Beware The Fat Man In The Middle Seat

Backscatter x-rays; TSA’s new security system

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BACKSCATTER X-RAYS, which reveal ceramic knives and explosives that metal detectors miss, are due to be rolled out in airports this year. But the public didn’t like test images that make you look “fat and naked,” as the director of the Transportation Security Administration’s lab admitted when she saw her own scan (left). So the tsa has instituted a “privacy algorithm” to convert lifelike figures into cartoonish silhouettes (right). But the algorithm also obscures the weapons the scanner was designed to discover. And weapons hidden between folds of skin and fat fool both versions.


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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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