More full-body scanner controversy

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01/25/2010

There's no let up to this debate about whether or not full-body scanners should be more widely adapted in aviation security. An article in the Huffington Post claims that during a test of the technology on a German television show, the scanner was unable to detect some of the components on a person's body.

Schneir on Security concludes, "Full-body scanners: they're not just a dumb idea, they don't actually work."

But there are a lot of people in the industry saying that this technology is far more effective than what is currently being deployed. There are obvious limitations to metal detectors and basically nothing in place (other than pat downs) to identify objects on people's bodies. But, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that there is no silver bullet for improving security in airports. While improved technology certainly plays a part, better training of employees is equally critical, as is improved communication and intelligence gathering.

According to this press release, Secretary Napolitano met with with members of the International Air Transport Association—which represents approximately 230 airlines and more than 90 percent of the world’s air traffic—in Geneva in an effort to work with the airline industry to meet both international and U.S. Transportation Security Administration security standards.

She outlined four broad areas for international public-private collaboration that will help bolster efforts to protect the aviation system while facilitating legitimate travel: improving information collection and analysis; increasing information sharing and collaboration in passenger vetting; enhancing international security standards; and deploying new screening technology.

Since the Christmas day terrorist attempt, the TSA has issued new security directives, including enhanced screening for anyone holding a passport issued by "nations that are state sponsors of terrorism."