Posted: Oct 14, 2011 5:50 PM by Russell Jones
Updated: Oct 15, 2011 11:10 AM
BATON ROUGE - Airport officials unveiled new body scanners with enhanced privacy software today at Baton Rouge Metro Airport.
The Transportation and Safety Administration invited media out for a demonstration of the new scanners, which they say have an increased ability to automatically detect threats on passengers.
The scanners look for items such as explosives or weapons that could be a threat aboard a plane. If any threats are found the system displays a generic outline of a person with areas marked for further pat-downs.
Earlier versions of the scanners created widespread concerns about invasions of privacy because they produced scans of the person's actual body shape. The new technology is less invasive.
"Its electromagnetic waves are bounced off the body to determine whether someone might have something concealed underneath their clothing," said TSA Spokesman Jon Allen.
Allen said the wave is harmless. It's not a laser or an x-ray. It simply bounces off hidden items on the body.
Major airports tapped into this technology about a year ago. The difference now is that when a person is scanned instead of their image being viewed by an officer in a private room, the passenger can see it themselves. If cleared, a green "ok screen" pops up. If not a generic human outline will appear, highlighting concealed items with a yellow square.
Some passengers we spoke to support it.
"As long as it protects the people getting on board, I'm good with that," said Neila Phillips.
Others say the scanners could be a pain if you're in a rush.
"I can't say I'm for or against it, I guess it depends on your frame of mind that day," said Pam Bozeman.
The scanners are already in place with the enhanced privacy software at 80 airports nationwide including the New Orleans airport and now in Baton Rouge. Security officials expect the scanners to be fully online by the end of this month.