Penetration capability of airport body scanners

M Boyce made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Transport

The request was partially successful.

From: M Boyce

12 June 2011

Dear Department for Transport,

Question 24 of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) on the
Department for Transport information on airport body scanners
states:
'The scan shows only the external characteristics of the body. It
does not penetrate the skin'.
Many internet images of airport body scans show the bones of the
body, and in a letter (Dec. 2010) to the United States House of
Representatives, Steven W. Smith, the inventor of the Rapiscan
Secure 1000 x-ray backscatter body scanner, the type currently used
in some UK airports, shows graphically that these scanners have a
image penetration of up to 2cm into the body and a dose penetration
of over 10cm into the body.

(1)Do UK airport body scanners only ever show the external
characteristics of the body?

(2)Do UK airport body scanners ever penetrate the skin (image and
dose penetration)?

(3) If FAQ 24 is factually incorrect, will the DfT correct it? If
it will not correct it, why will it not do so?

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

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From: FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT
Department for Transport

13 June 2011

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for information which has been allocated the reference number P0007754. A response will be issued to you in due course.

Regards,

Department for Transport
Information Rights Unit
D/04, Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
St Leonards on Sea
East Sussex
TN37 7GA

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From: Transec Surefax
Department for Transport

28 June 2011


Attachment 110624 FOI 7754 7759 Boyce Final.DOC.doc
143K Download View as HTML


Dear M Boyce

Please find attached a reply to your recent FoI request to this
Department.

Yours sincerely

Jillian Smith

DfT - Aviation Security

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From: M Boyce

2 August 2011

Dear Department for Transport,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for
Transport's handling of my FOI request 'Penetration capability of
airport body scanners'.

The DfT believes that FAQ 24 is NOT incorrect and does NOT intend
to amend it. It is obvious to anyone that either FAQ 24 is
incorrect, OR what the DfT have told me in their reply to my FOI
request is incorrect. FAQ 24 states that security scanners DO NOT
see inside the body. The energy x-rays do NOT penetrate the skin.
The DfT has told me via my FOI request that security scanners MAY
see INSIDE the body. The energy x-rays DO penetrate the skin. One
of these two pairs of statements are NOT true. Which is it? They
cannot both be true. Why is the DfT giving out blatantly false,
incorrect and confusing information? Why will it not amend FAQ 24
now to prevent further misinformation to the public, or why is it
continuing to supply me with incorrect information? If FAQ 24 is
correct then why have the DfT lied to me? ]

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/pe...

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

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Jeff Buske left an annotation (21 August 2011)

Quote-marks Regarding scanner Penetration:
Backscatter x-ray (~50KVp) about 5-7% are scattered back the remaining x-rays are absorbed by the skin, testicles, breast and internal organs. Skin dose about 1/50 - 1/20th of a chest x-ray or about 15-20x the published internal organ effective dose.

http://www.rockyflatsgear.com/How-penetr...

New full transmission x-rays like used in scanners at Newcastel airport, US jails and tunnel scanners are very dangerous for general use. Radiation emissions of these powerful systems about 50-100x of the backscatter depending on resolution. Like the backscatter system children, expecting mothers, fair skinned, elderly and people with BRCA DNA repair issues should avoid exposure. Learn more:

www.rockyflatsgear.com/Total-Recall-Airp...

www.rockyflatsgear.com/County-Jails-Depl...

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From: FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT
Department for Transport

26 August 2011


Attachment 110826 F0007754 Internal Review FINAL.pdf
115K Download View as HTML


Dear M Boyce

Please find attached a response to your request for an internal review.

Yours sincerely

Information Rights Unit
Department for Transport

-----Original Message-----
From: M Boyce [mailto:[FOI #75216 email]]
Sent: 02 August 2011 23:48
To: FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Penetration capability of airport body scanners

Dear Department for Transport,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for
Transport's handling of my FOI request 'Penetration capability of
airport body scanners'.

The DfT believes that FAQ 24 is NOT incorrect and does NOT intend
to amend it. It is obvious to anyone that either FAQ 24 is
incorrect, OR what the DfT have told me in their reply to my FOI
request is incorrect. FAQ 24 states that security scanners DO NOT
see inside the body. The energy x-rays do NOT penetrate the skin.
The DfT has told me via my FOI request that security scanners MAY
see INSIDE the body. The energy x-rays DO penetrate the skin. One
of these two pairs of statements are NOT true. Which is it? They
cannot both be true. Why is the DfT giving out blatantly false,
incorrect and confusing information? Why will it not amend FAQ 24
now to prevent further misinformation to the public, or why is it
continuing to supply me with incorrect information? If FAQ 24 is
correct then why have the DfT lied to me? ]

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/pe...

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

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Think before you print. To save energy and paper please only print this message if you really need to.
This email and any files transmitted with it are private and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which they are addressed.
If you are not the intended recipient the E-mail and any files have been transmitted to you in error and any copying, distribution or other use of the information contained in them is strictly prohibited.
Nothing in this E-mail message amounts to a contractual or other legal commitment on the part of the Government unless confirmed by a communication signed on behalf of the Secretary of State.
The Department's computer systems may be monitored and communications carried on them recorded, to secure the effective operation of the system and for other lawful purposes.
Correspondents should note that all communications from DfT may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded for lawful purposes.

The original of this email was scanned for viruses by the Government Secure Intranet virus scanning service supplied by Cable&Wireless Worldwide in partnership with MessageLabs. (CCTM Certificate Number 2009/09/0052.) On leaving the GSi this email was certified virus free.
Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded for legal purposes.

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Jeff Buske left an annotation (27 August 2011)

Quote-marks (1) Unlike medical devices, security scanners are not designed to image the internal body, although some makes of security scanner may reveal parts of the internal body that are very close to the surface, such as shin bones.
>> This is TRUE for backscatter.
>> FALSE for powerful forward scatter or transmission x-ray systems show detailed internals. Like systems at Newcastle, Australia, and new walk through "total recal" systems Singapore. Dose 20-50x that of backscatter depending on resolution.

http://www.rockyflatsgear.com/Total-Reca...

(2) The energy X-rays will penetrate the body, although only a small proportion of the low energy x-rays used in security scanners do so, whilst the rest are backscattered.
>> FALSE only a few percent 5-7% maximum are backscattered from the skin and clothing. The balance are absorbed by the tissue damaging cells and DNA, skin/breast dose 1/50 to 1/20 of a chest x-ray.

(3) The DfT believes that the FAQ referred to is not incorrect and does not currently intend to amend it.
>> Wish you would reconsider. Thanks Jeff

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