No mention of the dose. Must be quite low.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, June 28, 2003 7:54 PM
Subject: [MbrExchange] EnLG 2003june28 Here We Go Again --- naked X-rays
Remember when medical X-rays began??? Stories started that unscrupulous, licentious men could use them to see through the clothing of unsuspecting women...
Then Superman got X-ray vision, of course only for pursuing criminals.
And some of us may remember the last pages of Comic Books which sold, among other scientific things, see-thru eyeglasses (actually glare reducers which would reveal fish in shallow waters for ardent pursuit.)
Flying public may feel X-rays get too private
Airport 'backscatter' machines would boost security, but some say they're too invasive.
Orange County REGISTER Saturday, June 28, 2003 The Associated Press
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. A scanner the government is testing for airport screening reveals much more than meets the eye -- more than what is comfortable for most passengers.
Susan Hallowell, director of the Transportation Security Administration's security laboratory, sacrificed a large measure of her own modesty earlier this week to demonstrate the problem.
She stepped into a metal booth that bounced X-rays off her skin to produce a black- and-white image that revealed enough to produce a world- class blush.
Her dark skirt and blazer disappeared on the monitor, on which she showed up naked - except for the gun and bomb she had hidden under her outfit.
"It does basically make you look fat and naked, but you see all this stuff," Hallowell said.
The agency hopes to modify the machines with an electronic fig leaf - programming that fuzzes out sensitive body parts or distorts the body so it does not appear so, well, graphic.
Another option would be to restrict the screener to a booth so no passing peepers can see the image, said Randal Null, the agency's chief technology officer.
Null hopes to conduct pilot programs with the machines at several airports this year. A test run with volunteers at Orlando International Airport in Florida met with mixed results, he said.
Some were uncomfortable with the technology - called "backscatter" because it scatters X-rays - while others proclaimed it a whole lot nicer than having someone pat them down, Null said.
David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, thinks most people will object to the technology.
"The public is willing to accept a certain amount of scrutiny at the airport, but there are clearly limits to the degree of invasion that is acceptable," Sobel said. "It's hard to understand why something this invasive is necessary."
Magnetometers now used at airports cannot detect plastic weapons or substances used in explosives.
With backscatter technology, rays deflected off dense materials such as metal or plastic produce a darker image than those deflected off skin. The radiation dosage is about the same as sunshine, Hallowell said.
Backscatter machines have been available for years, priced at $100,000 to $200,000. They have been used to screen prisoners' families and South African diamond miners going home for the day.
Rep. John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on aviation, wants to persuade colleagues to focus research on technology that identifies items on people's bodies.
"The chances of someone bringing an explosive on an aircraft by walking through a metal detector or in hand- carried luggage are very real," said Mica, R-Fla.
Mica pointed out that Rich ard Reid, convicted of trying to blow up a transatlantic jetliner with explosives in his shoes, walked through metal detectors at Orly Airport in Paris several times before boarding the plane.
Null said the biggest problem with the backscatter machines may be their size. One version, the BodySearch system made by Billerica, Mass.- based American Science & Engineering, is about 4 feet by 7 feet by 10 feet - awfully big for an airport lobby, Null said.
Another backscatter system made by Hawthorne- based OSI Systems is more compact.