Pátek 19. září 2014

There's nothing to fear from the use of full-body scanners at airports

The Washington Post,   Čtvrtek 7. leden 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

 

EVER SINCE UMAR Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up Northwest Flight 253 with explosives in his underwear, a debate has begun anew over the use and usefulness of full-body scanning technology that would have detected his secret cargo. The privacy concerns raised by these machines are understandable. But the precautions taken at every step to guard passenger privacy should allay any fears.

There are two kinds of "full-body" scanners in use by the Transportation Security Administration, the millimeter wave and the backscatter. Passengers using the millimeter-wave machines spend up to 40 seconds having their bodies scanned. The image produced is three-dimensional and looks like a fuzzy negative. Facial features are blurred. But the shape and contour of one's body are easily made out as the radio waves bounce off skin to create an image that allows screeners to check for concealed material that might be under clothing.

The TSA has ordered 150 backscatter scanners. These machines emit low-level X-rays at a passenger going through them. The result is a body image that looks like a chalk etching. Over the next year, the TSA plans to order another 300 scanners.

The TSA takes extra precautions to ensure the privacy of air travelers. The security screener with the passenger cannot see the image that's created. The picture goes directly to a secure and remote place where it is examined by TSA personnel who cannot see the passenger. The two TSA screeners communicate by wireless headset. Once the traveler has been cleared, the image is automatically deleted. According to the agency, the machine's ability to store, print, transmit or save the images is disabled when it is delivered to the airport. And here's one last precaution: Officers in that remote screening room are prohibited from bringing in cellphones, cameras or any device with a camera.

There are now just 40 millimeter-wave imaging scanners in operation at 19 airports, including Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Considering Mr. Abdulmutallab's success at getting a concealed explosive aboard an aircraft, thought must be given to making full-body scans a mandatory and primary security screen. The House passed an amendment last June proposed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) that prohibited this. The Chaffetz amendment has yet to pass the Senate -- and it shouldn't.



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and Syria on Friday, recruiting at least nine allies to help crush the organization

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and offering the outlines of a coordinated military strategy that echoes the war

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on terror developed by his predecessor, George W. Bush, more than a decade ago.

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In his most expansive comments to date about how the United States

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and its friends could defeat ISIS, a once-obscure group of Sunni militants that has

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now upended the Middle East and overshadowed Al Qaeda, Mr. Obama said the effort would rely on American airstrikes against

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its leaders and positions, strengthen the moderate Syrian rebel groups to reclaim ground lost to ISIS,

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and enlist friendly governments in the region to join the fight.

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U.S. Military Strategy Against ISISAUG. 21, 2014

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President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain visited students at Mount Pleasant Primary School,

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in Newport, Wales, as leaders gathered for a NATO summit meeting on Thursday.

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bama and Cameron Call on NATO to Confront ISISSEPT. 4, 2014

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hancellor Angela Merkel of Germany with President François Hollande of France.

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— which he has already done on a limited basis in Iraq — Mr. Obama likened his developing strategy on ISIS to the American effort against Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal regions, which has relied heavily on airstrikes.

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Mr. Obama has been under enormous pressure to articulate a way to counter ISIS,

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which has proclaimed itself an Islamic caliphate that knows no borders and has demonstrated ruthless behavior,

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including the videotaped beheadings of two Americans. After creating a political tempest by saying last week that his administration lacked a strategy,

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Mr. Obama sought on Friday to portray himself as spearheading the effort.

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But in so doing, the president risks further entangling the American military in exactly the type of costly foreign conflict

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he has long sought to escape. And his administration has been unable to explain

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how he can vanquish ISIS without indirectly aiding President Bashar al-Assad of Syria,

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regarded by the administration as an odious leader who must resign.

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Nonetheless, Mr. Obama’s comments, made at the conclusion of a NATO summit meeting here,

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were in effect a significant expansion of his earlier assessments of the ISIS threat

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— simply by offering a direct comparison to the strategy against Qaeda militants.

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“You initially push them back, you systematically degrade their capabilities,

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you narrow their scope of action, you slowly shrink the space,

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the territory that they may control, you take out their leadership,”

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Mr. Obama said at a news conference here.

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“And over time, they are not able to conduct the same kinds of terrorist attacks as they once could.”

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He said that “we are going to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, the same way that we have gone after Al Qaeda,”

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using an alternate acronym for ISIS. He drew the analogy to Pakistan as an example of

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how the United States can go to war against militants while limiting the number of American ground combat troops.

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Mr. Obama spoke after aides had unveiled what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called the “core coalition”

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to fight the ISIS militants, the outcome of a hastily organized meeting on the sidelines of

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the NATO summit talks. Diplomats and defense officials from the United States, Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark huddled to devise a two-pronged strategy:

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strengthening allies on the ground in Iraq and Syria, while bombing Sunni militants from the air.

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“There is no containment policy for ISIL,”

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Secretary of State John Kerry said at the start of the meeting.

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“They’re an ambitious, avowed, genocidal, territorial-grabbing,

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