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  • #31

    الحكومة الإيطالية ستتخلى عن المراقبة الجسدية بالسكانير التي كانت تحت التجربة منذ 6 أشهر في عدة مطارات. معتبرة أن التفتيش طويل وغير مجدي، حسب ما نقلته أمس جريدة ''إلكوريري دلا سيرا'' الإيطالية. وتم توقيف ''سكانير'' روما وفنيسيا وبالرمو ويرتقب توقيفه كذلك بميلانو. ويعاب على الأجهزة بعث شبح للراكب لا تظهر الأعضاء التناسلية التي قد تستعمل لإخفاء المتفجرات والأسلحة، بالإضافة إلى طول التفتيش الذي يدوم 30 ثانية لكل راكب طرحت أيضا إشكالية نجاعة تلك الأجهزة. وصرح رئيس سلطة الطيران المدني الإيطالي، فيتو ريجيو، للجريدة: ''لم نتحصل على نتائج بالسكانير الجسدي، خاصة وأننا نضيّع الوقت أكثـر من التفتيش العادي''. وكانت إيطاليا اشترت أجهزة سكانير من الشركة الأمريكية ''الـ 3 كمونكيشن'' بقيمة 150 ألف أورو لكل قطعة، فيما كلفت تجربتها 2 مليون أورو. اتخذ قرار استعمال السكانير من طرف وزير الداخلية روبرتو مروني بعد محاولة تفجير الطائرة القادمة من أمستردام والمتوجهة إلى دترويت، ليلة عيد المسيح، حيث قام نيجيري بإخفاء مفجرات في ملابسه وتم توقيفه على يد الركاب، لكن المحاولة أحدثت هلعا كبيرا في أوساط الملاحة الجوية العالمية.

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    • #32

      November 16, 2010 -- The United States Transportation Security Administration has recently come under scrutiny for, among other things, its use of X-ray full-body scanners in airports to see through clothes and to detect non-metallic explosives. But are they safe? A group of UC-San Francisco professors recently raised a number of safety concerns regarding these scanners. While the Obama administration attempted to address these worries, its assertion that the scanners are safe appears to fall short. The TSA has slowly been implementing the use of X-ray scanners in airports (so far, 38 airports have 206 of the machines) in order to see through passengers' clothes and check them for explosive devices. Officials have asserted that the machines are okay to use on the basis of the everyday use of X-rays in medical offices. However, a group of four UCSF professors pinpointed several important differences between the medical X-ray machines and those used in airports. They described the issues in a letter to Dr. John P. Holdren, the assistant to the president for science and technology.

      A normal X-ray image is a familiar sight—depending on the exposure, an X-rayed person typically appears only as a skeleton. This is because the X-rays used in those machines penetrate the skin and can only be absorbed by bone. Unlike a medical X-ray, the TSA X-ray machines are a sci-fi fan's dream: they are lower-energy beams that can only penetrate clothing and the topmost layers of skin. This provides TSA agents with a view that would expose any explosives concealed by clothing. But according to the UCSF professors, the low-enegy rays do a "Compton scatter" off tissue layers just under the skin, possibly exposing some vital areas and leaving the tissues at risk of mutation. When an X-ray Compton scatters, it doesn't shift an electron to a higher energy level; instead, it hits the electron hard enough to dislodge it from its atom. The authors note that this process is "likely breaking bonds," which could cause mutations in cells and raise the risk of cancer. Because the X-rays only make it just under the skin's surface, the total volume of tissue responsible for absorbing the radiation is fairly small. The professors point out that many body parts that are particularly susceptible to cancer are just under the surface, such as breast tissue and testicles. They are also concerned with those over 65, as well as children, being exposed to the X-rays.

      The professors pointed to a number of other issues, including the possibility that TSA agents may scan certain areas more slowly (for example, the groin, to prevent another "underwear bomber" incident like the one in December 2009), exposing that area to even more radiation. But the letter never explicitly accuses the machines of being dangerous; rather, the professors encourage Dr. Holdren to pursue testing to make sure that the casual use of these X-rays is safe. Dr. Holdren passed the letter on to the Food and Drug Administration for review. But, in the FDA's response, the agency gave the issues little more than a data-driven brush off. They cite five studies in response to the professors' request for independent verification of the safety of these X-rays; however, three are more than a decade old, and none of them deal specifically with the low-energy X-rays the professors are concerned about. The letter also doesn't mention the FDA's own classification of X-rays as carcinogens in 2005.

      The letter concludes that "the potential health risks from a full-body screening with a general-use X-ray security system are minuscule." But the increased surface area and volume of absorption area, plus the frequency with which many people travel, suggests that this use at least bears further scrutiny. U.S. pilots' associations have also encouraged their members to opt for the pat-down in the meantime. Of course, these pat-downs have recently become rather invasive, so now travelers must choose between a little irradiation and being felt up by a non-doctor. However, the TSA does have a potential solution in hand. Of the 68 airports scanning for explosives, 30 are using millimeter-wave scanners that don't use X-rays at all; they hit the surface of the body with safer radio waves. If the TSA committed to using only this type of equipment, it could avoid the safety concerns regarding the X-ray full body scanners completely.

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      • #33
        yikes! I have to face one of these monsters for the first time soon, and after reading through this thread, I think I'll just plan to add another hour of "transit" time and opt for the pat-down instead. Thanks for the postings.

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        • #34

          November 22, 2010 -- The federal body in charge of airport security is resisting changes to its new body-scanner technology in the face of a media storm of protest that has become the latest issue of the moment for the American right. Protests about the intrusiveness of the new all-body scanners, and about the manual pat downs that are given to travellers who chose to avoid the scans, has reached fever pitch in recent days. A "National Opt-Out Day" is being organised for Wednesday, one of the busiest flying days of the year on the eve of Thanksgiving. The protest has the potential to cause considerable delays as the pat-down procedure takes much longer than passing through the scanners. The federal authorities are trying to stand firm against the increasingly shrill debate about airport security, insisting that the new technology is a necessary balancing act between public safety in the wake of the terrorism threat and respect for individual privacy. In a statement, the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), John Pistole, said that refinements would continue to be made to the screening procedures "to make them as minimally invasive as possible while still providing the security that the American people want and deserve". But he also reminded people of the attempt by the so-called "underwear bomber" to blow up a jet over Detroit last Christmas Day and that "the terrorists allegedly behind the thwarted cargo attempt last month are out there bragging about how they will strike again".

          The furore over the body scanners and pat downs is another example of the changing focus of conservatism in the U.S. Since 9/11 the emphasis of conservatism was heavily weighty towards security, and more libertarian voices stressing the freedom of the individual were drowned out. Now those voices have been given renewed clout as a result of the Tea Party movement that has had a strong libertarian streak. The current pat-down controversy has, like the Tea Party generally, been given huge impetus by the rightwing media. Fox News has been leading on the subject, as has the Drudge Report which for several days has been dominated by links to airport security horror stories. Those have included the story of Cathy Bossy, a breast cancer survivor, who opted out of the body scan only to be told to remove her prosthetic breast during the pat down. Then there was Thomas Sawyer who was covered in his urine after a pat down tore the urostomy bag that he carries as a result of bladder cancer. Further anger has swirled around video footage of a young boy made to take his shirt off during a pat down that has gone viral on YouTube. Against that, the TSA points out that fewer than one in five of the 2,100 security lanes in U.S. airports are equipped with the new body scanners, and even in those cases pat downs are rarely administered should an alarm be sounded or the traveller opt out of the screening process.



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          • #35

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            • #36

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