The spokesman who was the subject of yesterday’s post replied to me today, telling me:

“I’m a spokesperson for this airport so when I said everybody in my quote, I meant our staff and our passengers from whom we’ve had overwhelmingly positive, genuine feedback.”

“On the health point, medical and x-ray equipment experts from across the World who’ve actually examined back scatter technology in detail have concluded unanimously that it poses negligible health risks.”

“Unsurprisingly, I also don’t agree that the scanners are ineffective. Security officers are not looking for metal tins but your film is an interesting watch and has certainly fuelled imaginations. We have actually operated body scanners for three years and we know they work.”

Well, on the first one, only you know whether or not you’re being truthful, but judging by the fact that even the TSA admits to receiving hundreds of complaints, it seems that Manchester must have very selective hearing.

On the second one, I’m no doctor, but I do know that there has been no fully-independent testing of the nude body scanners. Most of the times, the government has provided “researchers” with the data and asked them to come to conclusions, rather than giving them scanners and letting them run tests. I use “researchers” lightly because such a “scientist” is but a government lackey. I also know that the x-ray machines have been shown to operate out-of-specification (calculation error… or was it??) and to leak radiation to those near it (known as overshoot, which will affect the screeners more than anyone else). I also know that the most deadly computer programming error ever involved an x-ray machine that was “totally safe” until it accidentally overdosed its subjects, most of whom died a horribly painful death. Finally, I also know that the screeners are not qualified, even by the TSA’s own policies, to run radiation machines.

But that last one — the efficacy claim — I happen to know a lot about. 🙂 In March 2012, I took an undetected metal container through both backscatter and MMW ATD nude body scanners. The whole point of these things was supposed to be to detect non-metallic explosives, which my metal container could have been full of. To say that they are effective when they have been proven otherwise seems to be a matter of believing what you want to believe.

But Manchester, or any other airport with nude body scanners, if you would like an efficacy test, I would be happy to provide one. Get in touch with me and get me the proper approvals and paperwork, and we can have a challenge to see what can and cannot be brought past your security. My only condition is that we publish the results.

Somehow I don’t expect any takers on that one. I wonder why?