PBIA Debuts Controversial Full-Body Scanners

Oct. 1, 2010



Palm Beach International Airport has a controversial new tool in airport security -- a full-body scanner, which made its debut Thursday.

The advanced imaging technology bounces electromagnetic waves off the passenger. A black-and-white image showing what might be hiding underneath a person's clothing is viewed by TSA screeners in a separate room.

"The terrorist evolves therefore we need to evolve in the technology that we use," Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said.

The TSA uses the imaging technology at 58 airports throughout the country.

But the scanners are controversial because of what they reveal.

"We have worked very hard to make sure that passengers feel comfortable going through these machines because they know that that image will remain anonymous," Koshetz said. "That image can never be stored, printed or transmitted, and it is deleted immediately after it is viewed."

It didn't seem to bother many passengers at PBIA.

Boca Raton resident Robert Rosenthal said he was born in an era when there was no television, so he called the technology "really wild."

Heidi Bressler said she didn't think it was a bad thing.

"They do block out your face," she said. "I'm not modest, and I think for the security of myself and other flyers, I'm not against it."

But passenger Anthony Rodrigues said he was concerned about the health consequences.

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