DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Transportation Security Administration showed off some improved security scanners at Love Field Thursday.
The millimeter wave machines use new software to address concerns some travelers had raised about privacy. Instead of showing a detailed outline of the body of each person who goes through the machine, the scanners will only display any problem areas or foreign objects.
“It will be shown on a generic outline that is the same for all passengers, and it will show the location of the anomaly so that the passenger knows exactly why the Transportation Security Officer is focusing in on that part of their body,” said Luis Casanova with the TSA. “Passengers will see exactly what the officer sees.”
KRLD’s Steven Pickering Reports:
The full-body scanners were the subject of criticism when they were introduced. Some travelers though the images the images they created were intrusive. “Strict privacy safeguards are built into the foundation of TSA’s use of advanced imaging technology. We want to protect passenger privacy and insure anonymity without compromising security,” Casanova said.
They’re full body scanners but without the baggage of earlier models. No close-up images of passengers’ body parts, instead an outline of a gender-neutral body that tips off screeners to what they call “anomalies.” The TSA gave us up-close looks at the new system, using its own employees for the demonstration. Passengers can now see monitors, as well as screeners. Green and yellow dots tip off locations of anomalies. But if there are alerts a passenger will still get a thorough pat-down, even the elderly or mothers with newborns.
“It was real quick, I didn’t mind it at all,” says passenger Ron Bell, who believes heavy security is necessary and welcomes the new system. “It was not any harder than any I’ve been through, it was fairly easy.” Another passenger, Lorri Dalton, has seen them at other airports and says they’re relatively easey. “Not harder, just don’t forget your belt because it does find the belt. Or the bejeweled pants all the girls like to wear, that will get you, too.”
The TSA says the machines are safe. That the energy a person absorbs going through the screening is 1000 times less than what is set by international flying standards. Most passengers are happy with that. Most, but not all. Craig Covello opted for the old-fashioned pat-down. “Well, only because it’s new technology, it is radiation, and I’ve just learned not to believe everything the government has to say…or anybody, for that matter, when it comes to technology.”
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