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Old Aug 8, 11, 4:21 am   #1
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New opt-out record set at LAS?

I saw an interesting tweet from twitter user @timmedin yesterday that read "According to TSA agent, LAS airport set a record for most opt-outs today. They broke the record before noon. #DefCon".

DefCon is a computer security conference that ended on Aug. 7th, the date this tweet was posted. I'm trying to verify this from other sources but so far no luck. Has anyone else heard of a higher then usual opt-out rate at LAS?
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Old Aug 8, 11, 4:30 am   #2
  
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Originally Posted by LizzyDragon84 View Post
I saw an interesting tweet from twitter user @timmedin yesterday that read "According to TSA agent, LAS airport set a record for most opt-outs today. They broke the record before noon. #DefCon".

DefCon is a computer security conference that ended on Aug. 7th, the date this tweet was posted. I'm trying to verify this from other sources but so far no luck. Has anyone else heard of a higher then usual opt-out rate at LAS?
I also just saw this tweet, and some replies to the tweet, including one other attendee who said the TSA was harassing an opt-out, asking, "What do you have to hide?"

I too have not seen any other sources of the record opt-out. Hope its true, though!
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Old Aug 8, 11, 4:52 am   #3
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Originally Posted by LizzyDragon84 View Post
I saw an interesting tweet from twitter user @timmedin yesterday that read "According to TSA agent, LAS airport set a record for most opt-outs today. They broke the record before noon. #DefCon".

DefCon is a computer security conference that ended on Aug. 7th, the date this tweet was posted. I'm trying to verify this from other sources but so far no luck. Has anyone else heard of a higher then usual opt-out rate at LAS?
I can verify that this announcement was made during the awards ceremony at Defcon. I didn't do any fact-checking, but the person who made the announcement is unlikely to have lied.
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Old Aug 8, 11, 5:00 am   #4
  
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"What do you have to hide?"
The government does not need to virtually see me naked to fly. Wanna see me naked, get a warrant.
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Old Aug 8, 11, 5:11 am   #5
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I can verify that this announcement was made during the awards ceremony at Defcon. I didn't do any fact-checking, but the person who made the announcement is unlikely to have lied.
Interesting. I didn't realize it was announced at DefCon. Out of curiosity, does anyone know if the opt-out numbers are ever published by the TSA?
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Old Aug 8, 11, 5:21 am   #6
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Interesting. I didn't realize it was announced at DefCon. Out of curiosity, does anyone know if the opt-out numbers are ever published by the TSA?
They wouldn't dare...
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Old Aug 8, 11, 5:40 am   #7
  
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I've been to Defcon several times; it follows directly on from the Black Hat security conference (which I've also been to a couple of times). Together, figure a couple of thousand people into security and hacking games, privacy and computers, and therefore the demographic that is most likely to opt out. I would *expect* the opt-out rate among that group to be nearly 100%. And most of them leaving over the same 24-hour period. So, you can't prove it, but circumstantially it's extremely likely to be true.

wg
(The airport is just lucky the machines escaped unscathed. )
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Old Aug 8, 11, 6:23 am   #8
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I agree with you, wendyg. While I've never been to DefCon, I know a guy who did and he fits your description. I'm glad the DefCon folks didn't give in to the government silliness.
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Old Aug 8, 11, 9:02 am   #9
  
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Originally Posted by wendyg View Post
I've been to Defcon several times; it follows directly on from the Black Hat security conference (which I've also been to a couple of times). Together, figure a couple of thousand people into security and hacking games, privacy and computers, and therefore the demographic that is most likely to opt out. I would *expect* the opt-out rate among that group to be nearly 100%. And most of them leaving over the same 24-hour period. So, you can't prove it, but circumstantially it's extremely likely to be true.

wg
(The airport is just lucky the machines escaped unscathed. )
Best geek post ever.

It's Defcon. That right there was the end of the question mark.
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Old Aug 8, 11, 9:03 am   #10
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Out of curiosity, does anyone know if the opt-out numbers are ever published by the TSA?
It would not serve TSA interests to publish the true opt-out numbers. If they won't reveal the true radiation signature of the scanners they want you to march into, they sure won't reveal how many travelers refuse to do it.
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Old Aug 8, 11, 9:19 am   #11
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It would not serve TSA interests to publish the true opt-out numbers. If they won't reveal the true radiation signature of the scanners they want you to march into, they sure won't reveal how many travelers refuse to do it.
I would suggest anyone who would walk into an xray box of any kind not knowing how well they are maintained and no one in the public domain knowing what the signature is has not thought through the problem.

In other words no one should submit to TSA's Backscatter Whole Body Imager until we know more about them.
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Old Aug 8, 11, 10:33 am   #12
  
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I would suggest anyone who would walk into an xray box of any kind not knowing how well they are maintained and no one in the public domain knowing what the signature is has not thought through the problem.

In other words no one should submit to TSA's Backscatter Whole Body Imager until we know more about them.
I would extend this line of thought to MMW, as well.

While the theoretical model of this technology is that it's harmless, and respected members of this community (JanetDoe, RadioGirl, and Wimpie immediately come to mind, apologies to those I may have missed) who are either physicists or scientists involved directly in this field of study, there exists no data on the long-term human health effects in this setting.

Specifically, while the output may very well be 10,000 times less than a cell phone, as TSA claims, and the technology is the same as automatic door sensors as these fine people have explained to us, we simply don't know what we don't know. We don't know, for instance, that the output is what TSA claims. We also don't know what the calibration and maintenance schedules for this equipment are, nor what procedures are in place to identify and mitigate a malfunctioning machine.

Furthermore, we have absolutely no data whatsoever on what happens when a human is put in an enclosed space with this technology and literally shot at with these waves in said enclosed space over their entire body simultaneously. While I agree, on theory and in principle that MMW>BKSX in regards to safety, I disagree with the generally held belief here that it is harmless.

This is what I do know, every time, every.single.time. I'm in a line using MMW, my phone freezes and shuts down. It simply never does this anywhere else ever that I use it. That tells me that these machines are doing things I don't encounter anywhere else in my life. It may be harmless, it may be a bizarrely unfortunate coincidence. Doesn't matter. We don't know what we don't know. I'm not going to be TSA's guinea pig in either device.

All this prior comment notwithstanding, a strip search of any kind is a gross violation of the 4th Amendment, regardless of the venue.
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Old Aug 8, 11, 11:10 am   #13
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While I agree, on theory and in principle that MMW>BKSX in regards to safety, I disagree with the generally held belief here that it is harmless.
I think that's a misreading of the general belief here in TS&S regarding MMW... I think the baseline view is wary suspicion.

As for the public at large... most aren't even thinking about potential harm. They're thinking about their next Cinnabon. Which is just what TSA wants.
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Old Aug 8, 11, 11:17 am   #14
  
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While I agree, on theory and in principle that MMW>BKSX in regards to safety, I disagree with the generally held belief here that it is harmless.
I'm not 100% convinced that it's harmless either. Twice I've gone through MMW and twice I have felt slightly dizzy and nauseated immediately afterwards. One of those times I'm willing to discount, because I had just had a nerve-wracking experience with EWR TSOs after asking to keep my things in sight while inside the MMW booth. But the first time I went through one, at SFO, no more than about 60 seconds later, as I was walking away with my things, I felt a bit dizzy and had to sit down for a minute. There was nothing unsettling about the experience (other than my first time in a booth, with (at the time) no reservations about doing it) to explain what I felt.

I wonder if this has happened to anyone else and it's not been reported, because they were otherwise anxious, or couldn't entirely articulate what they thought they felt.
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Old Aug 8, 11, 11:43 am   #15
  
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Talking MMW and cellphones

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Originally Posted by barbell View Post
(snipped)....
This is what I do know, every time, every.single.time. I'm in a line using MMW, my phone freezes and shuts down. It simply never does this anywhere else ever that I use it. That tells me that these machines are doing things I don't encounter anywhere else in my life. It may be harmless, it may be a bizarrely unfortunate coincidence. Doesn't matter. We don't know what we don't know. I'm not going to be TSA's guinea pig in either device.

.....(snipped)
Hmmm, sounds like its RF in the cellphone range (or some multiple thereof).

(824MHz is bottom of one cellphone frequency range & 1900Mhz is top of the other. Wavelength of 824MHz is 364mm, and 1990MHz is 150mm)

It looks like their equipment is interfering with cellphones in a BAD way... something the FCC might like to know about?

And what about those studies regarding cellphones and brain tumors... if the MMW machine is strong enough to whack your fone, what is it doing to folks HEADS, egads...

You mentioned TSA claimed output was less than a cellphone... Hmmm, then how does it whack your fone then?

TSA is WRONG on that one
---
yautjalady

Last edited by yautjalady; Aug 8, 11 at 11:50 am Reason: added info
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