Beating TSA Body Scanners: Video Breaks it Down

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A video appearing online Tuesday claims to expose a major flaw in the body scanner security devices that are being increasingly employed in airport security lines, sporting events, and other venues. The video is a production of TSA Out of Our Pants!, a blog criticizing the TSA for its invasion of American citizens' privacy and its $8 billion annual burden to taxpayers. Blog author Jonathan Corbett--who has filed a lawsuit against the TSA with allegations of violating the Fourth Amendment, the Civil Rights Act, and more--explained his impetus for producing the video.

"[W]hile America was testing these devices, Rafi Sela, who ran security for Ben Gurion airport in Israel, which is known for being one of the most secure airports in the world, was quoted saying he could “overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to take down a Boeing 747,” and Ben Gurion therefore refused to buy scanners. The US ignored this warning, and Mr. Sela never publicly explained his statement. But it stuck with me.

Here's the full video:

The key to tricking the scanners, says Corbett, is to conceal metallic objects on the side of your body, where they'll show up in the scan (or rather, won't show up) as black objects against a black background.

"In these samples, the individuals are concealing metallic objects that you can see as a black shape on their light figure. Again that’s light figure, black background, and BLACK threat items. Yes that’s right, if you have a metallic object on your side, it will be the same color as the background and therefore completely invisible to both visual and automated inspection."

He then proceeds to demonstrate how he was able to carry a small metal case through security both at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Cleveland-Hopkins International Airports.

Corbett's aim is not to aid terrorists, he claims, but rather to point out the scanners' security flaw in order to encourage the TSA to decommission the scanners in favor of more reliable--and less invasive--means.

"So let’s fix this problem — now — before the terrorists take this opportunity to hurt us: the TSA must immediately end the nude body scanner program, and return to the tried-and-true metal detectors that actually work, and work without invading our privacy, as well as implement better solutions for non-metallic explosives, such as bomb-sniffing dogs and trace detection machines."

What's your opinion on body scanners, privacy rights, and Corbett's video? Should Corbett be applauded, arrested, or something else entirely for revealing this security flaw? You can let us know in the comments.

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