Evidence mounts that TSA’s whole-body scanners are not designed to detect powdered explosives or other low-density materials that pose a threat to airline safety. Leon Kaufman and Joseph W. Carlson’s new study finds that “Even if exposure were to be increased significantly, normal anatomy would make a dangerous amount of plastic explosives with tapered edges difficult, if not impossible to detect.” Kaufman and Carlson’s study examined the imaging and device specifications of the backscatter machines to estimate the penetration and exposure to the body from the x-ray beam and the machines’ sensitivity to contraband. The authors’ study also echoes concerns about the health risks associated with the backscatter devices. EPIC has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to suspend the body scanner program because it is "unlawful, invasive, and ineffective." For more information, see EPIC: EPIC v. DHS and EPIC: Whole Body Imaging Technology.
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Communications Law and Policy
Jerry Kang and Alan Butler