As a society we have come to completely depend on the security systems that have been put into place for our own safety, especially at the airports that we travel in on a daily basis. However, UC San Diego have discovered through an extensive study that many full-body security scanners are not as effective as many people believe. In fact, many of them have such serious problems that people are able to sneak through explosives, firearms, and knives.
The researchers managed to alter the Rapiscan Secure 1000 backscatter X-ray machine to a point where no matter what the person that was being scanned was holding, it would show the ‘all clear’ imagine. This system of security is being used within many airports between the years of 2009 and 2013, and one of them was San Diego’s Lindbergh Field. However, since their first installation they have already been removed from many airports because they created images that were basically nude of passengers. That was considered to be a problem with people’s privacy, and others were worried that the low doses of radiation that was created by the machines could really damage people’s health.
On the other hand, the same scanners are used in many other important locations in the San Diego area, such as jails and courthouses. This means that this X-ray technology could inadvertently be hurting those people that use them; it could also mean that very dangerous objects could be snuck into jails for inmates to use. It is typical for security systems to have third party independent evaluations, and although there is some confusion as to why this has not been done sooner, many hope that this new study that has revealed such problems within the system will mean that the X-ray machines can be removed from public service.