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Full Body Scanners

BUSINESS
June 2, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
The "nude scanners" are gone. The full-body scanners that used X-rays to create what looks like a nude image 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.
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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
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.
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.
BUSINESS
April 11, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
A plan to get airline crew members through airport security quicker is in the works and could lead to somewhat faster lines for passengers. The Transportation Security Administration recently announced plans to begin testing an identity verification program to let airline crews bypass the controversial full-body scanners and extra-thorough pat-down searches at airports. The proposed program, TSA officials say, should — to a degree — speed up airport security lines for regular passengers by diverting the nation's more than 100,000 pilots and flight attendants through a separate screening process.
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.
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