Practical Technology

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Can Imaging Technologies save us from Terrorists?


We already know that database passenger screening technologies won’t spot all prospective terrorists, but what about imaging technologies like millimeter wave and backscatter imaging? Will they do the trick?

While these two technologies are lumped together as full body scanning, or as EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) prefers to call it, “Digital Strip Search,” they’re not interchangeable.

Millimeter wave technology devices like L3 Communications’ ProVision Whole Body Imager scan you with millimeter wave radio frequency (RF) from two antennas simultaneously as they rotate around you. The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) claims that millimeter wave scanners use far less energy than a cell phone in their scans. The result is a 3-dimensional gray-scale body image. The images are revealing but they aren’t exactly titillating or likely to ever appear in a hypothetical whole body image Web site of the rich and famous.

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