The Navigator: Speak out now on full-body scanners
By Christopher Elliott, Published: April 18
It's been almost five years since the Transportation Security Administration quietly began installing its so-called Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) - better known as full-body scanners - at airports nationwide. And now the government wants to know what you think of the machines.
In 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered the TSA to engage in what's known as notice-and-comment rulemaking on its use of the technology. You can share your opinion on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at the Federal Register Web siteuntil June 24.
In other words, air travelers can finally give the government a piece of their mind about the controversial scanners and the way they're used at airports. Depending on how the public responds, the TSA could either double down on its multibillion-dollar scanner program, or it could decommission the machines and impose alternate standards, including using metal detectors and explosive-trace detection screening.
The TSA hopes that passengers will approve of its current screening practices. "AIT is the best technology available to detect both metallic and non-metallic objects hidden on a passenger, and is an important part of TSA's multi-layered security efforts," says agency spokesman David Castelveter.
Still, the agency assigned to protect America's transportation systems promises to listen and respond to the public comments. "TSA will review and analyze the public comments to develop a final rule related to the screening process using AIT," says Castelveter.
But critics question both the agency's claims and its sincerity.