December 30, 2009

Web Sites Display Stolen N-a-k-e-d Full Body Scan Images!

Greetings. Here's a "fun" question to think about as we get ready to close out 2009. With politicians clamoring for massive deployment of full body scanners at airports, how long do you imagine it will take before we start to see headlines like the title of this posting, inappropriately blaming the Internet generally and Search Engines in particular for the mess that these scanners are likely to create?

Subscription sites for body scan celebrity images (and different sorts of sites focused on imagery of children) would seem inevitable, as well as more routine "gawking at the big breasts" sites.

Despite claims of privacy improvements, most of these full body scanners still present imagery in astonishing detail.

Getting the images to the outside world will be relatively straightforward, despite the claims that images aren't recorded and that observers will be isolated.

When there's money to be made, it will be done.

Saving the images should be pretty easy. The observers simply need any sort of small (and you can get them teeny tiny these days!) digital image capture device that they can use to shoot images directly from the scanner display screens. If camera cell phones aren't allowed in the "naked body observation chambers," any of many other minuscule digital image devices -- if necessary easy to sneak in using the same sorts of techniques that would-be terrorists will use to defeat the body scanners -- can be employed.

Observers can snap images of general or specific interest for the amusement of friends and family, and for local posting on nearby walls, then upload the best ones to the Web sites later. "Wow, take a look at the [blank] on that [blank] -- Whooo!"

Celebrity shots (including politicians of course) would require a bit of coordination. The easiest way would be to simply have an associate near the body scanners to allow for matching up images (based on time of scan) after the fact. "Yeah, Senator Bilbo and his family came through at 8:05. You got those? Great!" Real-time signaling using a variety of easily accessible means will often be another possibility of course, depending on the logistical set up at any given airport.

Sound far fetched? Too complicated? Nobody would bother?

Given human nature ... ya' really wanna bet?

Oh, and by the way, while the body scanners will probably be great at finding nail clippers that the magnetometers missed, you definitely can rest assured that any serious terrorists will either (a) target the wide variety of venues other than airports and/or (b) hide their explosives through a variety of uncomfortable but certainly not novel methods that these body scanners can't touch, including orifice insertions, and external masking techniques taking advantage of the limitations of these scanners.

When it becomes obvious how easily the current body scanners can be defeated by determined terrorists, are we ready for full strength, full-body x-rays and/or routine body cavity searches for the privilege of flying? Because those are the obvious next steps that are already in use among other "captive" audiences (such as inmates).

The only real cure for terrorism is coordinated intelligence -- in the IQ, political, and "three-letter agency" senses. Trying to scan and search terrorists out of existence makes for a fine show and votes in the next election, but simply guarantees that those persons who hate us will adjust their techniques and targets to render our expensive and depersonalizing anti-terror scanning efforts ever more impotent and useless.


Blog Update (January 9, 2010): Fun With Body Scanner Images -- and Cutting Through the Body Scanner Bull

Posted by Lauren at December 30, 2009 09:58 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein