U.S. airports expand passenger full-body screening
Ross Kerber BOSTON
BOSTON (Reuters) - Airport officials on Friday showed off new X-ray scanning machines they will use to screen more passengers with full-body imaging as called for by security advocates, a step that has alarmed civil libertarians.
The $170,000 machines made by a unit of OSI Systems Inc show guards images of passengers' bodies through their clothes to reveal hidden objects.
Three to be activated on Monday at Boston's Logan International Airport will be the first of 150 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials hope to deploy in the next few months using funds from last year's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus.
The agency aims to have 450 advanced scanners at airports by the end of the year.
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Here are my qualms with this whole situation.
It is bad enough that it takes a ridiculous amount of time inching forward in line so that all of my personal items can be examined. Then, I have to take 5 minutes taking off shoes, belts, jewelry and dismantling cameras, cell phones and lap tops. THEN, I somehow still manage to make the machine beep, meaning I get to have the fabulous experience of being physically accosted by an over zealous security guard. This happened once in Germany and was the most invasive experience of my existence. Imagine myhorror when, after siad feelage, I was led to a small area of the room that was curtained off. I was more than ready to execute a few self defence moves. As it turns out, the search of my PERSON was complete, but they demanded I open up my lap top for inspection. That's right, of my FILES. Because we all know what murderous capacity my FILES have.
Considering how expensive these new machines are, I can only imagine the more intense queing I will have to do. Which, by the way, I am NOT down for, especially when the end of said que involves ex-ray capacity the likes of which only Superman previously had the privelege of.
Of course, I believe that we want to be as safe as possible on these air plights. But surely the criminal master minds behind these morbid attempts have realised that if they really want to do that sort of thing, armina passenger is not the way to go? Especially with how tight things are getting these days. In short- I think these new machines are invasive, expensive and time consuming excess. You'd never believe the world was in financial crisis.