December 20, 2012 |
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)
January 6, 2013 |
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.
May 27, 2012 |
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.
March 30, 2011 |
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.
November 7, 2010 |
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.
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.
February 2, 2011 |
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.
February 23, 2014 |
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.
September 12, 2011 |
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently offered some good news for air travelers: The days of marching through airport security checkpoints in your stocking feet may soon be over. Technology improvements in the nation's airport screening machines could soon allow travelers to pass through the checkpoints without removing belts, coats, shoes and other clothing, she said in a C-SPAN televised interview last week. "I think one of the first things you will see over time is the ability to keep your shoes on," Napolitano said.
March 29, 2011 |
The Transportation Security Administration began installing full-body scanners in American airports shortly after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab hid explosives in his underwear in a thwarted attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines jet on its way from Amsterdam to Detroit. Ever since, passengers have worried about the effects of one type of these scanners -- backscatter X-ray scanners -- may pose to their privacy and health. As for privacy concerns, sure: a TSA screener somewhere may be able to see a fuzzed-out image of your body the next time you walk through security on your way to a flight.