Advanced imaging technology safely screens passengers for both metallic and non-metallic threats, including weapons and explosives. It detects items which may be concealed under a passenger's clothe, allows TSA to screen without physical contact, and works to keep the traveling public safe.
Millimeter wave imaging technology bounces harmless electromagnetic waves off of the human body to create a black and white image resembling a fuzzy photo negative. In March 2010, TSA began deploying 450 advanced imaging technology units, which were purchased with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.
Currently, TSA has 204 imaging technology units at 52 airports and plans to deploy a total of 450 imaging technology units in 2012. In addition, President Obama's fiscal year 2011 budget requests funding to purchase and deploy an addition 500 AIT machines.
How It Works
Advanced imaging technology is completely optional for all passengers. Those passengers who opt out of imaging technology screening will receive alternative screening, which includes a physical pat-down. One officer will ask a passenger to remove all objects from his/her pockets before entering the portal. This officer never sees the passenger's image. Another security officer in a walled-off location views the black and white image generated by the technology. Once this second officer reviews the image and resolves any anomalies, the image is immediately deleted. The entire process takes seconds.
TSA has implemented strict measures to protect passenger privacy, which is ensured through the anonymity of the image. The image cannot be store, transmitted or printed, and is deleted immediately once viewed. Additionally, the technology has a privacy filter that blurs facial features.
Millimeter wave technology screening is safe for all passengers, and the technology meets all known national and international health and safety standards. The energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is thousands of times less than what is permitted for a cell phone.