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Surprising Science

Body Scan Alternatives

Alternatives are being developed to the controversial full-body scan technology to be used soon in American airports.

“Amid privacy concerns sparked by the move to triple the number of full-body scanners in US airports, some groups are pushing for alternative technologies they say could provide the same, or better, level of screening without the privacy issues.The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) move to expand the number of full body scanners in US airports by early 2010 comes in the wake of the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack. The bomber hid the explosives in his underwear, which would have been caught only by a full-body pat down or in a full-body scanner that can see through clothing. But the use of full body scanners is controversial because it snaps something close to a naked image. On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union on its website advocated the use of the ‘Puffer,’ a machine first developed by General Electric that can detect chemical particles a person may have on their body and analyze whether or not they are harmful. The machine works by blowing puffs of chemically-sensitive air around the individual.”


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