Darpa and Homeland Security working on Next Generation Airport Scanners

Forget about those old, defective, useless, dangerous airport body scanners in which governments spent millions of dollars.


It took how long?… Hmmm… Let’s see… 5 years for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the main pusher of full body scanners, to admit that its toy of choice is a defective, useless and dangerous piece of junk. We all knew that a while ago, of course, and so did they. The inaccuracy, ineffectiveness and negative health consequences of the use of body scanners has been proven in multiple occasions before, but the DHS waited until it could no longer hide the fraud, to show a slight interest to ‘improve’ the technology.

As we reported before, the people with more to lose due to the adoption of full body scanners were their operators, who have gotten seriously ill after working around the scanners for 5 or 10 years.  On our article from June 28, 2011, we unveiled how numerous body scanner operators suddenly began discovering multiple cancerous tumors in their bodies. Back then, the Electronic Privacy Information Center obtained documents that showed how Transportation Security Administration  workers got sick with cancer, heart disease and stroke after being exposed to the radiation from the scanners.

This fact was denied by the TSA and the DHS just as they denied the ineffectiveness of the scanners in detecting whatever they were meant to find. The danger of getting sick due to the radiation together with the explicit violation of privacy and the proven incapacity of the scanners to detect objects attached to a human body, reinforced calls from the public and human rights organizations to stop the use of the scanners and the presence of TSA workers at security checkpoints in airports.

As in most cases of government fraud, the DHS is now requesting new technology to conduct the illegal searches and seizures of personal belongings in 180 airports around the United States. It seems that the more than 700 full body scanners are simply not doing the job anymore. The DHS has now asked DARPA to look into a new generation of image generators that are smaller, more precise and less vulnerable to hacking.

As many readers remember, DHS swore that images of passengers were not stored after completing a scan, but the public later learned that the scanners did in fact collect the images in computers that were connected to them. TSA workers were found to use the images to crack jokes on passengers or look at anyone’s private parts. But not only did the scanners store the images, they also were fit with the technology to send those images to a database. In fact, the TSA had required to the manufacturers that all airport scanners had to be able to store and transmit images for “testing, training, and evaluation purposes.”

Last Monday, the DHS and DARPA announced that the coming scanners will try to accomplish two main objectives. First, what they defined as “real-time utilization of compressive measurement techniques.” According to both entities, this aspect will improve the collection of images. The scanners will also be less cumbersome and will have a more precise and reliable detection capacity, they said. So that is like saying, ‘we’ll make the violation of your privacy and constitutional rights a little bit more convenient.’

“The research seeks to identify novel signatures distinct from those typically employed in conventional X-ray tomography systems and multi-view dual energy projection scans,” they explained.

The second goal is to make memory chips less prone to being hacked into. The chips will need to have high-levels of functionality at a lower cost, while consuming less energy and more reliability. That means travelers will be stripped of their constitutional rights through the use of environmentally friendly technology. The scanners must have “extremely high-endurance, near unlimited wear for write, read, and erase cycles.”

The arrival of the full body scanners occurred after s supposed terrorist attempt to light up a bomb — the famous underwear bomber — on a plane going to Detroit, Michigan. This alleged terrorist plot was fake and by many considered a false-flag to help push the adoption of the scanners. In fact, the supposed bomber was later identified as a CIA double agent, who was helped into boarding the plane without having a passport. Kurt Haskell and his wife, who were witnesses on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 saw Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab at the boarding gate in Amsterdam.

Regarding the use of the scanners to indiscriminately screen passengers, the ACLU said that the machines produce “strikingly graphic images of passengers’ bodies, essentially taking a naked picture.” Both the DHS and the TSA ignored the questions about privacy and safety. As many readers are aware, the Backscatter X-ray scanners literally carry out a “virtual strip search,” which is only warranted by the Constitution if the agents have probable cause.

Both DHS and DARPA will meet on September 18 to discuss further details about the next generation of scanners. The new strategy will include both the search of passengers as well as a new way to check baggage. For this, DARPA is expected to present his Knowledge Enhanced Compressive Measurement program, a system created “to gather even more and better quality information.”

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