Three Senators returning from a recent Congressional Delegation to study counterterrorism efforts abroad - Susan Collins of Maine, Jon Kyl of Arizona, and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia - sent a letter to Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, urging the examination of how the Amsterdam airport has deployed whole body imaging technology to improve security and to alleviate privacy concerns.
The Senators say that with the addition of "auto-detection technology," current whole body scanning machines being tested in the United States can be enhanced to address privacy concerns, while at the same time speeding the screening process. Senator Collins also noted that the technology in Amsterdam avoids exposing passengers and screeners to radiation, which is emitted from some of the machines that the Department of Homeland Security is planning to deploy.
"The system we saw demonstrated obviates the need for a screening officer to review a detailed image of a passenger in a separate viewing room. Separate image viewing areas also take up vital physical space, which is already tightly constrained at most airports. Eliminating the need to view detailed images of passengers` bodies in separate rooms would, therefore, address privacy concerns and save the government and airports money on physical space for screening. The automated review of images by a computer, rather than by a screener examining the image in a separate room, also appears to improve the speed of the whole body imaging process," the letter says.