaller than previous incarnations, and easily molded to fool machines and security screeners into thinking they are part of the human body.

Government testing, which has been mostly classified because of security concerns, has also raised concerns about the effectiveness of the full-body scanners.

Based partly on early successes, federal officials are planning to continue an unprecedented roll-out of the technology over the next year. By New Year's Day, about 500 machines will be in use across the country, including at the Washington area's three major airports. By the end of next year, 1,000 X-ray machines will be operational, accounting for roughly half of the nation's 2,000 lanes of security checkpoints.

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While no fool proof the machines catch enough to deter many people from trying to smuggle stuff under their clothes. The images are a little strange, but it would not surprise me if artist attempt to use them in some creative way in the future. If other people's experiences are like mine, they will probably be widely accepted by most travelers.

BTW, the ceramic knives might fool metal detectors, but are not going to fool these scanners.
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