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View Diary: The Staggering Cost of Playing it "Safe" (196 comments)

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  •  Speaking of which, how about the Strip Search (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brein

    tecnology that's coming to an airport concourse near you? A "defense" contractor develops a "millimieter-wave" imaging system that lets the prurient TSA and security forces see through your clothes,  just the way the old "x-ray glasses" sold in comic books for decades were supposed to. And then lobbies Congress and TSA and anyone else they can reach to peddle the devices, at a couple hundred thousand a pop, to be installed everywhere.
    And these things are supposed to be "secure" in the sense that there's no recoding of the virtual nudity, no storing of info on the "traveler,"  and no way to see the face of the person being zapped in lieu of the incompetent pat-downs now being administered.

    It's all bullshit, just way stations on the fast train to the repressive state.

    Where's Neo when you need him?

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Sun Jun 21, 2009 at 02:53:56 PM PDT

    •  Don't mistake technophobia for legitimate fear of (0+ / 0-)

      intrusive government. Any sensor or security device can be misused in the wrong hands, that's why we have laws and regulations about using such things.

      T-Ray (AKA millimeter radar) technology is a good thing in that it can quickly and easily detect hidden objects which can't be detected with x-rays or metal detectors, meaning it can easily detect things like explosive charges or non-metallic weapons.

      Yes, it can "see through" clothing, but it just builds up a false color computer image of objects underneath, so it's hardly prurient. Unless they're really hard up and have really good imaginations, don't expect security guards to get much erotic satisfaction from watching t-ray scans. While T-rays might reveal the size of a man's package, they're not going to show the world his Prince Albert piercing or the Hello Kitty tattoo on his butt. Likewise, the scans I've seen don't reveal hair, subtle facial features, eye or skin color, or similar features, making it difficult to use the images for identification.

      So, while we can argue about whether such security measures make sense, whether it's worth adopting millimeter-wave radar surveillance given its cost, or whether it is legitimate for the government to retain images obtained using millimeter wave radar. I don't buy the invasion of privacy or "virtual strip search" arguments. Personally, I'd consider a pat-down search to be more intrusive than a radar scan.  

      •  non-metallic weapons (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StrayCat

        So, while we can argue about whether such security measures make sense, whether it's worth adopting millimeter-wave radar surveillance given its cost, or whether it is legitimate for the government to retain images obtained using millimeter wave radar. I don't buy the invasion of privacy or "virtual strip search" arguments. Personally, I'd consider a pat-down search to be more intrusive than a radar scan.  

        So why do they still perform both procedures, (body-scan with mm-radar and pat-down) sometimes on the same person? During one lengthy line-wait, I watched a senior white woman undergo this procedure - perhaps polyester pants are lethal non-metallic weapons?

        Pendelton State University is a college located in Rutherford, Ohio.

        by annieli on Sun Jun 21, 2009 at 05:00:58 PM PDT

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      •  Are you maybe one of those folks who has "nothing (0+ / 0-)

        to hide," and are either in possession of a get-out-of-jail-free card like some other folks of a "conservative persuasion" seem to be (I am taking it from your handle that you are in that set), or live a lily-pure life without crime or sin and a name that doesn't somehow slip into that infallible "no-fly and watch list"? Have nothing to fear from ECHELON and all the other technological intrusions? And say that no intrusion into what little is left of our "freedom" and "liberties" and "rights" is too much of a price to pay for "keeping those sacred rights secure"?

        Kind of curious which "false-color" scans you have seen -- the one in the link I added seems pretty complete and at least to my thinking qualifies as soft porn. And I'm sure it's of course not technologically possible, in the face of this profitable new technology, to shape a bit of explosive like Semtex or C-4 so it escapes detection.

        But hey, we all need to come to the realization that the "security impulse" that impels the likes of J. Edgar Humorless and all our G-men and spooks and such is eventually all-conquering. After all, "threats" are everywhere. Threats from and to WHAT, I guess that's up to the steely-eyed patriots to say. As they say in Borg-land, "Resistance is futile."

        Technophobia, my foot.

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Sun Jun 21, 2009 at 06:58:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, deep-dyed liberal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jm214

          I chose my handle on the spur of the moment because I've been "blue in a red state" most of my life and because I wanted to stick KKKarl Rove's "Permanent Republican Majority" quip up his ass and out his throat. A Permanent Republican Minority is also one of my pipe dreams and "Successful RICO prosecutions against the RNC and their Corporate Masters, followed by long prison sentences for all those involved" is too long a handle.

          That said, I tend to be libertarian about technology - you can't hold it back, you can only try to keep people from using it in unethical ways. That's why the "unreasonable search and seizure" part of the 4th Amendment is so critical. It's why cops could use IR cameras to scan everyone's house for the telltale signatures of the grow lights used for indoor pot cultivation, but they can't, because the Supreme Court said they can't (back when the SC had a conscience).

          Millimeter wave radar is potentially a very cool imaging tool which might have non-security uses, like fast 3D rendering of objects, once the price goes down. Just because the first application is defense/security doesn't mean that we should fear it. After all, the original radar was originally spooky secret defense technology, and now it's a critical tool in all sorts of non-military fields.

          The millimeter wave false color scans I've seen of people are mostly black and white or grayscale - as seen on a Google image search. Sure, you can make them flesh-colored, but I'd still call it a poor substitute for porn. Anyhow, the makers of millimeter wave radars are very concerned about revealing peoples' naughty bits (conservatives get really uptight about seeing those sorts of things - at least in public), so the operating system pixelates the crotch area in the scans.

          Your point about millimeter wave radar not being able to identify explosives is valid, as are your concerns about creeping authoritarianism in the name of "security." I very much believe the Ben Franklin quote about "Those who would give up a little freedom in exchange for safety deserve neither." My point, though, was that it's not the technology we need to fear, it's the mindset that got us into this mess.

          •  Amen to all of the above. (0+ / 0-)

            Any thoughts as to whether the rat-on-your-neighbor, spy-on-everyone-because-We-in-the-Matrix-can, we-believe-the-myth-of-Control authoritarianism is treatable disease or just one of the outstanding death warrants on our species?

            And just one more observation about deadly mindsets and technology. You note the "first" application of the very cool millimeter-wave imaging is "defense/security," with others to follow. The first application of the Frisbee was "toy," but DoD and its contractors did try to turn it into a improved-range grenade-type weapon that the draftee youth of America was well acquainted with already.

            And on that note, we should never forget that the Really Smart People who profit from keeping us on the War Toy Treadmill were wise enough, back in 1949, to change the label of the "War Department" to the "Department of Defense." Because what sane person could be against "defense?" Hey, a Trident missile or theater IRBM capable of depressed trajectory, minutes-to-target launching is all about "defense," right? I just love the twisted logic and the delicious insanity of MAD and "massive retaliation" and "first strike capability."

            And it looks way too much like the Roves and dickless Cheneys, etc., are off the hook.

            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

            by jm214 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 04:30:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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