If you are planning on travelling to the United States, your
picture, visa, finger prints and retina scans are no longer enough.
US immigration officers can now also scan your private parts in
detail for Weapons of Mass Destruction of course! If you are a
person with some sense of privacy... there is no problem: your face
won't show, only your bottom will.
Scanners that see through clothing installed in US airports
NEW YORK (AFP) — Security scanners which can see through passengers'
clothing and reveal details of their body underneath are being
installed in 10 US airports, the US Transportation Security
Administration said Tuesday.
A random selection of travellers getting ready to board airplanes in
Washington, New York's Kennedy, Los Angeles and other key hubs will
be shut in the glass booths while a three-dimensional image is made
of their body beneath their clothes.
The booths close around the passenger and emit "millimeter waves"
that go through cloth to identify metal, plastics, ceramics,
chemical materials and explosives, according to the TSA.
While it allows the security screeners -- looking at the images in a
separate room -- to clearly see the passenger's sexual organs as
well as other details of their bodies, the passenger's face is
blurred, TSA said in a statement on its website.
The scan only takes seconds and is to replace the physical pat-downs
of people that is currently widespread in airports.
TSA began introducing the body scanners in airports in April, first
in the Phoenix, Arizona terminal.
The installation is picking up this month, with machines in place or
planned for airports in Washington (Reagan National and Baltimore-
But the new machines have provoked worries among passengers and
"People have no idea how graphic the images are," Barry Steinhardt,
director of the technology and liberty program at the American Civil
Liberties Union, told AFP.
The ACLU said in a statement that passengers expecting privacy
underneath their clothing "should not be required to display highly
personal details of their bodies such as evidence of mastectomies,
colostomy appliances, penile implants, catheter tubes and the size
of their breasts or genitals as a pre-requisite to boarding a plane."
Besides masking their faces, the TSA says on its website, the images
made "will not be printed stored or transmitted.
"Once the transportation security officer has viewed the image and
resolved anomalies, the image is erased from the screen permanently.
The officer is unable to print, export, store or transmit the image."
Lara Uselding, a TSA spokeswoman, added that passengers are not
obliged to accept the new machines.
"The passengers can choose between the body imaging and the pat-
down," she told AFP.
TSA foresees 30 of the machines installed across the country by the
end of 2008. In Europe, Amsterdam's Schipol airport is already using
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