TSA Tests Screening System With Enhanced Passenger Privacy
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began pilot testing a personnel screening system at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, AZ. The system screens for a wide variety of threats concealed on a passenger, while maintaining their privacy.
The SmartCheck system, by American Science and Engineering, Inc., creates an image that looks like a chalk outline of the passenger with threats and contraband outlined, but does not reveal facial features. Additionally, the system installed in Phoenix cannot store, export, print, or transmit images.
“We are pleased that TSA will begin operating AS&E’s privacy enhanced SmartCheck system in Phoenix, Arizona,” said Robert Postle, AS&E’s Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Sales. “SmartCheck provides TSA with the most comprehensive personnel screening technology available for detecting plastic and liquid explosives, weapons, and other contraband while ensuring privacy. TSA is implementing a screening protocol that delivers maximum threat detection while maintaining the privacy of the traveling public. The voluntary screening process is safe, non-intrusive, easy, and effective. We are very proud to assist TSA in their critical mission to safeguard air travel.”
About Privacy Enhanced SmartCheck
SmartCheck is a safe, non-intrusive personnel screening system that allows operators to detect threats and contraband hidden on a person while ensuring privacy. AS&E’s patented Z® Backscatter(TM) X-ray technology displays both organic and inorganic materials, revealing objects such as guns and knives, explosives, composite weapons, and other hidden threats and contraband. The software provides a sketch outline of the passenger with information for the security operator to identify the nature and location of threats, thus eliminating the need for intrusive and time-consuming pat-down searches. The system creates only the privacy enhanced image. For added privacy, the system is not capable of storing, exporting, printing, or transmitting images. All images are automatically deleted from the system immediately after they are reviewed by the operator who will be located in a remote, secure area away from the screening process.
About SmartCheck’s Z Backscatter X-Ray Technology
Z® Backscatter(TM) X-ray technology displays threats by reflecting a low-energy X-ray beam from a person to a detector on the near side. AS&E’s SmartCheck system utilizes this patented technology based on the X-ray Compton Scattering effect. Z Backscatter works by detecting and outlining “low Z” materials (items that contain low atomic number elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen). Low Z materials include plastic and liquid explosives, plastic weapons, and drugs. SmartCheck also recognizes the lack of scattering that occurs when “high Z” materials are placed against the body. These “high Z” materials, such as metal weapons and bomb-detonating wires are also outlined on the person being scanned. Thus the system is able to display all organic and metallic threats and contraband anywhere on a person’s body.
SmartCheck scan is a voluntary option for passengers undergoing secondary screening as an alternative to the physical pat down procedures currently conducted by Transportation Security Officers at the security screening checkpoint.
Safe for All Screened Individuals and Operators
Since the SmartCheck system uses Z® Backscatter(TM) X-ray technology, it is safe for both operators and scanned individuals, with the radiation dose from a single scan equivalent to the radiation received from two minutes of airplane flight at altitude, or less than 10 microrem (0.1 microsieverts) per scan. SmartCheck meets the manufacturer’s requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard N43.17, which is the standard that the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) references for systems such as SmartCheck.
For more information on SmartCheck personnel screening system and privacy, visit: www.tsa.gov.
For information about AS&E, click here.