Mon, Dec 25, 2006
Excuse Our Technical Difficulties
Although the federal
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said an X-ray security
scanner that takes clear pictures of the human body, along with
concealed weapons, would be operating at Sky Harbor International
Airport's Terminal 4 by Christmas, it was not to be.
Technical difficulties involving the scanner properly working
with the airport's wireless connections were encountered, the TSA
told AP. Testing has been rescheduled to early 2007.
The TSA also concluded that the holiday season was not the best
time to start the project. (Do you think?) "The last thing we
wanted to do was start this during one of the busiest travel times
of the year," said Nico Melendez, an agency spokesman.
Already in use in prisons and by drug enforcement agents, the
security scanner has been tested at Heathrow Airport. Sky Harbor
will still be the first airport in the nation to test the
equipment; the TSA will later test the machines at a handful of
other airports later in the year.
During the pilot program, the X-ray machine will only be used as
a secondary screening measure; passengers who fail the standard
screening process will be able to choose between the new device or
a typical pat-down search.
Critics say the high resolution images are too invasive. "This
body-scan technology is nothing more than an electronic strip
search," according to Barry Steinhardt, ACLU Associate
The TSA says it can adjust the machine's images so normally
graphic pictures are blurred in certain areas, while it can still
be effective at detecting threats.
Phoenix Sky Harbor is the world's 6th busiest airport.
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