TSA and the Radiation Machines 101

Old Aug 10, 11, 12:48 pm
  #1  
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TSA and the Radiation Machines 101

http://www.qtripper.com/travel-news/...-machines-101/

We wrote a guide for our readers, many whom have never traveled to the US, about the TSA and expectations.

It was hard to find quality information on the millimeter wave machines, but I think we did a good job.

Is there anything we missed that FT would recommend we add?
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Old Aug 10, 11, 12:57 pm
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Traveling creates a set of expectations; you expect an on time departure and arrival, you expect the airline not lose or delay your luggage, and you expect the Transport Security Agency (TSA) to protect you. In pursuit of ‘your protection,’ all travelers entering or traveling within America are subject to a trio of requirements at security check points:

• No liquids (except 8 oz essentials)
• Take off your shoes and jacket

• Pass through a Backscatter or Millimeter Wave machine


Is this meant to be some sort of humourous piece?
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Old Aug 10, 11, 1:13 pm
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I don't have time to write a full reply but two major points:
  • You don't have to pass through either machine; you can "opt out."
  • TSA / DHS now uses Z Backscatter Vans (ZBV's) on highway checkpoints, cruising around cities looking in cars and buildings, and some major sporting/concert events. The x-ray levels from ZBV's are presumably much higher than one encounters at an airport checkpoint, there is no "opt out," and indeed you can be scanned multiple times over longer periods of time.
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Old Aug 10, 11, 1:23 pm
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Nor do 'all travellers' arriving in the US have to pass through a scanner.

There are a lot of errors in a quick scan, hence my question if this is a spoof? I mean that seriously. If it isn't, I would take it down and fix the glaring errors.
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Old Aug 10, 11, 1:50 pm
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It is not a spoof.

Corrections made, thank you.
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Old Aug 10, 11, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by stupidzbu View Post
It is not a spoof.

Corrections made, thank you.
It's still wrong (see my comments above) - I think that you need to fix more than a few things.
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Old Aug 10, 11, 3:16 pm
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From the article:
Third, always ask for new gloves and a private screening. These requests annoy the TSA and force a couple of agents in a private room. This event must be logged and none of your information is recorded, it is completely anonymous, but as the log books start to fill up, they register your disdain for the system.
I don't trust them enough to go into a private room, and I'd also rather the flying public see the frisk, and be appalled by it.

Who told you it was anonymous and that your info isn't recorded? If your info isn't recorded, then why do they always ask for your id and boarding pass when you go into the private room?

First, you can legally take pictures or record anything that is happening at the security checkpoint (except the image from the machine). It doesn’t matter what the TSA agent says, that is your right. You should print a screen shot of the TSA.gov page and keep it with you, you never know when you might need it.
Not always true, some airports have a "no photographs" policy, and the local laws to back it up.

The emails show that the agents had requested dosimeters to monitor radiation levels and potential leakage, which were ignored. Time Healthland wrote an in-depth article on this in June 2011.
Not only were the requests for dosimeters ignored, there have been reports that screeners are not allowed to wear dosimeters at work, even if they purchase their own devices.

Last edited by StanSimmons; Aug 10, 11 at 3:21 pm
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Old Aug 10, 11, 7:45 pm
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Originally Posted by StanSimmons View Post
I don't trust them enough to go into a private room, and I'd also rather the flying public see the frisk, and be appalled by it.
^^ 100%. Vehemently refuse to go into a private room, where anything that happens will probably not be recorded (or mysteriously disappear if trouble occurs). If you're told you have to go into a private room, demand the presence of a LEO.

Demand to be able to see your belongings at all times; the TSO should retrieve your items and bring them with you (but you are not allowed to touch them until you've been cleared.) If the TSO won't remove your items from the belt prior to the pat down, face your items and the PAX going through screening at all times.
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Old Aug 11, 11, 12:49 am
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I don't trust them enough to go into a private room, and I'd also rather the flying public see the frisk, and be appalled by it.
Point taken on your trust issues but I don't think the public even cares if you are getting a pat down because they are going through the machines

Who told you it was anonymous and that your info isn't recorded? If your info isn't recorded, then why do they always ask for your id and boarding pass when you go into the private room?
I've done it every time I've flown and I have never handed my BP or ID to anyone nor have I ever been asked to. This includes LAX, SFO, SEA, BOS, and LAS

[/QUOTE]

Not always true, some airports have a "no photographs" policy, and the local laws to back it up.
The TSA page is clear of their policy, so if an agent tells you you can't take pictures or record (as many youtube vids show them doing), you can state their policy. This doesn't mean a different policy doesn't exist, hence the line: know your rights.


Not only were the requests for dosimeters ignored, there have been reports that screeners are not allowed to wear dosimeters at work, even if they purchase their own devices.
Yes, the TSA states that if the public sees them wearing a dosimeter, it might create panic that the machines may cause cancer.
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Old Aug 11, 11, 12:52 am
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Originally Posted by exbayern View Post
It's still wrong (see my comments above) - I think that you need to fix more than a few things.
In all fairness, I understand your point with the wording on 'entering the USA', but all travelers who enter the USA presumably leave from the USA and will be subject to the trio of screenings, correct?

Any traveler who then travels domestically will also face the same screening process, right?

At some point, all people who travel to the US will have to face a security checkpoint and the TSA, whether it is when they return home or if the take another flight while in the country.
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Old Aug 11, 11, 3:11 am
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Originally Posted by stupidzbu View Post
In all fairness, I understand your point with the wording on 'entering the USA', but all travelers who enter the USA presumably leave from the USA and will be subject to the trio of screenings, correct?

Any traveler who then travels domestically will also face the same screening process, right?

At some point, all people who travel to the US will have to face a security checkpoint and the TSA, whether it is when they return home or if the take another flight while in the country.
Not all travellers are subject to the MMW or backscatter. That simply is not correct.

And not all travellers who enter the US via airplane exit the same way.

There are a lot of technical errors but I also think that you overstating it by saying that everyone has to go through the scanner.

And the allowable liquids is still wrong - and frankly, if you are targetting this towards non-Americans I would use the metric measurements.
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Old Aug 11, 11, 7:06 am
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Originally Posted by exbayern View Post
Not all travellers are subject to the MMW or backscatter. That simply is not correct.
My wife had 6 interviews for her residency. We had to fly all over the country and all airports have either the backscatter or mmW machines. The only people that got 'selected' for the normal metal detector were families with children, probably because of all the uproar on screening children.

Now, these were major airports in major cities. I am sure there are smaller airports that might not them (like BUR vs LAX), but as of right now, if you fly in the US, chances are more likely than not that you will face one of these machines or an enhanced pat down.

And not all travellers who enter the US via airplane exit the same way.
True, but it is safer to assume that they will leave the same way.

There are a lot of technical errors but I also think that you overstating it by saying that everyone has to go through the scanner.
I do talk about the option of opting out, it is stated near the end of the article.

And the allowable liquids is still wrong - and frankly, if you are targetting this towards non-Americans I would use the metric measurements.
How so? Straight from the TSA's page Yes, it was wrong at 8 oz and should have checked before publishing, but what is on there now came straight from that link. What is wrong with it?

I do agree about adding the 100 ml though...
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Old Aug 11, 11, 7:51 am
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Why did you ask for input if you're going to discount out of hand any advice or suggestions received?

Last edited by Boggie Dog; Aug 11, 11 at 11:21 am
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Old Aug 11, 11, 8:32 am
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Originally Posted by redii View Post
^^ 100%. Vehemently refuse to go into a private room, where anything that happens will probably not be recorded (or mysteriously disappear if trouble occurs). If you're told you have to go into a private room, demand the presence of a LEO.

Demand to be able to see your belongings at all times; the TSO should retrieve your items and bring them with you (but you are not allowed to touch them until you've been cleared.) If the TSO won't remove your items from the belt prior to the pat down, face your items and the PAX going through screening at all times.
My experince is that most LEO'S are male's. At least at the airports I have been to.

So what do you then do as a female? I dont want a male watching an invasive grope and touching of me.
Yes I do know you can have family/friend with you. I am often travelling alone.
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Old Aug 11, 11, 9:09 am
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Originally Posted by stupidzbu View Post
Yes, it was wrong at 8 oz and should have checked before publishing, but what is on there now came straight from that link. What is wrong with it?

I do agree about adding the 100 ml though...
I have to agree with Boggie Dog. You really don't seem to know or want to know facts. 'Articles' like these which are full of misinformation frankly I think weaken the argument and don't earn support.

You wrote 8oz liquids, didn't clarify the 100-1-1 (or 3-1-1) rules, then you changed it to 3oz, which is still incorrect. The vast majority of the world uses the metric system. Even after all the time I have spent in the US in my life, I still cannot visualize ounces or cups or estimate Fahrenheit. Bad enough that you twice included the wrong amount, but worse that you say this is aimed towards a non-American audience and then don't write in terms they understand or use daily.

It now says 'No liquids (except 3 oz (100 ml) essentials)' which is rather vague and still incorrect. Why not correct your error which I pointed out twice now, and actually put the rules (which are quite common around the world). As it stands, this 'article' really doesn't have much useful information at all.

MMW or backscatter is certainly not in use in every airport in the US, and is not in primary use at most airports. I suspect that I have flown to/from/through many more US airports than you in the last year (or even six months) and the times I have been selected are still very low. Many TS&S posters who are regular flyers have managed to avoid the machines completely.
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