Well it sees the USA isn’t the only country that can do kneejerk reactions. The UK Has commenced a review of airport security, with the upshot of it being Millimetre Wave Scanners (MMW) being implemented in UK airports for deployment by end of January.
How do they work?
According to Wiki…
Clothing and other organic materials are translucent in some extremely high frequency (millimeter wave) radio frequency bands. This frequency range is just below the (related) sub-millimeter “Terahertz radiation” (or “T-ray”) range.
The millimeter wave is transmitted from two antennas simultaneously as they rotate around the body. The wave energy reflected back from the body or other objects on the body is used to construct a three-dimensional image, which is displayed on a remote monitor for analysis.
Obviously, there are privacy concerns, including the threat of abuse of images (although the promise of instant deletion of images quite frankly doesn’t wash with me), but it still boils down to one person behind a screen examining the images.
Herein is the problem. If a person is having an off day, and misses something – oops.
The big question is this however – Is this all just security theatre? By that I mean is it there to reassure the public that something is being done, or is it just a “Show of force” with nothing more behind it. It should be pointed out that no disclosed threat has been identified by security means.
Even the Home Secretary has confirmed this in his speech:
“It is clear that no one measure will be enough to defeat inventive and determined terrorists and there is no single technology which we can guarantee will be 100% effective against such attacks,”
– Alan Johnson, Home Secretary
In addition, Alan Johnson said there was only a 50 to 60% chance that a body scanner would have detected bomb materials allegedly carried on NW253.
Only combined with the possibiltiy of passenger profiling (which itself could open a whole kettle of fish), could this stand a chance in hell of working.
I think I know the answer to the security theatre question, and I’m sure you can guess what I think it is too…