TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Body X-Ray Scans Starting in Phoenix

Body X-Ray Scans Starting in Phoenix

Associated Press News Wire (
Fri, 01 Dec 2006 09:43:23 -0600

Phoenix airport to test X-ray screening. They'll be part of
'Secondary Inspections' at all airports soon.

Sky Harbor International Airport here will test a new federal screening
system that takes X-rays of passenger's bodies to detect concealed
explosives and other weapons.

The technology, called backscatter, has been around for several years
but has not been widely used in the U.S. as an anti-terrorism tool
because of privacy concerns. Privacy is no longer a concern of the

The Transportation Security Administration said it has found a way to
refine the machine's images so that the normally graphic pictures can
be blurred in certain areas while still being effective in detecting
bombs and other threats.

The agency is expected to provide more information about the
technology later this month but said one machine will be up and
running at Sky Harbor's Terminal 4 by Christmas.

The security agency's Web site indicates that the technology will be
used initially as a secondary screening measure, meaning that only
those passengers who first fail the standard screening process will be
escorted to the X-ray area.

Even then, passengers will have the option of choosing the backscatter
or a traditional patt-down search.

A handful of other U.S. airports will have the X-rays machines in
place by early 2007 as part of a nationwide pilot program, TSA
officials said.

The technology already is being used in prisons and by drug
enforcement agents, and has been tested at London's Heathrow Airport.

The security agency says the machines will be effective in helping
detect plastic or liquid explosives and other non-metallic weapons
that can be missed by standard metal detectors.

Some say the high-resolution images -- which clearly depict the
outline of the passenger's body, plus anything attached to it, such as
jewelry -- are too invasive.

But the TSA said the X-rays will be set up so that the image can be
viewed only by a security officer in a remote location. Other
passengers, and even the agent at the checkpoint, will not have access
to the picture.

In addition, the system will be configured so that the X-ray will be
deleted as soon as the individual steps away from the machine. It will
not be stored or available for printing or transmitting, agency
spokesman Nico Melendez said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily. And, discuss this and other topics in our forum at (or)

For more news and headlines, please go to:

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Associated Press News Wire: "Body X-Ray Scans Starting in Phoenix"
Go to Previous message: Associated Press News Wire: "New Federal Laws Require Email Tracking"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page