Automated Target Recognition Balances Security And Privacy
The TSA says new scanner technology installed last week at Westchester County Airport in New York will enhance security while maintaining passengers' privacy. The new technology is called automated target recognition, which detects metallic and non-metallic items that might constitute a threat. Airport officials say the machine uses a "cookie cutter" image and not an image of a passenger's actual body to show where a potential threat might be located, thus maintaining an individual's privacy.
The Greenwich Times reports that Lisa Farbstein, public affairs manager for the TSA, said the advanced imaging technology machine doesn't depict body parts on screen. "It doesn't matter if you are 7 feet or 5-foot-2. It doesn't matter if you are male or female."
A demonstration of the scanner at HPN showed a TSA employee bringing a Tic Tac container through the machine, showing a generic image of a person on the officer's screen. A yellow box outlined in red showed the container in the employee's pocket. The scanner does not give a detailed picture of what the threat looks like, however. A green screen indicates the machine did not detect a possible threat.
The millimeter wave technology, which TSA says is safe for all travelers and meets all national and international health and safety standards, emits 1,000 times less electromagnetic waves than international guidelines. A passenger can elect to forgo the machine, but will then have to go through a pat-down search.