reply to post by Lillydale
How safe is being x-rayed like that? How safe is standing next to the machine all day long? I do not believe anyone has taken any time to
determine the health risks that may be presented by the radiation these machines are giving off.
The first scanners were in fact using radiation to bombard the body and get back a feed. They would surround your body, and on the other side, the
scanner would pick up the differences, like a MRI, with radiation. Although they claim it was armless, they did use radiation.
However, this new systems use microwaves. Like in the radars. The only side effect of that is heat, but since they are so tuned up and sensitive, you
don't even get to feel it.
It works like a microwave, really. They send to your body a certain amount of waves, and they bounce back. Clothes can't stop them, so your body, or
hard objects (like guns, drugs, or even plastics) show off in the scanner.
That's why you have to rotate, so the waves keep bouncing back and reading your body, like a 3D model.
From what I know, and I'm honest and say that it isn't much (lol), I don't think it's dangerous. At least, not in the amounts that they use.
Not even the radars in WWII ships are dangerous, let alone a small piece of equipment like this.
reply to post by Recouper
But I do want to ask how do you know this stuff.
I mean, I know you mentioned you are an airline pilot and I guess you alluded to the fact that you've seen these things in the course of your job.
But because the subject of these scanners is so weighted and the controversy involved, I would really appreciate details of how you know so much about
Well, we talk about this stuff. Usually there is some humor involved, since we are not that concerned over this things.
But we also got informations about it from our company (and I think that happens with all airline companies).
For example, I posted a while back a memo of my company relating this subject, stating that these scanners are not mandatory. I don't know if it's
only for pilots though.
After that, the information I get is from what I read in the news and so on.
Your comments seem tempered and reasonable, so I hope you don't feel I'm challenging you in some aggressive way. I'm not, I just want to
Not at all, my friend. Like I said earlier, I don't know why people get so personal and offended over this issue here on the forum. But that's a
whole new discussion.
As for your questions:
There are some models around, although this subject is being brought up now in the US and other countries, other airports have already installed this
technology when it was released the first time.
From that picture, I think that it only fits on two scenarios (from what I know):
1- That's a training PC. Meaning, it shows the officer sample (real, but sample) pictures of suspects (non-suspects and suspects) so they can train
their eyes and know what to look for. I mean, they can't risk send a officer to those workstations without knowing how a weapon looks like in the
scanner, although it's actually very clear.
I also believe this is the case, because it's what they already do with the normal scanner (for bags and luggage). They send the officers to a
training PC, and they see pictures and are evaluated accordingly. Although people think that the luggage scanners are easy to "read", they are not.
I've seen pictures of guns and drugs, that I didn't knew what the hell I was looking at (it happened one time, when one of our passengers was
yelling at me he was innocent, and the officer showed me on his screen the scan of the passenger bag. It did had a small pistol in it).
2- That is one of the primitive monitors for the scanners. I do know how they do look like NOW, but honestly, I think it's also possible that due to
budget issues (since it wasn't a proven tool) they were using average PC's for their surveillance work.
I'm not in the US, so forgive me if I get this wrong, but one of your news hosts, a very famous one (he even appeared on Conan O'brien several
times) did a story on those scanners.
The modern version is like (I dunno if you ever seen one) the controls for the traffic cameras in the police stations.
You have a small joystick (possibly to control like a mouse, or something like that), and some buttons.
Fast-forward, Forward, Backwards, Fast-Backwards (this is used to rotate the image. You only rotate once, but they can rotate many times to search for
And I guess they have one of other button, with some other functions.
What they don't have, is a printer. That's guaranteed. I've never seen one, not even in the luggage scanners.
Actually, what many people here are complaining, the airports managers have already feared. They don't give the tools to their employees to do wrong
For example, in most luggage scanners you only have a monitor in front of your eyes, and a "stop" button, to stop the luggage moving on the
The HUB I've seen for this scanners, has a LCD monitor (imagine your average LCD monitor, and it's like, with the left side up.. It has more height
that width, so they see the person vertically), and attached to that there is a small keyboard, with the stuff I described earlier.
And although I've seen a version in the news where the operator is on the side of the scanner (I think it was only for demonstrations), they are
usually in another room, with no visual contact with the scanner. Near the scanner are the usual officers, ready to stop you in case of alert.
And it's not "close". In huge airports, the control room can be like...200meters away from the cameras and/or scanners. They talk by radio. They
don't point people out with their fingers.