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Millimeter Wave Screening: Detecting You

By Edited Sep 29, 2016 1 2

airports scan

"What, one may ask, are all the strip searching references being made from disgruntled travelers in US airports?" Travelers are experiencing the airport full body scan by millimeter wave advanced technology. Some liken it to naked body scanning. Others question how safe it is to get scanned. It's not exactly an invasion of a body snatcher, more like a an invasion of a body sensor that reflects millimeter wave (mmw) radiation.

The millimeter wave scanner is supposed to screen folks for concealed weapons. Metal and non-metal threats (explosives, guns, etc.) that may be concealed under clothing can be found out. The one plus for this whole body scanner is that there is no pat-down, or physical touching from the TSA agents. Of course you may choose to avoid the millimeter wave screening, and opt for the physical pat-down. Most accounts about opting out don't say much for retaining one's dignity. That less-than feeling surrounds the oddness of being different and getting patted down. Evidently it is not pleasant.

As far as the safety of the mmw, the TSA states, "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." The TSA full body scan via the 3-D image of the person being detected, claims anonymity of the person because the image is deleted immediately if there are no concealed weapons showing. This safety feature is for the privacy issues for all concerned. Whether the mmw imaging technology is harmless to a human body one would have to trust in those safety standards which may or may not encompass more than a general consensus from the international health and safety standard gurus.

Wikipedia mentions the possible health effect, "Millimeter wave radiation and radio frequency radiation in general is not inherently carcinogenic (unlike X-rays and ultraviolet radiation), but exposure to lower frequencies of microwaves have demonstrated an increased risk of cancer and faster rates of tumor progression." That is a quote from a Health Physics journal cited in the references.

We are subjected to many waves that are invisible to us on a daily occurrence. It would be ignorant on our part not to use some discernment that really, no one knows how all these different frequencies are affecting our health, especially in the long run. Perhaps getting past the ego piece of being scanned knowing that someone sees what's under our clothes is the first step to getting to the really important detection. Yes, it is put forth, actually mandated that we be searched before getting on a plane, and that is supposed to be for the welfare of the general population. There will always be hackers or curious minds that will break through the privacy measures, and break anonymity. Blurred facial features can be re-constructed. Agents can be bought to break rules. Human behavior differs for each of us. Somewhere along the line we need to get beyond the sense of invasion and ask, "How important is this?"

Meanwhile have happy trails!

"W
airports scan
hat, one may ask, are all the strip searching references being made from disgruntled
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Comments

Nov 28, 2010 11:35pm
aguy
Wow - what a timely article. Thumbs up from me.
Nov 29, 2010 12:19pm
footloose
Thanks! I gave you a thumbs up too.
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