TSA's full-body scanners in airports lead to more overall deaths, lawsuit claims

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If it were just the pornoscanners that made flying so awful, that’d be fine. But the TSA has so many ways of being dicks to us, that’s just icing on the cake.

Also, if you take into account the extra helping of greenhouse gasses that planes add compared to other modes, you could argue the TSA is doing our grandkids a favor.


Just in case you needed something else to worry about. And you’re welcome.


We should also require health insurance to cover plane tickets.

If it saves just one life, isn’t it worth it?


Depends on life’s value, which can easily be quanted by the experts readily available to testify in this case. Factor in your past & projected monetary contributions to the common weal, adjust for circumstance of birth and certain bankable Wild Talents, and one’s Life’s Value ™ may be fairly & accurately calculated for the purposes of this endeavour. Quality of Life is a separate issue, best left to our highly trained PhiloSophist branch. Also, if One Dollar/One Vote applies to the U.S. electoral system, future SCOTUS decisions could cement the dollar value of human and other lives as legal precedent. Cheers, all!


I would note that the elevated cancer risk 1) was in TSA officers who suffered occupational exposure and 2) was from the x-ray back-scatter machines that were removed from service in 2013. The concerns raised by the article don’t apply to members of the general public flying today.


They’d be welcome to ogle my flabby bod all they want if they could just get it done in a timely manner. Last flight we spent nearly 1.25 hrs getting through security and nearly missed the flight though we’d gotten to the airport with what we thought was plenty of time to check a bag and get to the plane.


Newark Liberty? Just a hunch.

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When you submit to the body scanners because you don’t want to be a hassle and demand a pat-down, or because you don’t want to wait a little bit longer for a screener to become available, you’re as much a part of the problem as the TSA itself.




Fun sponge…

Nope, though that’s my home port. It was San Juan PR. The plane crew commiserated that it was awful there. Ridiculously, though we live 15 min from EWR, we flew out of JFK because the fares were SO much cheaper! United has a near monopoly at Newark now.

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Why? some of us really don’t give a shit about “porno scanners”. I can’t imagine all the women traveling in yoga wear do either, they’ve got nothing to hide!

Yup. And yet it’s as if they do nothing to improve that airport’s TSA shit show. It’s as if they have no idea people were going anywhere that day.

Add up all the hours people spend in security at airports. How many lifetimes is that - more than the number of lives saved, I bet.

Seeing as the official number of lives saved is [we’re not disclosing], the sensible thing to assume is zero and that It’s complete waste.

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That’s my personal, and horrendous bugbear that made me detest the entire system. The maths are easy, and shocking.

For any given airport, stats can be estimated or found…
LAX for example: http://www.lawa.org/welcome_LAX.aspx?id=800 apparently admitted 37,000,000 departing passengers last year. These must have all gone through the scanners.
We should also add airport and airline staff, which may be an additional 5%, but whatever.

The TSA is (at this instant) listing wait times at half the posts of up to 30 minutes.

It also lists some as ‘no wait’.
Splitting the difference at 15 minutes seems reasonable, and also matches with my experience as a good estimate.

So immediately we can see that:
37,000,000 people

  • .25 hours in line
    / 24 hours_in_the_day
    / 365 days in the year
    / 78 years live expectancy (US)

= 13 lifetimes, 13 people are killed by waiting in queues in JUST LAX per year

I don’t even want to count the number of airports, or add the lives of the employees on the other side of the desk … etc etc.

Is my math wrong?


It’s not a point against the lawsuit that evidence supporting their claims doesn’t exist - the point is that this, and many other things, should have been studied before the scanners went into place. Of course there will be little evidence for or against, when the studies haven’t been conducted.

Instead, it’s eight years after they started deploying AIT that they even released a final regulation authorizing them to do so, and they still haven’t done basic goddamn research.

Not that I trust them to report results honestly, even if they do the research. They claim that AIT doesn’t slow down lines at all, because passenger throughput is constrained by x-ray scanning of baggage. I don’t believe that, and even if it were true, that means you could speed things up by having multiple x-ray scanners per passenger screening lane, and AIT prevents that. They also claim that on average opting out will add 150 seconds on average to a passenger’s screening time. If you’ve opted out more than a couple of times, you know that’s laughable.

Does the fact that security has become a pain in the ass in the last 15 years make people dislike air travel more? Of course. If people dislike one mode of travel, are they more likely to choose a different mode of travel? Of course. Does people choosing car travel over air travel cost lives? Of course.

There can be no doubt that this effect (increased deaths from AIT) exists, the only question is the magnitude, and how that compares to the supposed benefits. That’s why you do the research. And yeah, it’s very difficult to distinguish the effects of AIT from the effects of other passenger-hostile measures like removing shoes or banning liquids. That’s why you do the research. And maybe there’s a balancing effect where some people who’d avoid flying because of terrorism fears are now reassured and will now fly instead of drive. Does it balance or outweigh the increased deaths from people who avoid flying because of increased security measures? Possibly. That’s why you do the research.

Really, not only should all this research be done - done before they illegally deployed AIT everywhere - but it should be done by an agency that’s independent from the TSA. TSA has demonstrated over and over that they can’t be trusted.

But this is all dreaming. Nothing will happen.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, here’s the final rule from the TSA authorizing the use of AIT. Effective May 2, 2016. Passenger Screening Using Advanced Imaging Technology

They address the “more people will die” issue, briefly, in section DD (other costs). They blow it off, of course.

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Flying is a lot more fuel efficient than the average US car. As I recall a modern jet does nearly 200 passenger miles per gallon. To achieve that with an average 27mpg US car you would need to be carrying 7 or 8 people.