Transportation Security Administration officials showed off the first body scanner at Honolulu Airport. There will be six of them in the next couple of weeks. Officials say this type of scanner allows them to see underneath the clothing of passengers, yet still protects their privacy. The officer screening the images is in a separate room and the passengers faces are blurred.
“There’s never gonna be any interaction between the passenger and the screening officer, and the technology is unable to save transmit or print, so once the image is done, it’s done forever,” said TSA spokesman Nico Melendez.
Kauai’s Lihue Airport was the first in Hawaii to use the advanced imaging technology. This one’s a little different but Melendez says both are accurate in detecting metallic and non-metallic threats. He says the images are also not as revealing as when they were first introduced.
“We’re not employing that technology, we don’t need that level of an image, we just need to be able to see and that’s what both of these technologies do for us,” said Melendez.
Passengers are randomly selected to go through the full body scanner and those who refuse, will then be patted down. Melendez says an internal survey shows that more than 90 percent of passengers prefer going through the scanner.
“They don’t want to be touched and we understand that, that’s why we pursued technology like this, so we could get away from having to touch passengers needlessly,” said Melendez.
Melendez says the new scanners might add a bit of waiting time at first as officers get used to the technology. But after a while, the scanners should speed things up. More importantly, they will also be more accurate.
“While speed is important, accuracy is even more important. And this allows us to be even more accurate. This allows us to find things that we weren’t able to find in the past,” said Melendez.
The cost of each scanner is $175,000.Scridb filter