Bush Intercontinental is one of three airports to get the latest in imaging equipment that leaves damn few questions unanswered about what passengers look like under all those clothes.
A new-generation "backscatter" machine, along with an improved "millimeter wave" machine, are coming to Terminal E in the near future, the Transportation Security Administration announced today.
Andrea McCauley of the TSA tells Hair Balls that the agency goes to extreme lengths to encourage passenger privacy, given that TSA employees will essentially be looking at nude pictures.
"We assure passengers that everything that can be done to assure their privacy will be done," she says.
For instance, TSA folks standing by the machine can't see anything. They just look at a fully-clothed person standing in it. (Passengers can also opt for an elaborate pat-down as opposed to standing in the machine for seven seconds.)
The images are sent to a separate room. A separate locked room. Bringing a camera or a cell phone into that room is a fireable offense, she says. (Preventing, among other things, any "You have got to check out the rack on this one" conversations from outside to inside.)
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Images can not be saved or stored, copied or printed inside that room. Faces are obscured on the images the locked-in people see.
"They would never know, if they left the imaging room, that a person they see outside is someone they've seen an image of," McCauley says.
Earlier versions of this equipment have been in use for close to three years at some airports. Privacy concerns were an issue then, McCauley says, but she notes that no TSA employees have been disciplined for violating the rules regarding the images.
Still: Men, be aware of shrinkage.