The other U.S. machines are being used at 13 airports for secondary screening of passengers who set off a metal detector. The airports are Baltimore, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Raleigh-Durham, Tampa, Jacksonville, Richmond, Reagan National in Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Indianapolis. Travelers can opt for a pat-down at those airports as well.
TSA also says it has bought 150 "backscatter" machines, which use low-level X-rays to create a two-dimensional image of the body, from Rapiscan Systems. Those machines, which cost $190,000 each, are expected to be deployed this year.
TSA says it protects privacy by ensuring that full-body images are only seen in a walled-off location not visible to the public.The officer who views the image never sees the passenger, and the officer assisting the passenger cannot view the image. The machines cannot send, store, or even print the images they produce.
The European Union Parliament, however, voted in October 2008 for more study of privacy before authorizing the machines' full deployment in European airports. Anthony Smallwood, a spokesman for the EU in Washington, said he sees signs that privacy concerns are giving way to security concerns.
"There is no doubt that, since the trouser bomber incident occurred, a lot is happening in Europe," he said.