Could You Be Screened Without Stopping at Airport Security Checkpoints in the Future?

Imagine arriving at the airport and walking from where you check in for your flight straight to the gate without slowing down or stopping at the security checkpoint — with no concerns at all whatsoever about being exposed to radiation or invasion of your privacy.

Could You Be Screened Without Stopping at Airport Security Checkpoints in the Future?

That scenario could be possible in the future, as the Transportation Security Administration has partnered with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on a demonstration project of a new device which can help officials detect suicide vests or other ways as to whether an individual is concealing an improvised explosive device.

“The passive system, known as a stand-off explosive detection unit, triggers an alarm if an individual carrying/wearing a person-borne improvised explosive device (PBIED) passes by the mechanism”, according to this official press release from the Transportation Security Administration. “It is a type of screening technology that can be used by transit agencies to detect potential threats—metallic or non-metallic—by identifying objects that block the naturally-occurring emissions emitted by a person’s body. No radiation of any kind is emitted by the unit, and no anatomical details of a person are displayed. The operator of the equipment sees a camera image of a person, similar to what the person looks like to the plain eye.”

One Democrat United States senator representing New York wants to see this technology tested and implemented nationwide as soon as possible. “The fact that we have this new, potentially life-saving technology at our fingertips — an ability to detect concealed explosives worn by cowards looking to do us harm — demands the federal government put both the testing and the perfecting of this technology on the fast-track. We not only want these devices in America’s busiest cities, like New York, but we need them here,” according to this official press release from Charles Schumer. “So, today, I am urging the TSA to bring these devices to New York City, test them in our subways, in Penn Station, in our airports, and, if they work as well as touted, pursue an expedited seal of approval that gives all of us another layer of security to fend off would be lone wolf terror. As the threats we face evolve our preparedness and response must evolve as well to remain a step ahead of evil doers.”

Summary

I have been quite outspoken over the years pertaining to arcane policies such as pat-downs and substandard, ineffective or invasive technology at airport security checkpoints — as well as the waste of millions of dollars in implementing and abandoning them. Barring any additional information about which I do not know at this time, I would actually be supportive of implementing technology such as this at airport security checkpoints.

No indication has been inferred at this time as to whether or not this specific technology will eventually be used at security checkpoints at airports in the future, as the use of this particular device “enables a transit agency to help safeguard against terrorist threats in the mass transit environment”; but it may open the proverbial door towards developing screening technologies in the future which may be more advanced than the scanner technology currently being used at security checkpoints at airports — while simultaneously significantly decreasing the inconvenience with which passengers must endure.

If such a technology were implemented, it could possibly reduce or eliminate the need for  trusted traveler programs — such as TSA Pre✓ — while simultaneously potentially reducing the staffing levels of the Transportation Security Administration, saving taxpayers millions of dollars per year; and passengers can be on their way faster as well.

Yes, I know — politics and other factors could prevent that scenario from ever happening — but I can dream, can’t I?!?

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Could You Be Screened Without Stopping at Airport Security Checkpoints in the Future?”

  1. Technology like this will help eliminate today’s problems.  But, just like hackers, terrorists are motivated creatures and their tactics will evolve as well.  We have to keep trying to minimize the impact to travelers while increasing our effectiveness in stopping them.

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