Airport body scanners do not show body parts anymore on the screen and the agents only see a vague genderless figure or body outline of the passengers.
But, when the Airport scanner detects something anywhere on your body, the display screen will show a yellow square box indicating that something is either concealed under clothes or inside the body which could be a thick layer of clothes, skin issues, or tampon and that will help the agent to figure out what’s wrong.
Can airport body scanners detect health issues?
Airport scanners are not advanced enough to see everything inside our body like an x-ray scanner due to safety and privacy reasons but still, there are some cases where the Airport scanner did help in detecting medical issues like hernia, kidney stones, and so on.
TSA Female Body Scan Images:
Gone are the days when TSA agents would see you virtually naked on the screen and now the scanner shows only a body outline without revealing intimate or explicit details, therefore, males and females both can feel comfortable and easily handle the screening procedure without getting annoyed or frightened or worried about sexual abuse.
Airport Body Scanners Yellow Square?
Brief History of Body Scanners:
Dr. Steven W Smith was the first person to introduce an ultra-low-dose backscatter x-ray scanner and Millimeter wave scanner. These early versions of the scanners were not smart enough to penetrate inside the body but they were advanced enough to use be used security checkpoints for detecting metallic and non-metallic objects concealed items like drugs or explosives were still not identifiable by these scanners. These scanners could penetrate under the skin but not inside the body so you could only see shin bones but not ribs or internal organs.
Later, Dr. Steven sold his device and patents to Rapiscan systems ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapiscan_Systems ), which were later assessed by Food and Drug Administration, National Council of Radiation Protection and Measurements, and other independent sources and government bodies to regulate the use of these scanners for commercial applications.
Later in 2000, Dr. Vladimir V. Linev patented a system for full body scanning that was a slightly improved version of the previous scanners and got popularity quickly and was known as CONPASS body scanners.
After some time, in 2009, there was a bombing attempt by a Nigerian citizen who hid explosives in his underwear and tried to explode the Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight this attempt remained unsuccessful and now he is serving a lifetime sentence in maximum prison.
This unsuccessful attempt forced TSA to order 500 whole-body scanners which were deployed all over America these scanners were capable to penetrate the human body to not only find out concealed items like metal, plastic, ceramics, chemical, and explosives under clothes. But, these scanners could look inside the passenger’s soul, and surprisingly, TSA agents could find objects like cocaine and explosives hidden inside the bum, stomach, and rectum of human bodies.
These scanners were invasive and soon passengers realized that and started calling these scanners “nudie scanners” because any TSO would be able to invade your privacy and see you virtually naked and some nasty TSA agents would take photos of naked human scanned images and share with others. But, TSA ensured passengers that these photos were neither stored nor saved for later use.
As a result, the TSOs were seated 100 feet away from the scanner so they would not be able to interact or see the person directly passing from the scanner to recover the privacy invasion part. But, when 30,000+ photos were leaked of scanned passengers, that’s when TSA realized to shut off these scanners completely.
Later they started using “Automated Target Recognition” software that would replace pictures with funny-looking avatar-like images or cartoons but would show hidden items like firearms, knives, or other medical devices or health conditions with the passengers and highlight them as a yellow box for further investigation and inspection.
Body Scanners and Their Types:
Body scanners are the only reason you fly safely across different cities or countries and there is no need to get frightened or annoyed by these machines unless you are doing something wrong like hiding illegal items or firearms.
If that’s not the case with you, just relax and cooperate with the TSOs during the screening process because gone are the days the agents would see your naked body parts now the advanced machines show only a vague genderless figure like a cartoon so your privacy isn’t invaded anymore with these scanners.
Regarding health, these scanners are safe for pregnant women, anxiety, or cancer patients. On top of that, these scanners can help passengers sometimes identify early stages of cancers or can also see kidney stones, thanks to the advanced imaging technology used in these scanners.
TSA agents with the help of these scanners can now easily capture smugglers wearing or carrying illegal contents on or inside the body. Thankfully, now they can identify metallic ( like knives ) and non-metallic ( like explosives ) contents and other dangerous items like chemical powders to protect the lives of others.
During the screening process, you will be asked to put aside your things like a chain, rings, watch, cap, shoes, or anything that has metallic stuff in it for separate detailed screening to make sure you are not hiding something inside those things plus to save you from false alarms of the body scanners.
Regarding false alarms, you can get flagged if you have hairpins, piercings, thick clothing, skin lesions, hidden firearms, hair extensions, underwire bras, or even medical devices like pacemakers or defibrillators then the false alarm can get triggered and you may be asked for pat-down search that can lead to more investigation or inspection.
Even the detectors can initiate the alert on body moisture or sweaty armpits as well and do not forget the restrictions and regulations on liquids like coffee, aerosols, and gels.
Regarding the body scanner types, there are two types of scanners, luggage scanners, and body scanners.
Luggage scanners are more powerful than body scanners because the high use of radiation won’t affect your bag but will surely help the agents look deep inside the contents of the suitcase or briefcase and will provide a calculated mass and density of contents with representation in different colors like for organic materials like food, paper, or cocaine, the orange color is used by the scanner and if agent notices anything suspicious, you can be asked to go on side for more details about the contents and you may have to open your bag as well.
The backscatter scanner is the original body scanner that is not banned to be used at Airport security checkpoints because of the lawsuits on TSA for health and safety concerns. By the way, the backscatter scanner shows intimate and explicit details of passengers and agents could see the passenger virtually naked but those scanners are long gone and replaced by millimeter wave scanners.
Millimeter wave AIT scanners:
The millimeter wave scanner is a more powerful scanner than the backscatter scanner but does not uses X-rays with high-frequency radiation waves. So, the waves used by this scanner are of low doses and do not release ions which makes them safe for health because they are far less than those utilized by cellular data transmitters. The use of electromagnetic radiation surely helps this tool to find concealed items so nothing can hide from the scanner anymore.
The difference between both scanners is that the backscatter scanner uses high radiation which can pose health risks and reveal too many intimate details while the millimeter scanner uses less powerful waves but still can find concealed items and does not poses any health risks and produce only one image while the backscatter takes two images one from the front and the second from the back.
Hand-held metal detector: The handheld metal detector is used for searching an infant being held by a parent, followed by a pat-down search,
A powerful type of scanner known as RadPRO SecurePASS is capable to see inside body cavities and is ideally used like a medical x-ray scanner to see contents inside the body surprisingly this scanner helped agents find inmates hiding cocaine pouches in the stomach and rectum. Plus, they identified a person with kidney stones and sent him to the hospital.
One thing is sure TSA won’t use these scanners publicly as the images are too revealing this scanner does pose health risks as well.
Infra-red thermal conductivity scanners:
Infra-red thermal conductivity scanner uses temperature to find objects on the human body because skin shows certain temperatures but the objects won’t have any temperatures that help the scanner differentiate between the body and objects on the body.