Enduring an airport body scan is enough to make most people feel violated, scared, or at the very least annoyed.
But for activist Jonathan Corbett, two recent trips through the scanners were exhilarating.
That’s because Corbett passed through without a hitch, even though he had a metal box that the scanners should have picked up. The box was hidden in a cleverly placed side-pocket. Corbett was doing it to prove a point: body scanners are not the best way to keep people safe.
“While I carried the metal case empty … it could easily have been filled with razor blades, explosives, or one of Charlie Sheen’s infamous seven gram rocks of cocaine,” Corbett says in a new video. “With a bigger pocket, perhaps sewn on the inside of the shirt, even a firearm could get through.”
The point is to show how ineffective the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and its body scanners are, Corbett wrote in a blog post Tuesday. The post has since exploded online, with a front-page link on Reddit and more than 3,500 mentions on Twitter.
Corbett claims to be the first person to sue the TSA after it rolled out the scanners in 2010. Later this year, his case will go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Corbett further explained the loophole in his video:
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.
The video sparked Reddit’s attention Tuesday night. More than 1,800 people commented on the amount of money body scanner companies spend on lobbying, the role of the TSA, and their own body scanner experiences. One redditor who worked at an airline prior to the Sept. 11 attacks argued that security has since improved, even if the body scanners are ineffective.
Still, mixmastakooz wrote, it would be better to spend all that money on personnel.
“However, I think if you took that 8 billion dollars for back-scatter tech and invested it into extensive training and salary,” the redditor commented, “you'd have a highly skilled and trained security force that wouldn't need to rely on back scatter tech to do their job in an unobtrusive way.”
Photo by niiicedave