Eastern Iowa Airport implements body scanners - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Eastern Iowa Airport implements body scanners

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

The sights and sounds of the security checkpoint at the Eastern Iowa airport may now be a little different.

Air travelers will now pass through a full body scanner before making their way to the gate.

"It's a very friendly process for passengers," said Jay Brainard, TSA Federal Security Director for Iowa.

It's called Advanced Imaging Technology, and it's already implemented at 125 airports across the country.  It bounces harmless electromagnetic waves off the human body to detect items which may be hidden under a passenger's clothes, and allows TSA officials to screen without physical contact.

The new technology differs from the original airport full body scanners in that it's less of an intrusion on privacy. Some of the original machines displayed an outline of the person's body being scanned.  The technology in Cedar Rapids uses a generic image rather than the actual image.

After a passenger is scanned, a digital screen will display one of two messages.

It will either say "OK, if the traveler is carrying nothing on him. or if an object is detected, the display will depict an image of a generic person showing where on the passenger that object is located.  TSA officials can then perform additional screening.

"It's a straw-man figure.  It's the same for me, as it is for you, as it is for anybody else," Brainard said.

Passengers traveling through the Eastern Iowa Airport appear to have little resistance to technology.

"I really think it's a good idea because I didn't like the idea of showing a picture of me but I do like that it seems really safe and I do like the idea that it seems more private," said traveler Derik Devries.

Frequent travelers like Tim Wells say the full body scanners get them through security quicker, especially at busier airports.

"The lines move quicker.  It doesn't take that long," Wells said.

It's the latest step by the TSA to stay ahead of threats to the safety of travelers.

"We face a very dynamic and evolving threat and we deploy technology to detect these types of items going through the checkpoint," Brainard said.

Passengers have the choice to opt out of the full body scanning and instead choose for screening that includes an enhanced pat down.

TSA officials say the Advanced Imaging Technology emits 1000 times less energy than international limits and guidelines.

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