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Full Body Scanners

BUSINESS
December 20, 2012 | By Hugo Martin, This post has been updated. See note below.
Responding to critics, the Department of Homeland Security is launching another safety study of full-body scanners used to screen passengers at the nation's airports. The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Transportation Security Administration, plans to award a contract to the National Academy of Sciences to perform the review. But the nonprofit group of scientists will only be asked to review previous studies on the safety of a particular type of scanner used by the TSA. The study comes in response to pressure from TSA critics, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
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BUSINESS
January 6, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
The Transportation Security Administration wants you to know that crowds of airport screeners are not sitting around giggling at naked images of you. The TSA said such unprofessional behavior by officers who review images made by full-body scanners is unlikely because screeners sit alone in private rooms, trying to spot weapons hidden beneath clothes of screened passengers. “The resolution room is used only for the viewing of the images and is not a gathering place or break room for other officers as the officer viewing the images has to be focused in order to prevent any dangerous items from entering the airport,” the TSA said in an online post last week.
BUSINESS
March 30, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
The radiation doses emitted by the most common walk-through airport scanners are extremely small and pose no significant health risk, according to a new report by a UC San Francisco radiology specialist. Still, Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a professor at the university's radiology and biomedical imaging department, recommends more independent testing to ensure the scanners are operating as designed. The report published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine comes in response to opposition from privacy rights groups such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center to the use of full-body scanners.
BUSINESS
March 11, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
When an online video gets more than a million views, it's hard to ignore. That may be the reason the Transportation Security Administration took the unusual step last week to address an online video that claims to show how to circumvent the full-body scanners that the TSA has installed at 140 airports across the country. Jonathan Corbett, a blogger and TSA critic, posted a video this month on YouTube and his own Web page, www.tsaoutofourpants.wordpress.com , titled "How to Get Anything Through TSA Nude Body Scanners.
BUSINESS
November 7, 2010 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
As federal aviation officials increased airport security measures, civil liberty groups fought back, protesting new pat-down search techniques and the growing use of full-body scanners. The Transportation Security Administration announced last week that security officers would to perform more aggressive pat-downs and vowed to approximately triple the number of full-body scanners in airports nationwide by the end of next year. Under the new pat-down technique, TSA security officers use their palms and fingers to probe for hidden weapons and other devices.
OPINION
June 24, 2012
Re "TSA full-body scanners pose little risk, study says," June 11 The Times reported on an academic, peer-reviewed paper we coauthored. We'd like to clarify some points. Our study did not quantify the risk of backscatter security scans. The study estimated, using computer simulations, the radiation dose to individual organs. As stated in the paper, "Access to the machines for measurements and assessments is limited. " Therefore our models were based on measurements from a Johns Hopkins University study commissioned by the Transportation Security Administration, a limitation prominently discussed in our paper.
BUSINESS
February 23, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
In the near future, airline passengers may be screened for weapons without having to stop walking or to remove their coats and shoes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is pushing for private contractors to come up with a screening machine with “screen-and-walk” capability for use at the nation's 160 airports and thousands of federal facilities. The agency recently requested information from high-tech companies and other private firms about any new technology that can help speed up the security checkpoints managed by the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Protective Service.
NATIONAL
February 2, 2011 | By Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau
As the uproar over the government's use of pat-downs and full-body scanners at airports ebbs, new technology is being tested that is designed to allay privacy concerns over the grainy nude images produced by the machines. Scanners being tested in three U.S. airports starting this week will display for screeners a generic stick figure, and any suspicious object on a passenger's body will be flagged for inspection by a pale red box on the drawing. A passenger cleared to go will see the screen flash green and read "OK. " The software debuts as complaints by air travelers over the new security measures have remained relatively low. Of the 100 million fliers that have passed through airport checkpoints since Nov. 1, the Transportation Security Administration has received fewer than 5,500 complaints about the procedures.
BUSINESS
May 5, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
President Obama recently groused that no U.S. airport ranked among the world's top 25 airports. If you're a regular traveler to or from Los Angeles, you may be even more disappointed to learn that Los Angeles International Airport didn't even make the top 100. Obama was referring to a ranking released in April - the Skytrax World Airport Awards - that is based on a survey of 12.1 million travelers around the world. Out of 395 airports worldwide, LAX ranked 109th. It came in at 24th among 50 airports in North America.
NEWS
February 23, 2013 | By Chris Erskine
In front of a crowd of more than 100, TSA spokesman Nico Melendez talked at Saturday's L.A. Times Travel Show about changes in progress and changes to come at the 11-year-old agency, a longtime hot button issue for travelers. Melendez, who has been with the TSA since its inception after 9/11, appears again Sunday in a 1 p.m. session moderated by L.A. Times travel staffer and columnist Chris Erskine. In Saturday's session, Melendez discussed and showed visuals of the upgraded full-body scanners in use across LAX since October.
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