Full-body scanners at Logan ignite privacy debate
BOSTON -- Security screeners at Logan International Airport will soon be getting a closer look at passengers.
The Transportation Security Administration has ordered 150 full-body scanners that can detect explosives under clothing, and three of the machines arrived at Logan Airport on Friday.
Beginning Monday, passengers at Logan Airport’s Terminal A will be undergoing full-body scans as they pass through security. All Logan terminals are expected to have full-body scanners by the end of the summer.
The machines use a tiny amount of radiation to take a see-through picture of a person’s body.
“It’s equivalent to the amount of radiation that the passenger would receive in two minutes of flight,” said Lee Kair of the TSA Office of Security Operations.
The government said the process is perfectly safe and takes less than a minute. While the process is voluntary, passengers who opt out will have to not only walk through a metal detector, they will also be patted down.
The images from the scanners show the contours of a passenger’s body, but software blurs out the faces. The person reviewing the scans sits in a locked booth 100 feet from the checkpoint in order to provide passengers further privacy.
“Passenger privacy is ensured through the anonymity of the image. The officer attending the passenger will not view the image and as an additional precaution, the officer viewing the image will be remotely located and the image won’t be stored,” said Kair.
The TSA says full-body scanners are more effective than a metal detector, because the machines can detect any type of contraband -- whether metal, liquid or plastic.
“It’s very exciting. We’ve had the posture since 9/11 that we want to be the laboratory for new technology, and this is another example of that here at Logan Airport,” Ed Freni, Director of Aviation for Logan Airport said.
The ACLU has complained that this is an invasion of privacy. However, most passengers at Logan didn’t seem to mind, and some are even keeping a sense of humor about it.
When Logan traveler Todd Stollberg was asked if he had a problem with the new technology, he said, “Not at all. I took a shower, I’m in good shape.”
“I think it’s great. I think if they feel that there’s extra security measures that they have to reach, there’s a reason for it, and I think we should all go along with it, because no one needs another 9/11,” said Jackie Monterio, a Logan employee.
The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that nine more U.S. airports, including Chicago’s O’Hare and LAX in Los Angeles, will receive body-scanning technology as the United States heightens its effort to detect hidden explosives and contraband.
The scanners are being tested at 19 airports across the country in a pilot program. The TSA says the results of the pilot program show that passengers like the extra security.
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