Remember those scanners from Total Recall? The kind that could see through your clothes and detect if someone is carrying something they shouldn’t? The future is getting closer and that has a few people worried about privacy.
L3 Communications is testing new Millimeter Wave (MMW) technology scanners at six airports around the country, with up to twenty airports planning to start using MMW technology later this year. Unlike the Total Recall’s “just walk right through” scanners, passengers still must remove jackets, metal items, and shoes and step into a small glass chamber. Sensors take about 3min to read the energy coming off the human body and can detect if there is anything that shouldn’t be on the person.
Even though the faces of passengers are blurred out and the technology does not allow printing or storing in anyway, the American Civil Liberties Union is arguing that this technology is too intrusive, showing catheters, underwear, and other non-natural items under a person’s cloths. Not to mention that it quite easily shows the curves of the person’s body which can be seen on the image with this blog.
At this point it is being offerred by the TSA as an alternative to a traditional pat-down search. The TSA states that more than 99% of passengers given the choice are choosing the MMW technology, but I wonder if they know what the scan is doing. Passengers might think it is like the “sniffing scanner” which is mostly harmless.
Although the concept of this seems like a smart idea, actually seeing the images produced would make me feel uncomfortable being scanned with a MMW scanner. If you get a pat-down you can see the person and know they are being professional. How does one know what a TSA agent is doing with the images they are seeing via MMW in their “remote location.” Although images cannot be recorded, what stops someone from taking photos of the screen? I love technology and would hate to hinder the evolution of Total Recall type scanners. I think if people are informed what the scan fully entails (ie maybe have an example picture next to the scanners) and are given this as a choice, then I think this technology can work and keep people safe.
Thanks Jessica for the tip!
Source & Image: LiveScience.com