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Making Airport Scanners Less Objectionable 681

Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that one of the researchers who helped develop the software for the scanners says there is a simple fix that would make scanning less objectionable. The fix would distort the images captured on full-body scanners so they look like reflections in a fun-house mirror, but any potentially dangerous objects would be clearly revealed, says Willard 'Bill' Wattenburg, a former nuclear weapons designer at the Livermore lab. 'Why not just distort the image into something grotesque so that there isn't anything titillating or exciting about it?' asks Wattenburg, adding that the modification is so simple that 'a 6-year-old could do the same thing with Photoshop... It's probably a few weeks' modification of the program.' Wattenburg said he was rebuffed when he offered the concept to Department of Homeland Security officials four years ago. A TSA official said the agency is working on development of scanner technology that would reduce the image to a 'generic icon, a generic stick figure' that would still reveal potentially dangerous items." Reader FleaPlus points out an unintended consequence: some transportation economists believe that the TSA's new invasive techniques may lead to more deaths as more people use road transportation to avoid flying — much more dangerous by the mile than air travel.

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