From the no-fucking-shit-sherlock department we have learned that all the claims made by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) about the safety of their naked body scanners are dubious at best. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) used a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain documents from the Department of
Motherland Homeland Security (DHS) dealing with the safety of those scanners. What they found wasn’t at all surprising:
In a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, EPIC has just obtained documents concerning the radiation risks of TSA’s airport body scanner program. The documents include agency emails, radiation studies, memoranda of agreement concerning radiation testing programs, and results of some radiation tests. One document set reveals that even after TSA employees identified cancer clusters possibly linked to radiation exposure, the agency failed to issue employees dosimeters – safety devices that could assess the level of radiation exposure. Another document indicates that the DHS mischaracterized the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, stating that NIST “affirmed the safety” of full body scanners. The documents obtained by EPIC reveal that NIST disputed that characterization and stated that the Institute did not, in fact, test the devices. Also, a Johns Hopkins University study revealed that radiation zones around body scanners could exceed the “General Public Dose Limit.”
The documents they speak of make for interesting reading. Needless to say nobody has tested these scanners and given them their seal of approval. Hell John Hopkins University flat out said there are hot zones around the scanners that are likely unsafe.
I still have a dream of obtaining a decimeter watch and using it to detect how high the radiation levels of those scanners is. Unfortunately those watches are expensive and I’m unwilling to go through those scanners simply because I don’t believe the government needs to have more biometric data related to me.