New body scanning technology coming to Honolulu Airport - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New body scanning technology coming to Honolulu Airport

Kehau Ramirez Kehau Ramirez
Thomas Rumph Thomas Rumph

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - New technology will arrive soon at the Honolulu International Airport.  The Advanced Imaging Technology is a spherical device that rotates around your body and essentially sees through your clothing to spot things people shouldn't bring on a plane, like weapons and explosives.  Some units are already being used at the Lihue Airport on Kauai and Honolulu is next.

"It really is the next generation of technology," said Suzanne Trevino, TSA Spokesperson.

By the end of the year 500 units will be used around the country.  Each unit costs $170,000.  The money is coming from stimulus funds and will not affect ticket prices.  As for radiation concerns Homeland Security says the energy from the millimeter wave technology is thousands times less than a cell phone.

There are also plenty of questions about privacy.

"The officer actually viewing the image is in a separate location, has no recording devises. They can't print, store or transmit the image and the image is actually a black and white chalk etching if you will. It has a blurred face," said Trevino.  "The officer viewing the image never sees the actual passenger because they're in a different room. The officer that's with the passenger never sees the image."

If the machine could read minds it would get a lot of opinions.

"I just find it to be a civil rights violation. I don't want somebody knowing what cup size I am," Kehau Ramirez, traveler from Hawaii Kai. "This one I feel personally is way too invasive, it needs to be looked at a little more. Exposure of somebody's skeletal outlining as a means of trying to find any kind of hidden item to me is excessive."

"As long as it makes flying safe I do not have any problems with it," said Dr. Thomas Rumph, traveler from Chatanooga, Tennessee.

"I think it's the same when you go to a doctor, they're not sort of looking at you and your body parts and thinking, they're going to be seeing it so often it's really not going to be an issue in that sense I think," said Kelly, traveler from Sydney, Australia. "To be honest it just makes us more secure to fly on the airlines. I can understand the invasion of privacy slightly but if it's going to make us feel safe and secure to fly around the world then I don't really have any problems with it."

"Most importantly advanced imaging technology is completely optional. If a passenger is not comfortable using it they are more than welcome to go through a standard walk through metal detector and have a full body pat down," said Trevino.

Honolulu is one of 28 cities across the country that will get technology.  

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