Heathrow Airport Body Scanner Abused; Employee Takes Picture of Woman’s Scanned Image

Back in January, when talk of putting body scanners in airports was running at full steam, I posted my opinion on the whole matter, which is, in short that it’s a horrible idea that offers up way too many opportunities for abuse of the system by less than ethical employees and the government.  I pointed out how accurately the body scanners portray people’s forms and how some countries had even banned the use of body scanners on children because it was a violation of child pornography laws that state that nude images of children cannot be created.  Additionally, I pointed out ways in which the images could be removed from the area, and even how simple photo editing could reverse the colors to create accurate color nude images of people.  Here are the example images I posted:

There were a lot of naysayers in that debate, talking about how it could never happen, how there would be preventive measures put in place to keep people from abusing the imaging system.  As with all systems, there are always holes, and the first one just cropped up.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Police received an allegation regarding an incident that happened at Heathrow Terminal 5 on March 10. A first-instance harassment warning has been issued to a 25-year-old male.”

The BAA employee took a photo of his co-worker, Jo Margetson, when she inadvertently went through a scanner.

“I can’t bear to think about the body scanner thing,” she told the Sun. “I’m totally traumatised. I’ve spoken to the police about it. I’m in too much of a state to go to work.”

via guardian.co.uk

I’m not going to drag this out, because I’m sure most of you have read both sides of the argument already, but just keep this in mind the next time you’re taking your wife and young daughter through the airport.  One last thing I’d like to reiterate though, is that these body scanners would not have detected the bomb that was used on the December 25th, 2009 attempted airplane bombing that these scanners are being installed as a reaction to.  That’s all of our tax dollars, hard at work buying things that wouldn’t even have solved the original problem.

Update: This is my favorite quote from the news article (linked to from the quote above):

“Air passengers already tolerate a large invasion of their privacy and we do not feel that full-body scanners add greatly to this situation. Privacy concerns should not prevent the deployment of scanners.”

Essentially this guy is saying that because they already violate your privacy, it’s absolutely ok for them to continue violating it. Get ready for invasive probes after the next terrorist hides a bomb inside their rectum or vagina. It’ll be ok, because they’ve already invaded your privacy greatly by virtually strip searching you, so why not go a bit further?

My Thoughts on Redux, An Entertainment Portal

Like the title says, Redux is all about entertainment.  It does it well too.  It’s currently in a private beta, but I signed up for and received an invitation.  I’m not sure how limited the invites are, having picked mine up through a Mashable link, but it’s still a small community.  That small community is pretty dedicated though.  You see people’s avatars popping up all over the place, commenting and giving “props” on people’s shares.

The way Redux works is that it acts as a link sharing center for videos, pictures, and web address links.  If you look at the image above, you can see that across the top of the page there’s a share box.  Whatever you share can be added to your profile as well as to any “channels” you’ve joined.  There are a couple different channels and there’s the option to create your own channel if you want. (See the screenshot below).

If you look at the left sidebar in the image above you can see that I have my Twitter and Facebook feeds linked into Redux.  This works in two ways.  One is that if I click on one of those options, I can see the content that my Twitter friends are sharing in one long stream, inline.  Even web page links get a thumbnail.  The same goes for Facebook.  I can see links and content shared by Facebook friends right in Redux.  The other way that works is that if I like something I see in Redux I can click the Twitter or Facebook icon to share it directly to my Facebook page or Twitter stream.  That’s pretty nifty.

The interface is pretty nice.  You can select to see (like I said above) just your Twitter friends’ content, just Facebook, both together along with content from the “channels” you’ve joined under My Network, or if you’re really feeling frisky you can just click “Everyone” and see everything that’s on Redux mashed together into one stream.

I think one of the defining characteristics of Redux is its TV mode.  It works similarly to YouTube’s full screen mode, except it’s continuous play.  You can set TV mode on a particular channel, the Everyone or My Network sections.  It’s pretty versatile, and it’s highly entertaining.  In fact, I would say that once you get it going it’s hard to pull yourself away.  From the full screen mode you can skip back and forth and give “props” to the video.  Unfortunately you can’t comment on it yet, but when I mentioned that via the feedback form I was informed that they were actually discussing implementing that feature and would take my feedback under advisement.  The team seems pretty cool too.  I mean, how often do you get a feedback form from a company that starts off with “Yo Brad, …”?

So, why should you bother to use Redux when you’re already getting this content in other places?  Well, that’s a good question and the answer is that it’s easier.  First off, you can check one place instead of two.  Second you have easy sharing options built in and you can watch it in TV mode.  Another great thing about Redux is that the content you find there is what people feel is worth sharing, which means you’re going to get to skip past most of the frivolous crap.  There are still things there that aren’t going to suit your taste, but that’s why there are descriptions and thumbnails.  You can get an idea of whether or not you actually want to see what’s behind the link.  Also, Redux is another community and another way to meet and engage other people interested in sharing good content.

Oh, and did I mention it looks good?  It didn’t take long for me to figure out the interface and it’s got some great built in backgrounds to choose from:

The only thing I would caution people on is that you shouldn’t run Redux if your laptop isn’t in a cool place.  Watching in TV mode puts the fans on high after a real short amount of time.  Most internet video seems to be like that though.

If you want to give Redux a try I have 5 invites available.  Let me know in the comment section or send me a Tweet at @BradleyF81 and I’ll pass one your way.