Clothes Penetrating Scanner Used in Arizona Airport
An Arizona airport began testing a new X-ray scanning security system that critics are calling an invasion of privacy.
Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix became the first airport to begin testing a new federal screening system that uses X-ray images to scan passengers for concealed explosives or other weapons. The Transportation Security Administration's "backscatter" is capable of producing clear images, but the TSA adjusted the scanner to produce something close to a line drawing to respect the privacy of travelers.
Critics say the backscatter's clear images are too invasive, but the adjusted images do not accurately detect concealed weapons.
Using the backscatter is completely voluntary. If a traveler does not pass the first routine security check, they can use the backscatter or opt to have a traditional pat-down search.
The machine is operating at one terminal in Phoenix for a 90 day trial period. By the end of the year, the TSA hopes to have other machines operating at airports in New York and Los Angeles.