The full body scanner

How it works and why I think it is here to stay


safe in your seat after body-scan and securitybody scanner-security then safe in your seat

Photo by Sofia Sforza

Everyone is asking about the full body scanner used for airport security screening. For one thing I believe that these tough security measures are here to stay.

They are in or in the process of being installed into most major airports around the world. This is mostly in response to new air port regulations from the U.S. transportation security administration TSA in regard to travel to U.S. destinations.

This is especially true in countries that are hubs were people travel onto the U.S. from other places.

With ever increasing airline security technology we are getting a layered approach to airport screening.

The claim is that this high tech equipment will help prevent air disasters, will make it safer and easier for passengers and eventually shorten lines.

The passenger will walk into what is similar to the metal arch that is currently used. They must be able to raise their arms above their head and turn from front to back. This may be difficult for some old people or passengers with disabilities. It only takes a few seconds.

Most airports are using a radio wave millimetre wave technology. It reveals concealed potentially dangerous objects. It shows metal, rubber, liquids, plastic, wire and ceramics.

The screening officer is in a different room than the person going through the whole-body scanner. To the viewing personnel you will remain anonymous. They will be able to tell what gender they are looking at but the face will be blurred. They see through clothing and it creates a 3D image of the passenger. It does not penetrate the body they see both sides front and back.

It is not as strong as a hospital x-ray. The computers are bolted down and the images are erased not stored in a data bank. In some airports they are asking people to volunteer to go through. The alternative is a full body search, pat down, sniffer dogs and swabbing carryon hand luggage.

There is a lot of controversy about the body scanner as you can imagine.


Questions
of Invasion of privacy come up of course, human rights, not to mention worries about dignity. The various governments are trying to make it less invasive. They are debating how it fits into the constitution and rights and freedoms of their individual countries.

Others are debating whether it is worth it for safety and if it is actually that effective. I know that there is nothing that I can do about it as I want to continue to travel. I think personally I would rather this than a strip search. It definitely will make some people feel uncomfortable but like everything else we probably will get used to it and I believe it is here to stay.

For more on the full body scanner visit the Canadian air transport security authority website¬†

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