|Image credit: TSA|
Madison Ruppert, Contributor
With over 700 so-called “naked body scanners” placed in some 180 airports across the United States, it seems that the behemoth Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has now decided that it is not enough.
Keep in mind; these are the same scanners that they have nonsensically defended in the face of the health risks and unjustifiably high costs. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) then turned around and offered to allow passengers to pay $100 to bypass the scanners completely.
Despite technology such as the laser-based molecular scanner capable of obtaining intimate details about you at rapid speed from 164 feet away, DHS and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) apparently think it is necessary to pour even more money into this type of research and development.
Apparently DARPA is not only engaged in far-out research projects like weaponized hallucinations and dirt-cheap soft robots capable of changing color, temperature and more any longer.
According to an announcement (mirrored here) originally posted on August 27, 2012 on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website, DHS and DARPA are working together to develop improved body scanners focusing on two key features.
The first feature will supposedly result in fewer samples and faster image acquisition via scanners with even less hardware, ultimately producing more accurate and reliable results.
“The research seeks to identify novel signatures distinct from those typically employed in conventional X-ray tomography systems and multi-view dual energy projection scans,” explains the Aviation Security Technology Industry Day Announcement in the background section.
The other main focus will be on more secure memory chips which will supposedly be “hack-proof,” if such a thing is possible.
They are seeking chips which are not only “hack-proof” but also with “low-cost, reduced power consumption and increased reliability.”
That’s not all, they also want the chips to operate with “high-levels of functionality” and at ludicrous speeds “on the order of 10 ns [nanoseconds].” For those who are unaware, a nanosecond is one billionth of a second.
They also want the chips to be more durable than anything previously conceived, a characteristic which they call “extremely high-endurance,” which is actually a bit of an understatement.
These “extremely high-endurance” chips should be capable of “near unlimited wear for write, read, and erase cycles” while also being impervious to offline (physical) hacking attempts on top of online (digital) hacking attempts.
This means that the chips should be so secure that, “Stored data shouldn’t be readable with powerful devices like electron or atomic force microscopes,” according to Wired’s Danger Room.
Obviously this is a tall order, but if any agency could pursue such a project and actually accomplish it, I’d guess it would be DARPA.
As Danger Room rightly points out, these scanners were brought into widespread use after the so-called underwear bomber incident, which unsurprisingly turned out to be full of holes, leaving the official story dubious at best.
Interestingly, earlier this year when another underwear bomber plot emerged, it turned out that the supposed terrorist had been working with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) the whole time.
In his article, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, an intern at Danger Room, seems to go out of his way to defend the scanners, calling the concerns of groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other privacy activists “overblown.”
He then goes on to address the health concerns surrounding the technology with similar tactics, saying that so-called “radiation safety authorities” have stated that there is no evidence to support the idea of health risks associated with the technology.
The source he cites is a single brief statement posted in January 2010 on the American College of Radiology (ACR) website entitled, “ACR Statement on Airport Full-body Scanners and Radiation.”
Franceschi-Bicchierai’s use of “authorities” seems to be inappropriate since the ACR statement actually is just a statement in agreement with the findings of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP).
There is no mention of the ACR conducting any other measurements or any of their own research for that matter. Instead, they simply state, “The ACR is not aware of any evidence that either of the scanning technologies that the TSA is considering would present significant biological effects for passengers screened.”
The meeting sponsored by the DHS and DARPA will be held on September 18, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia, and will focus on enhancing explosives detection in checked bags as well as checkpoint screenings.
In addition, DARPA’s Knowledge Enhanced Compressive Measurement (KECoM) program will be discussed which is intended to “drastically improve the quantity and quality of acquired information while simultaneously reducing the cost of deployed measurement resources.”
In other words, they seek to gather the most high-quality data possible without having to have high-quality instruments and sensors to do it, which could greatly improve the capabilities of traditional sensor systems.
I find it quite fascinating that the funding continues to pour into this field of research with no end in sight, especially since the justification for the entire program is entirely manufactured and without basis in reality.
I believe that if one objectively investigates the evidence surrounding the so-called underwear bomber and the rest of the cases used to justify the airport security program, it will become quite obvious that there are far too many unanswered questions to justify moving forward, especially when we don’t have a cent to spend on this research to begin with.
This article first appeared at End the Lie.