The Sensible Body Scan Alternative
An anonymous reader sends in a CNN article that looks at airport security from more reasonable point of view, suggesting that looking for every last micro-gram of potentially explosive material is a waste of time, since very small quantities of explosives are unlikely to significantly damage a plane. The author also recommends incorporating parts of the Israeli method of securing airplanes — look for the bomber, not the tools. Quoting: “Clearly everything should be done to prevent explosives getting on board an aircraft in quantities sufficient to cause structural failure and bring the plane down. But is it worth chasing lesser quantities that would result in zero or minimal damage? The enhanced pat-down that some find so offensive is designed to search for these small amounts. It often ends with a swab being taken to test for explosive residues. Technology does have a role to play, but imaging is not the solution. Operator fatigue sets in after short periods of time staring at computer images. That’s why there are reports that contraband items have been smuggled through X-ray units used to scan carry-on bags. The aim should be to detect high explosive in quantities that are sufficient to cause significant damage. We don’t need a machine that takes pictures of the human body. It makes more sense to develop a detector that clearly discriminates between high explosives and human tissue or water.”
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