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Entries in imaging (13)


TSA Error Means Scanner Radiation Levels are 10 Times Higher Than Believed

The most recent round of testing on TSA's advanced imaging technology has reveals a shocking mistake: radiation levels of the airport security devices was found to be 10 times higher than previously tested. 

According to Switched, the equipment testers forgot to divide the total output by 10 to get an average reading. 

Hundreds of scanners now have to be re-tested. In the meantime, the public's faith in the advanced technology is becoming increasingly eroded. TSA still says that the scanners meet all safety standards and will remain in operation. The Association for Airline Passenger Rights is asking the government to force a shutdown of the devices until testing concludes, which will probably happen in May.

"Certainly, the errors are not acceptable," said TSA spokeswoman Sarah Horowitz. "It’s not every report. We believe the technology is safe. We’ve done extensive, independent testing. It doesn’t raise alarms in terms of safety."

According to the government, the radiation output of the scanners is minimal and 1,000 screenings is the equivalent of a single chest X-ray


DHS Signs Contracts for Covert Mobile Body Scanners 

An image created by a Z Backscatter Van scan

The Electronic Privacy Information Center obtained documents Tuesday that suggest the Department of Homeland Security is seeking mobile and static scanning technology that will be used on people without their knowledge or consent. 

InHardFocus reported in August 2010 that companies like American Science & Engineering were already taking advanced scanning technology mobile. But the EPIC news indicates that DHS will soon make use of these mobile, covert scanners. 

DHS states that the technology will help officials quickly detect concealed explosives, which will ensure the safety of individuals in urban and transportation hubs. 

One contract calls for AS&E's Z Backscatter Van to be used as part of an Intelligent Pedestrian Surveillance platform, which can be used anywhere.

Another requests a walk-through x-ray device that could be used at the entrance to special events and other points of interest. 

The technology used in these types of mobile and static screening systems is similar (and, in some case, may be identical) to that used at airport security checkpoints, which includes backscatter and millimeter-wave technology. 

Of course, EPIC is already warming up for war over these contracts. Computer World reported that an EPIC spokeswomen said using these technologies to scan people without their consent is an invasion of privacy and a violation of Fourth Amendment rights. Not to mention the possible safety risks that come from repeated exposure to these advanced scanning technologies (a subject on which TSA is still mum). 

So far, it's unclear whether the DHS contracts have been completed. 


New Facial Recognition Software Targets Gambling Addicts

If you're a problem gambler, maybe now is the time to retire. Because advanced facial recognition technology is coming after you.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. is installing a new facial rec program at 27 of its gambling facilities this spring. But unlike most high-tech surveillance systems in major gambling areas, such as Las Vegas, the OLG aims to curb gambling addiction, not detect cheating (or offer VIP perks). 

Each person who enters an Ontario casino will undergo a digital camera scan. The image of their face will be run through a database of more than 15,000 people with gambling problems who have voluntarily put themselves on a banned list.

If the computer finds a match, security is notified. If not, the image is simply discarded.

The new system will replace the current practice, which required security staff to personally detect gamblers who have returned to a casino after placing themselves on the self-excluded list. This method catches about 1,000 self-excluded gamblers each year, which critics say is unacceptable, given that gambling addiction is a compulsive illness.


Software Brings Copy-Paste Magic to 3-D Video

Watch as new stereoscopic software transforms 3-D video (and photos) with the magic of copy and paste. 

Swiss engineers have developed software tools that enable you to define various objects and planes on a 3-D stereoscopic image -- just like you would in Photoshop. Now, you can grab a shape and duplicate or move it throughout a 3-D image. 



New Website Tracks TSA Use of Advanced Imaging Tech

The Transportation Security Administration has deployed advanced imaging technology in hundreds of airports across the country. But, according to a new website, they're not using the technology as thoroughly as you might think.

The new TSA status website tracks which scanners are in use -- and which are simply sitting idle -- on a given day. Surely, TSA won't be happy about the site; but for privacy-minded travelers, it's a welcome information source.

Check out the TSA status site here.