Airport Security

TSA Testing Scanning Cameras to Find Concealed Explosives

The TSA is experimenting with new scanning cameras that can detect concealed explosives on travelers as they walk by. The TSA, along with local law enforcement, is testing the new devices at a busy metro station in Los Angeles and in railway hubs in Washington, D.C.

In a statement, the TSA said the cameras “identify [metallic or non-metallic] objects that block the naturally-occurring emissions emitted by a person’s body.” This triggers an alarm so law enforcement can locate, isolate, and inspect the individual. Devices like this offer a passive security measure, in contrast to the hands-on approach airport travelers know all too well.

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“Along with industry partners, we are committed to identifying, testing and deploying technology that addresses threats to transportation across the spectrum,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said. “We need to innovate and evolve faster than the adversary, and more importantly, deploy technology ahead of the threat-curve.”

Most people likely associate the TSA only with airport security, but the agency also handles security at major ground transportation hubs. As we all saw in New York City recently, these facilities are just as crowded but less-secured than airports,making them appealing to would-be attackers.

That said, technology like this makes perfect sense for use in pre-screening areas of airports as well. Attackers have targeted these areas as well, and for the same reasons as bus and train terminals. Cameras positioned both outside and inside those areas could be effective in pre-empted a devastating attack.

Readers, would the presence of devices like this make you feel safer? Do you worry about false positives? Let us know in the comments below.

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By Carl Unger

Contributing Editor Carl Unger believes that every trip is worth taking. He loves an extended trip to Europe as much as he enjoys exploring the towns and landscape near home. Basically, you'll find him wherever there is good food, fresh air, and plenty of stories to bring home.

Carl has been writing for SmarterTravel since 2005. His travel writing has also appeared on USA Today and the Boston travel guide.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "It's not revolutionary, but a small Moleskine notebook is my one travel must-have. It's great for noting things you want to remember and it takes up hardly any space in your bag."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Japan. I'd love to take a month off and visit the cities, temples, and countryside. I'm fascinated by the country's juxtaposition of ancient traditions and modern ambitions."

Travel Motto: “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” –Terry Pratchett

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window."

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