New airport security procedures have generated a furor among many travelers faced with the choice in some airports of a full-body scan or a comprehensive pat-down. The Dutch, however, have sidestepped this dilemma, and their approach offers a lesson for the United States.
The underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, boarded his flight to the United States from the Netherlands. In response, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport installed machines that provide a full-body scan, but without privacy concerns or worries about radiation.
The irony is that the machines are based on made-in-the-U.S.A. technology. The Homeland Security Department says it’s studying the devices. One problem: They provide a relatively large number of “false positives.”
The scanners in Amsterdam don’t use radiation. They use radio waves. And instead of providing the full image of a traveler sans clothing, they target a “problem area” on a generic image of a mannequin. If a problem area is highlighted, the traveler is searched.
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