Full body scanners go online at Memphis International Airport - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

  • Do you think full body scanners are a good security measure or an invasion of privacy?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    They are a security measure.
    44%
    408 votes
    They are an invasion of privacy.
    46%
    436 votes
    I'm waiting to decide.
    5%
    51 votes
    I'm not sure.
    1%
    13 votes
    I don't fly.
    4%
    39 votes
  • READ MORE: Full body scanners go online at Memphis International Airport

Full body scanners go online at Memphis International Airport

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A volunteer and a TSA officer show how the new scanner works. A volunteer and a TSA officer show how the new scanner works.
A TSA officer in another room views the scanned images. A TSA officer in another room views the scanned images.
MEMPHIS, TN -

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Officials with the federal Transportation Security Administration unveiled new full-body scanning devices Friday at Memphis International Airport.

The devices can detect items concealed under clothing, improving safety for travelers. Use of the scanners also means suspicious items can be found without physical contact.

"This detects metallic and non-metallic objects, whether it's weapons, explosives, or other prohibited items," TSA official Kevin McCarthey said.

>>RAW VIDEO: See how the scanner works

Reaction to the new scanners was decidedly mixed.  Some passengers said they were too invasive.

"I didn't know they were going to do that to me today," Rachel Donaldson said.

But others said if it keeps them safe, it's worth it.

"I'm fine with it," Ann Moore said. "I think every means they can use to make a secure flight that's great with me.  It doesn't bother me."

In order to maintain a certain level of privacy, the officer who sees the images from the scanner will never see the person being scanned.  Instead, images from the scanner are viewed in a separate, remotely located room, to prevent contact between viewer and passenger.

Additionally, images cannot be stored, transmitted, or printed, and are immediately deleted.  Officers are not allowed to bring in cell phones or cameras into the image viewing area.

"The biggest change is you're going to have to divest everything out of your pockets and off your body," McCarthy said. "In the past, people would be able to keep Kleenex or tissues or wallets in their pockets.  That's no longer the case.  Everything has to come out."

The Department of Homeland Security is paying for the technology upgrade with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The TSA has deployed 204 imaging units at more than 50 airports, and plans to deploy a total of 450 imaging technology units later this year.

Air travelers who choose not to be scanned will instead be given a physical pat-down.

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