Feeds

DHS 'brainiacs' to commercialise airport liquids-OK scanner

'Washington feels your pain', apparently

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The US Department of Homeland Security says that its "government brainiacs" are on the verge of rolling out an airport bag scanner which would avoid the need to separate frustrated travellers from their "liquids, gels, sprays" and even "spreads".

Fearless and surprisingly unbuttoned inhouse investigative journal DHS Science and Technology Snapshots tells it how it is:

Remember 2005, when you could still board a plane with shampoo in your bag, toothpaste in your purse, a can of soda in your hand? Do those fluid memories hurt right down to your denture cream?

Washington feels your pain.

And more than just feels, but spends your money (should you be a US taxpayer) on doing something about it. The DHS - far from being made up entirely of flinty-hearted uniformed goons who like nothing more than plundering your treasured liquids and gels - is suiting the action to the word. Magnetic resonance scanners, of the type so popular in the medical world, are being modified so as to "peer through whatever container you’re carrying, divine what’s in it, and let you pass with your bottled water or — during flu season — your hand sanitizer".

"Government brainiac" Stephen Surko of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) is in charge of the Magnetic Vision Innovative Prototype (or MagViz) project, which he now considers (pdf) ready for commercialisation. The MagViz is still a bit prone to false positives, though, and at the moment it has to be placed inside a "hulking" shielded enclosure to screen out emissions from personal electronics and suchlike.

"To engineer a shielded MagViz in a compact enclosure, the Department will look to the private sector, where ingenuity spells profit," S&T Snapshots breezily assures its readers.

It seems that smaller MagViz scanners of the future might sit behind existing hand-luggage X-rays, or if space didn't permit there might be an extra channel for those wanting to take their spreads, jellies, liquids etc aboard.

“You’d have to wait in a separate line,” concedes Surko, “but at least you could bring along that large bottle of H2O.”

It seems there are still bugs to be ironed out, though. S&TS cautions:

Don’t expect miracles... The challenges may prove a bridge too far. But if the departments of Homeland Security and Energy and the free market can cross each bridge, then traveling with toiletries, snow globes, and drinks may be a thing of the future, rather than the past.

Wise words. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.