First, thank you. All of you. The support has been crazy. My e-mail has not stopped making noise, nor has my phone. I know when my original lawsuit came out, the response was largely positive, but there were many who didn’t think the scanners were a big deal — “anything for our safety.” A year and a half later, I’m very pleased to report that America is awakening, and comments in support outnumber comments against by 20 to 1 on every site I’ve seen. Making not only Drudge Report, but also #1 spots on Slashdot, Y Combinator, and Reddit is an unbelievable honor as a tech person. We’ve had nearly one million hits here at this blog and who knows how many more via YouTube and the plethora of mirrors. Thank you also for the donations — it makes it much easier for me to get my legal fight against the TSA accomplished!
I’ve had a few requests for the full versions of the hidden videos that I took in the airports. I’ve posted them here (audio didn’t sync well, but oh well):
FLL (BKSX) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OMWH0Tl-5A
CLE (MMW ATD) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCrnCEgRDEg
The TSA’s official response (from Blogger Bob — blog.tsa.gov) was that “some guy” posted a video that was “a crude attempt to allegedly show how to circumvent TSA screening procedures.” The response then went on to say that they “can’t discuss” it and that the nude body scanners are just “one layer” of security so not to worry.
¿Que? You just spent $1B on a system that makes us LESS safe than the system you replaced — invading our privacy and rights in the meantime — and all you’re going to do is make fun of my research, which put your agency to shame, for being “crude?” Which “layer” do you think is going to address the fact that it’s trivial to bring a gun through AIT? Is it the “behavior detection” program that failed to detect me taking (not very) hidden camera footage while bringing a metallic object through the AIT?
This “layer” is broken, in SO many ways, and not another dollar should be spent on it. Sell the scanners, and buy dogs. I do hope that my video is the last straw for Congress in funding this agency, and I am optimistic that we’ve reached that turning point!
Edit: One more thing, guys! The TSA could have chosen a lot of ways to respond to this, and they selected “downplay it.” The only way they can win with this method is if we all let it go. Keep at them! Opt-out of the scanners at the airports (I *ALWAYS* do — the two times you see me going through AIT in the video are the only two times I’ve ever been through a TSA scanner — and in fact, I opt-out of having my genitals touched during pat-downs, which often gets me kicked out of airports), and PLEASE KEEP AT YOUR LEGISLATORS! I know it often times seems like you’re talking to deaf ears, but the message, slowly, surely, does get through! –Jon
There is a reason customs and border patrol stopped using them. Smugglers had figured out how to get items past them. It also should be noted that Rapiscan, the makers of these crap machines donated heavily to congress members.
Thats typical isnt it anything for a buck and screw your fellow Americans and thats why Congress has a 4% approval rating Totally Shameful
I just hope your eye-opening report doesn’t end up like the August 6th Presidential Daily Briefing. In other words, I hope the government gets their shit together and dumps these machines for something that WORKS!
Thank YOU Jon for putting your ass on the line, literally. And yes, I just ordered a whole new set of address labels with a LIBERTY theme on them because I fully intend to keep writing to Congress about Truly Stupid Atrocities. Your experiment will be among the items in my next letter.
Hope your experiment can be verified. Hate to say it but since you have a vendetta against the TSA (and vise-versa) then any experiment like this — poor video, no collaboration — has to be taken with a grain of salt. On the other hand it is only someone like yourself who is filled with the desire to prove that the TSA is full of … well, it take a motivated person to do this type of legwork.
Being a skeptic is what brought me to this point, so I appreciate. Verifying my work really isn’t that hard… the sewing took no more than 15 minutes 😉
TSA THREATENS MSM NOT TO COVER STORY…that sounds like a confirmation and a TSA COVERUP.
Watergate was at least professional. These people are amateurs. And I happened to like Nixon at the time…I felt sorry for him…
I know better now.
I thought the official response was kind of amusing. If Microsoft were to give such a response to a security vulnerability report, I’d be able to charge a few thousand dollars an hour doing migrations to Linux…..
The response should have been “We would have appreciated more warning but we are investigating this and will take corrective actions as necessary” along with maybe a discussion of defense in depth etc. Unfortunately what we got was an attempt to be dismissive in a way that quite frankly terrifies me as someone with decent software security experience…..
A non-invasive method as sensitive as the canine nose has existed for a long time (improvements on sensitivity with less false positives than a canine forthcoming), and it has been purchased and used by US DHS, Army, and Navy. They’ve used it in Iraq and Afghanistan to sense out IEDs and other explosives.
The virtual strip searches were the chosen method for two reasons: those in our government who benefit from their relationships with the nude scanner company and as a way to continue pushing what Americans will accept from the government for the erosion of our Constitution and freedoms. It reminds me of Jews in the Nazi concentration camps being marched nude into the gas ovens (the brain child of Fabian Socialists as a way to eliminate undesirables).
A dog is only as good as its handler – like any other tool.
I wouldn’t want somebody trained in the Pistole and Napolitano school of Totalitarian Liberty-destroying Searches and Seizures handling dogs at checkpoints any more than I would want them wanding me or looking over my papers.
Framed in the right context (a Constitutional-honoring context), dogs may be an effective security tool. In a police state context, they can be used to instill fear in citizens.
Please reread and check your comprehension. It isn’t a dog. It’s a device that samples the air and detects explosive residues with great sensitivity, *comparable* to a dog’s nose. It doesn’t need to touch you. You just need to pass by it. Watch the video of the nomad version for a better idea.
NFS – okay, I stand corrected. I have seen way too many posts on boards by people thinking that all trained dogs are as amiable as Lassie.
Any mechanical/chemical detecting device can be wrong, and when it is wrong is when the Constitution and our freedoms are really put to the test.
My comments about device handlers trained in the Pistole and Napolitano School of Searches and Seizures stands. In the wrong hands, it is a weapon turned against us. In the right hands, it can be an effective security measure.
Nothing is perfect, but at least there would be probable cause for them to look more closely at a traveler rather than blatant violation of the 4th Amendment on a regular basis. False positives can be further minimized by redundancy, and the TSA searching travelers for explosive materials would become a rarity rather than the current guilty-until-proven-innocent, every-traveler-is-invasively-searched method they use now.
well done, dude.
I really hope your vendetta against the TSA has motivated you to create a false video. I want to believe that, because that is much easier to believe than the government spending $1B+ to make us less safe. Unfortunately; I cannot believe that – I hope that there are some considerations from their side that you are glossing over, but regardless, great job for looking out for us fellow Americans.
Amit, you must realize by now that the Govt is the one lying to you. Please, open your eyes. The Govt has already admitted to selling dangerous weapons to Mexican drug cartels so that the cartels will use them to kill Americans, thus justifying further infringement on our right to bear arms. The Govt is only out to increase its power and weaken ours.
Actually, even if these machines address the current problem, they still make us less safe than before. The correct way to use these is to put everyone through a metal detector, single out high risk people for extra screening, and put them through a body scanner afterwards. The problem is not with the technology, but rather with the concept. These have larger blind spots than metal detector. For example unlike metal detectors they cannot look inside of body cavities. And if you adjust to say a hard x-ray, what about pregnant women?
I sure do wish you luck and send you my heartfelt support, but, I will eat my hat if we ever get an iota of our freedom back. The “new” government serves its clients – big business, and that means no rules for government or big business. They want only enough government to keep the masses down at gunpoint while they get away with everything and anything. More than a bit cynical I know but go ahead and tell me I’m wrong. Please.
You will never “get” freedom back. You have to TAKE it back. Like the Boston Tea Partiers did. And, in their own way, the pilgrims. And, in their own way, the hippies. Like Occupy (World-Wide) Wall Street was trying to do.
Rise up and revolt! Instead of “Workers of the World, Unite!” it is now “Citizens of the World, Unite!”.
Society goes in cycles; the oppressed becomes the oppressor, and then the cycle continues. Take a look at almost any African state to see how the liberators become the oppressors; you guys have done well to hold them at bay for so long.
Thanks for keeping at it Jon.
I’ve posted your video on my blog. Thanks for standing up to and exposing the pathetic tactics of the TSA.
You are a great American.
blogger bob. Oh, the doofosity.
Oh my, I love playing with words and “doofosity” for Bloghdad Bob makes my day!
The TSA doesn’t care about metal in your pockets or if the program ends in a year or two. The purpose of the backscatter device is not to detect anything being taken onto airplanes – it’s to create a database of body types for crime fighting. There was a documentary years ago when the backscatter device was in development that explained the intent of the unit was to assist law enforcement to render full body 3D images of suspects. They were able to do it with faces because there are so many cameras monitoring us now and a huge number of faces available to build the 3D images. But they were unable to render 3D images of bodies that would match the faces because no huge amount of people will voluntarily go thru one of those devices without compensation – and they need hundreds of thousands of images to make it work. It’s just a clever gimmick to allow the government to build a large database of body types so the algorithms can be programmed. This is necessary so the 3D full body rendering program will allow a satellite computer searching a crowd (which is already being used via facial recognition) to more easily identify a suspect based on the body type that would fit the facial features of the suspect. In the documentary, the creators of the backscatter device even said they didn’t know how they were going to build this database of full body images – enter easily duped naive hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans who voluntarily submit to the research and very cheap info for the company that built the device!! Your fight is meaningless – within a few years they will have computers watching our every move and the bad guys will have nowhere to hide…
Thanks for keeping at it Jon.
You are a true patriot. My friends and I (some whom are pilots) are well aware of a myriad of ways we could outsmart the entire system if we were hell bent on destruction. The TSA is about control, intimidation and conditioning people to believe they have no rights. Based on European studies, it is conclusive that the scanners emit risky amounts of radiation. The machines are a complete violation of our fourth amendment rights- and on principle people should refuse to submit to the TSA’s draconian presence. When will people wake up? Tell me about one Federal government agency that truly has your best interest at heart- Social security? Bankrupt. The I.R.S? Legal extortion and slavery. Medicare and Medicaid? Wasteful, bureaucratic, pathetic. Homeland Security? The Unconstitutional NDAA of 2012 was passed, because they are going to need it. The Federal Reserve? Evil. Truly evil. And the TSA? Draconian gestapo tactics that would have been unimaginable 12 years ago.
Hey man, just a quick comment about “opting out of having genitals touched”…I’ve never gone through one of these scanners, I’ve “opted out” of the scan twice. Usually, I can maneuver myself into a metal detector lane, but the two times I’ve opted out, once they let me go, no scan, no grope, nothing (Tell me that isn’t kind of scary?), and the other time I got the grope, but it didn’t touch my “junk”, I didn’t feel violated. It was “more invasive” then a traditional police pat-down, but my crotch wasn’t even grazed, so, maybe my two experiences are far from the norm.
As for your original post, thanks for this. America should be kept safe while preserving our liberties and our budget, and every voice like yours is one more chance to get back to that.
Thanks for the comment. The intrusiveness of the pat-downs vary from screener to screener, and some screeners half-ass it and will not “touch your junk,” either out of lazyness, disgust, or perhaps some refuse to follow orders to violate citizens. But, if they are doing it according to the book, the must touch your genitals 4 times (once on each leg from the front, one on each leg from the back). As mentioned, I’ve specifically said to screeners, “I consent to a pat-down, but you may not touch my genitals,” which results in the police coming to escort me out of the airport.
When you have a moment, I have posted a response to your video regarding smuggling items through TSA AIT scanners, Why You Can’t Smuggle ‘Anything’ Through #TSA Scanners- bit.ly/w9B7yK
I have been covering the TSA since November 19 2001 as a journalist. I am neither for or against the agency. While the agency at one point sent two Federal Agents to my house three times in two days, then took one of my laptops to find nothing, I still cover the agency in all lights. They are neither a good or bad agency, they are an agency that needs a different structure.
But anyway … read my post today. You may find it interesting.
The TSA is a joke. After 9 11 I was not scared by any terrorist threat. I flew to Las Vegas within two weeks after the airports reopened. I always brought a Double Gulp with me to fly as I drink a lot of Mt Dew…love that stuff too much. They let me fly to Vegas with it. However two weeks later they refused to let me through the gate until I HAD TO DRINK THE ENTIRE HALF GALLON in front of them.
Well you can guess what I was doing before that flight…
So the stewardess asks me if I wanted something to drink. I replied that I wanted a can of spicy tomato juice and a can of regular tomato juice. She told me that she could not do that. I asked her why not. She told me that she would have to give me a cup of ice with that…
So I asked her for the same with the cup of ice then she served me. Fidgetting with an empty can I was ruminating on the conversation. Then it hit me…
RIP…TEAR…INSTANT KNIFE. This was just as dangerous as any box cutter.
I still have those cans. Anyway I published this story online.
The next time I flew some years later I was subjected to a strip search and an Air Marshall flew with me. I ordered the same drinks…with a cup of ice. THEY SERVED ME.
WHY BOTHER SMUGGLING ANYT WEAPON ON AN AIRCRAFT WHEN THEY ARE SO WILLING TO HAND ONE TO YOU???
Don’t ya feel safe?
listen to http://www.noagendashow.com. They covered it long time ago. The scanners are useless. “Someone” just got a kickback from the sale. Interestingly enough – all these scanners were sitting in the warehouse because no airport facility wanted to buy them. Until we had underpants bomber…. who was escorted to the plane by the two men in black suites and without the passport. Go figure. Right?
You might want to read this from December 28 2009 – Myth: Flight NW253 Terrorist Boarded The Flight With No Passport – http://bit.ly/6uxosd
This post details many aspects of why what you are stating is incorrect on many levels.
I don’t get why the metal detector alarm didn’t go off even if the metal was hidden in the scanner visual background?
Because TSA has stopped using metal detectors now that they have these new whizbang nude body scanners. That’s why the metal detector didn’t alarm.
Your test was “crude”? Didn’t the 9/11 terrorists use “crude” weapons? I love the way the TSA tries to discount your efforts by calling you names. I applaud your efforts.
I note that sports cups are not on the list of prohibited items. Maybe worth wearing one through airport securty and opting for the pat down, letting the officer know, in advance, that one is being worn…..
“I don’t want you to touch my junk so I am wearing a sports cup….”
Thank you for the confirmation of your ignorance. If you REALLY did your homework – your research is so 20 seconds ago . . . . maybe 25. If you don’t like what is going on . . . leave. I am sure other countries would appreciate you way more than I do at this moment. If you would get off your priveledged ass and see that the US is protecting you and not violating your privacy you just might get it. You are wrong about your “intel” information too . . . so wrong. By the way, there are other forms of transportation that I am sure TSA would be happy to see you take – then there is no problem. As they say, there is a reason for everything – you are not, like most of the public, are not privy to this. If you were you would lose your coiffed hair. I am an American. You are what is called a SPOILED American. Stop spreading your ignorance and be part of the solution. Set Americans up for success – not failure. You are like the crab in the barrel that pulls down the other crabs that try to do something. Damn, however I don’t condemn you . . . just do something useful with your time. You are young, you still have mother’s milk on your breath . . . do something with your life. Actually, just live – it does a body good. BTW . . . thanks for the confirmation that people like you really do waste my time. Have a great day!!!
A few quick notes in response to “Aware Citizen.”
The first is that if Microsoft responded to a security report the way the TSA did in this case, I would be able to charge a few thousand an hour to help companies migrate to Linux. The response is bad. I am not as anti-TSA as the blogger here. I think we need to be talking about problems and hashing out solutions, and if you simply get rid of the TSA, the government will find something to take their place.
However, the initial security hole that lead to this discussion is mindboggling to me. The TSA should be scoping this out, and determining whether it is really something that can be easily and systematically attacked. If so, they should fix it. I have been arguing since these machines came out that they should only be used in conjunction with metal detectors anyway (and preferably, IMHO, only on people where there is an articulable suspicion that they may be a security risk).
But instead of this we get a post which is extremely dismissive.
Here’s the point: If the TSA officers miss a random 25% of explosives, that’s acceptable to me. It makes it hard to organize an attack which is done by only one person and the more people that are involved, the better chance law enforcement has to break up the attack. However missing a random 25% is different from missing most explosives in a certain category, and this is what this particular report alleges. They should be scoping this out, and seeing what they need to do to fix the problem. Instead they respond, like too many people, by trying to shoot the messenger. My experience in IT is that people who respond to security reports in this way are the last people you want to trust with your safety.
I recommend reading the Constitution and Bill of Rights, that is what made America great and this is a direct violation to those documents!
You obviously don’t travel often, I travel a lot and I always opt out because those scanners are not good for your health, they weaken the immune system and make you more open to cancer and other disease. Not to mention that you should not be forced to be radiated or have radio waves smashed into your body at such a rate. Anyways, the TSA agent just yesterday felt my crotch, yes she touched it fully, this is not the first time. I was wearing light cotton shorts and she felt all the way up, all the way, touched my boobs, my butt everything. This is a REAL problem, it’s happening to children too, the guy in the video is not exaggerating, this is all about taking our freedoms away and getting people used to being manhandled and pushed around by the govt, it has nothing to do with security and when you see how the TSA people treat you when you OPT OUT, you will understand, they are militant and rude, no human emotion at all, it’s disgusting!
It is well thought out, reasoned arguments like this that will improve national security.*
Your entire post attacks the person and yet does not in any way provide a rebuttal.
You called the author:
Bad research “so 25 secionds ago”
priveledged (sic) [this is a bad thing?]
“intel” [mockery and arrogance]
“coiffed hair” [there ya go with your class warfare again]
“Crab in a barrel” [??]
too young to know better (by inference) “mother’s milk on your breath”
useless “confirmation that people like you waste my time”
WOW – All that and not one fact. Not one theory. Not one bit of logic. On the internet, I think you would be called a Troll. Oh wait…
My question is: Why focus on airport security in the first place? You can explode just as many people on a bus (I realize they are migrating their way to all forms of transportation). Way more in a something like a movie theater or even more in a stadium. A church maybe? Those are often the targets right in the heart of crazy Islamic territory….oh ya that’s right, Islam is a religion of peace. It’s the local white guy we need to be worried about now, especially if he’s a Christian. I heard they are the most blood thirsty of them all. There is no sense in it except for the purpose of a police state.
“The Natural Law Remedy to TSA Airline Security Groping” provides the law underlying TSA searches, and some approaches you can take. E.g., it is against state laws to touch children because of harm; children cry at TSA’s hands. The parent as GUARDIAN cannot cannot waive the child’s right to be free of molestation.
The dilemma of harming children to protect society does not occur in a free society.
Free download: http://www.naturallawremedy.com/Downloads.htm.
Also see “How to Disobey Unjust Laws”:
Hi, well you obviously don’t travel often, I travel a lot and I always opt out because those scanners are not good for your health, they weaken the immune system and make you more open to cancer and other disease. Not to mention that you should not be forced to be radiated or have radio waves smashed into your body at such a rate. Anyways, the TSA agent just yesterday felt my crotch, yes she touched it fully, this is not the first time. I was wearing light cotton shorts and she felt all the way up, all the way, touched my boobs, my butt everything. This is a REAL problem, it’s happening to children too, the guy in the video is not exaggerating, this is all about taking our freedoms away and getting people used to being manhandled and pushed around by the govt, it has nothing to do with security and when you see how the TSA people treat you when you OPT OUT, you will understand, they are militant and rude, no human emotion at all, it’s disgusting!