Author Topic: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?  (Read 6192 times)

Offline anne f.

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Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« on: January 02, 2010, 10:25:00 PM »
Happy New Year everyone, hopefully this is not a subject that was already in discussion, I did check back a couple of pages but didn't see anything.  Has anyone had to go thru the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airport yet?  From everything I have read this technology is basically the equiv. of a strip search as the images they produce are the same as naked pictures, showing areola/nipples and genitals.

In the past I have had some pretty intrusive pat downs and even had to remove my prosthesis at the Phoenix airport which was humiliating as after I had removed it in a private room the inspector proceeded to carry my uncovered leg out to the conveyor belt scanner and flop it down on the belt right in front of everyone, my hubby who was still standing there waiting for me said people were googly eyed seeing this life like leg going along the conveyor belt, I felt this was totally handled wrong.

I have also had problems in Los Angeles where they swabbed my shoes and it came back positive for explosives  :o I was then pulled out of line and everything I had with me was individually swabbed for explosives which took quite a long time at which time this big goon leans across the counter and says to me "If anything else tests positive you will be strip searched!", eventually nothing else came back testing positive just the shoes so they are all just standing there looking at me.  I ask them could it be possible the fireworks that I watched at Disneyland produced the residue on the bottom of my shoes and the guy say's "Oh definitely" so i look at the lengthy line of tourists in line behind me and say "so do you plan on testing all of the tourists in line today, or is this just something you are reserving for amputee's?" at which point he lets me proceed.

Don't get me wrong, I am a nervous flyer at the best of times and want that plane to be as safe as possible but I am wondering what the new technology will mean for amputee's, it's either going to be a lot faster or it will be like:
1.  walk thru metal detector and instantly get waved over to get spread eagle wanded
2.  after wanding asked if I could step into Backscatter x-ray for peep show
3.  X-ray shows abnormality on lower right leg so now I step out to get an additional pat down

So if this happens it is actually going to take even longer to get thru security.  Add this to the indignity of the scanner pictures possibly being in full view of the walking traffic which it apparently is on some of the news coverage on this subject I have watched.  Other news I have read that the pictures will only be leered I mean viewed  by an individual in another room which also seems to be a bit creepy.  I mean am I supposed to feel less violated because I can't see the person who can see me naked, by that reasoning I could walk down the street naked and have my neighbors look out their windows at me but just because I can't see them it's all right for them to see me naked - what a load of crap.

In normal life the only non-related person I would expect to see me naked would be my doctor so now why should I not be offended to let some random worker at the airport see me that way, are there going to be only woman workers looking at woman and visa versa I somehow doubt it, I guess if everyone had to go thru the scanner not just the disabed etc and if they only had women inspectors looking at women etc then I am cool with it but I don't have a good feeling about it, if the new scanner is so fast and great at detecting anything out of the ordinary then why don't they completely do away with the old metal detectors and shoe removal and just have everyone go thru the Backscatter, they won't do that because most people will feel violated and will complain about it but those same people don't have any problem with amputee's or whatever having to go thru this as long as it does not affect them if you know what I mean, so has anyone had any experience with the situation yet, any thoughts on the subject?

anne f


Offline Genki_rockets

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2010, 12:51:45 AM »
I am not looking forward to my next trip.  I fly few times a year and yes, it was humiliating for me as well.  Unlike you, I wasn't even escorted to a private room.  I was asked to take my prosthesis off while everyone was watching.  My kids started crying because they saw strangers forcing me to take my leg off.  Worse, they expected me to hop over to a chiar after I take my leg off.  (My unamputated leg has drop foot and I have no control over my remaining foot so it's not even easy for me to just stand still on one leg.)

Well, I think ACA needs to do something about it.  I feel like I am abused everytime I go through a security check point at the airport. 

Offline Dick Stevens

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 01:56:41 AM »
Whoa!  Apparently big changes in the TSA procedutres??    The last several times I've flown, I had none of that hassle.  I arrive in my wheelchair and have 2 BK prostheses and forearm crutches.

The crutches go thru the xray conveyer.  I usually get scanned with a wand or a very "polite" pat-down by a same-sex agent.  They swab my shoes and top of prostheses and some part of the wheelchair.

Once in St Louis I tested positive on my shoes.  The agent asked if I had been around the big Arch downtown, which I had.  He said "OK. Fine. In the summer they often have fireworks under the Arch.  Then residue transfers from the grass to shoes."

The last I flew, the TSA was specifically forbidden to ask a person to remove a prosthesis.  Check this out on their website.

Now with the latest Detroit scare, are they want to grope everyone's crotch and women's bras for the same sort of explosive?
Dick Stevens, DBKA in PA

Offline Dick Stevens

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2010, 02:27:08 AM »
With the backscanners, ideally the screen should be hidden from the public's view, but the operator should be visible to the person being scanned.
Dick Stevens, DBKA in PA

Offline herb

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2010, 09:34:51 AM »
I fly a few times a year and always check the TSA website to see what to expect. I have been asked to remove my prosthesis but refuse on the grounds that I need supplies in my checked luggage to put it back on. The TSA inspectors can not require that you remove your prosthesis. They must be permitted to see and touch it in a private room. They have swabbed mine most times. My prosthesis is usually inspected while I am sitting in a chair in plain view. They have asked me to drop my pants so they can see  the entire prosthesis. They do take my crutches and run them through the xray but never my prosthesis. I just looked at the TSA site and it still says that amputees are not required to remove their prosthesis.

For concerns about potential rights violations, contact the TSA Office of Civil Rights at 1-877/336-4872 (TTY 800/877-8339) or tsa-contactcenter@dhs.gov.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 01:46:38 PM by herb »

Offline annieg

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2010, 12:33:53 PM »
I fly a couple of times a year and at least one of these trips is to Europe.  I have to say that I have always been treated with dignity.  The only time I was asked to take off my leg was in Paris and I refused because they didn't give me a chair and it was in public.  They took me to a private room and called a police woman, who then apologized for their behavior and sent me on my way with a smile.  At my age, I'm not too worried about the body scan I can guarantee they won't spend much time looking. LOL  I recommend that before you fly check out the TSA site and know you're rights.  Hope you are all well.  Annieg
He who limps, still walks.

Offline Dick Stevens

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2010, 12:52:03 PM »
I must say I've had nothing but good experiences with TSA, all on dostemic flights.  They seem well-trained to be polite and decreet.  Always a same-sex examiner.  I travel with a wheelchair with crutches attached to the back.  They always take the crutches and put them thru the x-ray.

When they ask about shoes, I explain it is very difficult to remove and put the shoes back on, and that I would need assistance, they don't insist, and proceeed to swab them and sometimes wand them, too.  They swab the prostheses top and bottom, and I'm either wanded or get a dicreet pat-down.  Sometimes they ask if I want a private room but I decline.

Once, they brought over a sniffer-dog who found nothing interesting.  The person next to me got not one but two dogs, one after the other, wearing different-colored vests.  I'm guessing one was trained for explosives and the other trained for drugs.  The dogs were as well-trained as their human counterparts.

I haven't encountered the new back-scatter machine yet.  As you say, Annleg, noone's gonna get their jollies watching me go thru the scanner.
Dick Stevens, DBKA in PA

Offline uScott

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2010, 12:06:37 PM »
More reasons why I simply refuse to fly commercially.  A prosthesis is no less personal and intimate than underwear; TSA rules specifically prohibit inspectors from asking for these items to be removed for inspection, and any agent who does ask should IMO be given remedial training, or fired on the spot for gross incompetence.

Offline Oneblueleg

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2010, 05:09:50 PM »
I don't understand why anyone has any issue with it at all.... it's the bombers we should have issues with, not the people trying to stop them blowing us up... these scanners sound brilliant to me... why should I worry if someone trying to protect me sees a dodgy image of me (amongst thousands of others every day) for a few seconds... people really shouldn't be so precious. Get over it, surely a quick visit to a scanner is better than getting your leg off, private or otherwise.
Believe me, the people looking at these images aren't interested in looking at you areolas.... not among all the thousands of people they have to look at day after day...

Offline anne f.

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2010, 10:53:10 PM »
I am headed to Los Angeles in a few weeks and am just trying to get an idea of what this new technology will mean for amputees and thought I would ask to see if anyone has been thru security since the changes they have made.  I don't believe they make you take your leg off nowadays, the time I had to take it off in Phoenix was a couple of years ago but as recently as last year I have been delayed for 45 minutes while they swabbed etc which is a bit excessive.

I have a Canadian passport and don't really look threatening in any way, I am a middle aged overweight housewife traveling with my husband and daughter and I don't give the security officers any kind of verbal grief and I certainly don't consider myself to be "precious"  ;D in any way.   

As far as I can tell the sole reason for getting the 3rd degree treatment is because I am an amputee.  The US may be making everyone go thru the scanners and if so I applaud them for that, here in Canada only those who are traveling to the states or who set off the metal detector are waved over for the pat down or scan which is kind of lame. Like I said before if the machines are so good why not make everyone go thru them, it just seems like they are putting on a big show for the media when in reality a huge percentage of the people walk thru security within seconds simply by removing their shoes and putting their lipstick and whatnot in a ziplock bag - what a joke!

I have no problem with the increased security, I'm just not looking forward to being one of the people they make an example of, because that's what it looks like from where I am standing and I still maintain that the inspectors viewing the camera's should be of the same sex. Personally I would rather have a woman security officer pat me down rather than go thru the scanner but my big fear is that they will somehow work it so that we will end up doing both, dragging it out even longer.

Offline guzzitx

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2010, 12:57:18 AM »
All the security hoohaa is just that.

Give this a gander.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6229512773940934022#

Offline anne f.

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2010, 01:26:07 AM »
guzzitx that link is truly scary, how on earth do they expect the security personnel at the airport to be able to detect that, I guess the explosive sniffing dogs are the only ones who might detect that, what has the world come to.



Offline Dick Stevens

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2010, 02:34:30 AM »
Anne F. 

I'm not sure if it's your amputation which is causing you the extra grief at security, or whether it's your Canadian passport?  US security folks may be worried how easy it may be to enter Canada from elsewhere in the world, and then to enter the US.

You hit the nail on the head: "What has this world come to?"

Probably too much attention is focised on how to prevent those intent on destruction from entering.....and too little attention focused on how to reduce the desire to attack in the first place.

The US - and certain other Western countries - have to ask ourselves, how have we behaved  in the world to cause so much hatred directed at us?  Uncomfortable and unpopular as it may be, we DO have to ask ourselves some hard questions.

To depend on security measures and technology to prevent an attack is folly.  For every new method of screening out would-be attackers, there's ingenious attackers who will foil these measures.

Dick Stevens, DBKA in PA

Offline ann

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2010, 05:34:50 PM »
Dick,

Lets not play Pres. Obama & apologize for being the USA....there isn't a nation on this earth who hasn't done underhanded deeds.

Offline Dick Stevens

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Re: Thoughts on the new Backscatter x-ray machines at the airports?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2010, 12:26:52 PM »
Ann:   I won't argue whether virtually all nations have done underhanded things.  But that is no excuse for the US to avoid asking itself the hard questions.

How often have we acted like the Big Bully on the block?  How many times has the US gone into other countries telling them what kind of government they should have, and who their leaders must be?

How many times have we told another nation they must not have any nuclear weapons when we hold arguably the biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons on earth?  (and which is the only nation on earth that has dropped nuclear bombs on populated cities, killing and maiming millions?)

We have rightfully decried the cruelty of the Gestapo of Nazi era and the KGB of the Soviet era, but in the last decade, the US has brought us Abu Grav, Guantanimo Bay, govt-sanctioned torture such as Waterboarding, and "Extraordinary Rendition".  Does sound to me like "the pot calling the kettle black".

We invaded and laid waste a country that had NOT attacked us (Iraq) on the false pretenses that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction (which were never found).  We ousted their leader and forced on them a new style of govrnment.

We take it upon ourselves to act as the World's Policeman.

Ann, dear friend and fellow-American, THESE are the questions we must ask ourselves.    And these are the kinds of actions that may cause others around the world to have less-than-wonderful feelings toward the US.  As a great nation, let us have the temerity and integrity to ask ourselves the hard questions and make improvements where we can.  We can do no less.

And if Mr. Obama is acting less like the Big Bad Bully and more like leader of one sovereign nation among a world of equally-sovereign nations, then I applaud him for that.
Dick Stevens, DBKA in PA