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DHS X-ray Car Scanners Now At Border Crossings 295

OverTheGeicoE writes "CNET has a story on DHS' whole car X-ray scanners and their potential cancer risks. The story focuses on the Z Portal scanner, which appears to be a stationary version of the older Z Backscatter Vans. The story provides interesting pictures of the device and the images it produces, but it also raises important questions about the devices' cancer risks. The average energy of the X-ray beam used is three times that used in a CT scan, which could be big trouble for vehicle passengers and drivers should a vehicle stop in mid-scan. Some studies show the risk for cancer from CT scans can be quite high. Worse still, the DHS estimates of the Z Portal's radiation dosage are likely to be several orders of magnitude too low. 'Society will pay a huge price in cancer because of this,' according to one scientist."
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DHS X-ray Car Scanners Now At Border Crossings

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @07:23PM (#38708976)

    1) It uses X-rays
    2) The device is controlled by a PC running a Java app
    3) It was put together by freelancers

    Posting AC because NDA

  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @07:43PM (#38709130)

    a) wouldn't terrorists with cancer be more likely to go on a suicide bombing mission?

    b) radiation monitors probably cost more than the value TSA puts on its front line staff

  • by Threni ( 635302 ) on Sunday January 15, 2012 @08:20PM (#38709360)

    But look at the health benefits if it stops people smoking weed. A car containing 10 kilos of weed contains nearly 8 kilos of weed, meaning that not only will someone go to jail for possessing 5 kilos of weed, but also the people the dealer would have supplied will be unable to obtain this dangerous drug and will perhaps instead turn to safe, legal drugs such as alcohol or tobacco.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 15, 2012 @11:11PM (#38710170)

    Harassing TSA agents, DHS inspectors, or even the police is counter-productive. While there are "bad apples" who abuse their authority, most are just regular people trying to do a job which means constantly dealing with pissed off people. After a stint in a support and warranty call center, I can really sympathize with them -- there's nothing THEY can do about it, same as I couldn't wave a magic wand and make a warranty valid a few weeks after it expired, no matter HOW much a customer yelled at me.

    Stick to hounding the government and the three letter agencies that make the DECISIONS to deploy these people, but let them do their job until their jobs are eliminated.

    Since they're only following orders.

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.