Body scanners at PDX to help protect passenger privacy

Body scanners at PDX to help protect passenger privacy »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. – This Thanksgiving foot traffic through Portland International Airport will increase by nearly 10,000 people a day, and they’ll be walking through brand new body scanners designed to be not too revealing.

Radio waves bounce off the body and pick up anything and everything – metal or not. The downside for passengers is they will need to make sure to take out whatever may be in their pockets like facial tissues, pens or coins.

A model painted on the inside of the scanner shows people where to stand and how to hold their arms.

If they are clear of any items the screen for the technician doesn’t even show a picture. If it does detect an item, a generic outline of a body points out the problem. Passengers no longer have to worry about an X-ray type image of themselves practically naked showing up on a monitor.

If passengers do set off the alarm, they will get a pat down only in that spot. The system should do away with the full body pat-down that so many people didn’t like.

That includes people with metal hips and other body parts. They usually had to go through that embarrassing extra step.

Some passengers are worried the new machines will slow things down, but the TSA says its agents will offer plenty of instruction to help passengers before they enter the machine. And it says the pat-downs will be quick.

The airport should have the new machines fully operational by next week.