Better scanners: No surprises in airport security

  • Article by: CHICAGO TRIBUNE EDITORIAL
  • Updated: February 17, 2013 - 4:51 PM
Most American travelers long ago resigned themselves to intrusive searches and scans at this nation's airports. They understand that the inconvenience is an infinitesimal price to pay for the relentlessly safe flights they enjoy. So they dutifully shuffle, beltless and shoeless, through the security system.

With one exception: Some people balked at submitting to those full-body scanners that showed graphic body images to Transportation Security Administration agents. The complainers now can relax. The TSA is pulling those scanners by summer.

Last year, Congress banned revealing body images in airport security screenings, and the scanner's manufacturer couldn't meet a deadline to upgrade its technology.

Still, this is a smart move, because better machines -- millimeter wave body-imaging scanners -- are already in use. These machines don't use X-rays and don't show detailed images of what's under a passenger's clothing. They display a generic, almost cartoonlike outline of each passenger. If there's anything suspicious, an orange square highlights the area on the traveler's body. Best of all, passengers can see everything the officer sees. No surprises, no detailed images beamed to remote locations.

 

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