Rapiscan Responds to Forbes Article
October 11, 2011
Recently Forbes.com ran a news story on their website about TSA’s body scanners. The article, “TSA’s De Facto Phase-Out of ‘Naked Scanners’” from Oct. 7, 2011 makes several misleading statements and assertions and we wanted to take this opportunity to respond.
First, it’s our belief that Rapiscan Systems’ backscatter technology, like that used in our Secure 1000 employed by the TSA, is an inherently better threat detection technology than millimeter wave. As noted in a recent ABC News article, the German government recently halted the use of millimeter wave technology in their airports due to the devices sounding too many false alarms – including at times mistaking underarm sweat for dangerous chemicals.
By contrast, the results of European operational trials of Rapiscan Systems’ Secure 1000 body-scanners have been positive. As was noted in a recent post on this very blog, a report by the United Kingdom’s Department for Transport, which assessed the use of the Secure 1000 in England, stated the following:
“Experience in the UK at Manchester airport, where some 148,799 scans have been carried out (as at end of June), suggests scanners as an alarm resolution technology provide good security standards, operational efficiency and the best possible passenger experience. 95% of passengers at Manchester airport rated the process as ‘better’ or ‘much better’ than the traditional hand search and 94% rated the speed of the process as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Staff feedback is also overwhelmingly positive. Security Scanners provide a less-intrusive method than private search (or hand search), thereby improving passenger’s experience.” (From “SECURITY SCANNERS INITIAL UK GOVERNMENT BRIEFING,” UK DFT, 14 July 2010.)
Second, radiation concerns have largely been overblown and consistently refuted. Rapiscan Systems’ backscatter x-ray has negligible x-ray emissions based on testing by multiple independent bodies. Recent radiation test results indicate that the amount of radiation exposure from one backscatter x-ray screening is approximately 0.005 millirem. In comparison, one year of naturally occurring background radiation is 300 millirem, a chest x-ray is 10 millirem, a cross-country flight from New York to Los Angeles is 4 millirem and drinking three glasses of water a day for a year is equal to 0.045 millirem.
Also, it should be noted that we are working closely with the TSA on our own version of Automated Target Recognition and there is no reason why Secure 1000 body-scanners cannot have ATR software loaded on to them.
The article also suggests that former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, was hired by Rapiscan as a consultant – raising questions about how much influence he has had in the adoption of our scanners.
In 2009, Rapiscan Systems briefly engaged the Chertoff Group as a consultant to provide Rapiscan with advice and analysis with respect to a limited set of well-defined subjects unrelated to aviation security. Chertoff Group’s activities in that engagement were advisory, and neither Mr. Chertoff nor his staff has ever represented Rapiscan in any communications with the U.S. government. A review of all publicly filed documents, including lobbying registrations filed with the U.S. House and Senate Sergeants at Arms, show that Rapiscan never retained the Chertoff Group for lobbying activities.
Rapiscan stands by its state-of-the-art products that protect travelers, meet our customers’ most demanding threat detection needs and improve their operational efficiency.
Executive Vice President
Category: Technology & Screening Solutions |