New body scanner will protect privacy, says developer

Dec. 30, 2009 at 6:26 PM
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LONDON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- A body-scanning device developed for airport, border and entrance security systems is a step ahead of controversial equipment currently being put in place and will not compromise privacy of individuals, the developer said.

News of the invention already deployed in the United States and abroad, though in limited numbers, comes amid controversies in Europe and elsewhere over existing systems that render the body naked while imaging individuals going through security checkpoints.

Brijot Imaging Systems Inc., which has headquarters in Orlando, Fla., said its Passive Millimeter Wave Whole Body Imaging System is "ready for deployment" to help meet security threats more effectively.

Dutch officials announced this week they will institute compulsory full-body scans at all airports in The Netherlands irrespective of privacy concerns over the equipment. The Dutch measure followed a Christmas Day incident on board an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight, after which a Nigerian was held on suspicion of trying to blow up the plane.

It was not clear what equipment the Dutch are planning to deploy, but all full-body scanning devices introduced so far have raised privacy concerns. Dutch officials say security must take precedence over privacy of individuals being scanned.

Dutch airport authorities said had accused would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab been subjected to a body scan, explosives he had sewn into his underwear may have been detected.

Brijot said its systems are designed to clearly detect non-metallic items hidden under clothing, such as the powdered explosives used by the suspected bomber.

"Unlike other systems, there are no safety concerns or privacy issues for the people being screened," Brijot said.

"The events of this past weekend clearly demonstrate the need for improved people screening capabilities at airports and other mass transit locations," said the company.

Brijot says its passive millimeter wave imaging systems are the only globally deployed checkpoint system available in the industry that do not emit radiation or energy at people during the screening process.

Instead, the company says, the equipment receives naturally occurring millimeter waves from the human body, and any items hidden on someone's body show up in clear contrast in displayed images.

The resolution of the images is deliberately low to keep from showing anatomical detail, in order to protect individuals' privacy, said the company.

"The events of this past weekend clearly demonstrate the need for improved people screening capabilities at airports and other mass transit locations," said Mitchel J. Laskey, Brijot president and chief executive officer.

"Although the federal government and the TSA have done a commendable job in their efforts to protect the traveling public, current scanning technologies primarily only detect metal objects.

"Terrorists know this and have moved to plastic and other types of explosives," he said. "There is a clear need for another layer of screening technologies, one that effectively detects non-metal objects."

Laskey said, "The only checkpoint system globally available today that accurately finds objects hidden under clothing while preserving privacy and with no safety concerns is Brijot's passive millimeter system."

Brijot's passive millimeter wave systems are currently in use at a number of government and commercial locations in the United States and overseas, including the Orlando Federal Courthouse, the U.K. Border Agency, in several major airports and ports, U.S. Army locations in the Middle East, and multiple commercial deployments. Brijot said the product has received the SAFETY Act Certification from the Department of Homeland Security for use in anti-terrorism security screening.

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