Airport launches full-body scans
Friday, October 01, 2010 By TED LaBORDE
WINDSOR LOCKS – Bradley International Airport is the latest airport nationwide to implement use of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration’s newest security technology.
Two “backscatter” advanced imaging technology units, used for full body scans of passengers, were activated this week at Bradley with another four scheduled to arrive shortly, David Bassett, the airport’s TSA director, said Thursday.
The two units are among 242 advanced imaging units now in use at airports nationwide, he said.
The screening device is “optional to all passengers,” Bassett said, explaining that those passengers opposed to that type of screening will be subjected to other types of screening that include the walk-through metal detector and a physical pat-down.
Boston’s Logan International Airport was among the first 11 airports nationwide to receive the new technology earlier this year. TSA has been placing the units in airports since March. TSA and Homeland Security expect to have 500 scanners in use by the end of the year.
Bassett assured passengers that the new technology does not violate their privacy, explaining that “the officer attending the passenger will not view the image and the officer viewing the image will be remotely located where the passenger cannot be physically seen.”
Also, according to Bassett, images of passengers are filtered and cannot be stored, transmitted or printed.
The new technology not only enhances security, according to Bassett, but also reduces the need for pat-down searches especially on passengers with joint replacements and other medical issues.
Backscatter technology projects an ionizing X-ray beam over the body surface at high speed. The reflection of the beam is detected, digitized and displayed on a monitor.
Its purpose is to detect metallic and non-metallic weapons, explosives and other objects concealed under layers of clothing without physical contact with passengers.
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