Friday, May 9, 2008

You asked for it...You got it, Millimeter Wave images.

Here are the much requested, much anticipated, full body images of millimeter wave - both front and back, male and female just like so many of you asked for.

These were provided to TSA by the manufacturer of the technology, L-3. We asked L-3 to blur the facial features just like they are blurred when our officers see the images in Phoenix, Baltimore, LAX and JFK. These are exactly what officers see at airports today and will see in future deployments.

While we have said this many times, it bears repeating, TSA will not keep, store or transmit images. Once deleted, they are gone forever. For additional privacy, the officer viewing the image is in a separate room and will never see the passenger and the officer attending to the passenger will never see the image. The officers have 2-way radios to communicate with other in case a threat object is identified.I venture to say, Mikhail Baryshnikov may have exposed more in his ballet costume than these robotic images portray.

Why did we decide to put them up now? Because you've asked for it... Hopefully the editors of Reader's Digest will consider these for their next cover.

What do you think?

- Bob

05/10/08 6:10 p.m. Christopher said:

There have been a couple of incorrect assumptions made regarding the actual screening that I feel are important to clear up.

The actual scan itself takes about 2.5 seconds. That is the length of time a passenger should stand still in the machine (which is clear Plexiglas, allowing passengers to view their items as they come out of the x-ray used to inspect carry-on bags). The remaining time, between 15-45 seconds, is used by the officer at the remote viewing location to evaluate the image. During that time, the passenger can move around at will next to the machine while the officer attending the machine waits to hear via wireless comms that the image is free of any potential threats. This is an important point as ALL items must be removed from passenger's pockets prior to entering the millimeter wave machine because they will show up and must be removed to ensure they are not threat items.

A couple of bloggers have advocated for the officer viewing the image to be out in the public area. We specifically require the remote location to protect the privacy of passengers using the machine. We just don’t think it’s appropriate for other passengers, airport, airline employees or just anybody walking by to see the images, much less snap a photo with a camera phone or anything else and post that image to or who knows where. That’s also why officers are not allowed to bring anything, including phones, bags or other items into the remote viewing location.

While we’re still collecting acceptance stats, the early word is that a great majority (more than 85 percent) of passengers prefer using this machine in lieu of a pat-down, which contrary to one poster takes much longer than 5 seconds and requires physical contact.

Hope this information helps.

EoS Blog Team