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Full Body Scanners

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.
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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)
BUSINESS
May 27, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
The federal government says it has plans to use advance technology to dramatically reduce the number of pat-down searches performed in the nation's airports. The Department of Homeland Security recently put out a request for technology companies to come up with a hand-held scanning device that can be used instead of pat-down searches on passengers who set off alarms on full-body scanners. The department oversees the Transportation Security Administration, which operates about 700 full-body scanners at 180 airports across the country.
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
June 3, 2013 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
The "nude scanners" are gone. The full-body scanners that used X-rays to create what look like nude images of passengers have been packed away and removed from airports across the country. The 250 or so machines were removed about two weeks ago, before the June 1 deadline set by Congress. But privacy advocates aren't satisfied, noting that the Transportation Security Administration is still using full-body scanners that employ a different technology. "They've never made a case that these scanners are better than using metal detectors or swabs to detect the use of explosives," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a research center that sued the TSA in 2010 over the use of all full-body scanners.
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.
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
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.
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
June 10, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
Full-body scanners used for security screening at the nation's airports do not expose passengers to dangerous levels of radiation, according to a new independent analysis of the security devices. The study by the Marquette University College of Engineering concluded that radiation from so-called backscatter scanners passes beyond a passenger's skin to reach 29 different organs - including the heart and brain. But the radiation levels are considerably lower than those of otherX-ray procedures such as mammograms, the study said.
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