Passengers hesitant to try body scanners on trial at T3
From taking passengers’ queries about radiation levels to dispelling their misgivings about the kind of images the new machine could put out, security staff at Delhi airport is doing everything to convince passengers to go through the full body scanner.delhi Updated: Dec 08, 2016 09:02 IST
“The amount of radiation you get from using your phone everyday is more than what you will get by passing through the body scanner. It is not harmful at all,” a CISF personnel was heard telling a passenger at Delhi airport’s Terminal 3. He was trying to convince the passenger to go through the newly installed full-body scanner.
From taking passengers’ queries about radiation levels to dispelling their misgivings about the kind of images the new machine could put out, security staff at Delhi airport is doing everything to convince passengers to go through the full body scanner.
“You just have to stand in here for three seconds. It will not produce naked images,” said the personnel to another passenger. The trial run of the scanner started on Monday and so far about 150 passengers have gone through it.
“The performance will be assessed after 10,000 scans. Some are going through it out of curiosity. Others are aware of its use as they have travelled to other countries. But a majority, especially women, are hesitant,” said a CISF official.
The scanner produces mannequin-like images and detects hidden items in the body. In view of the privacy concerns raised by passengers over X-Ray images that the body scanners produce at airports across the world, the Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has asked the manufacturers to configure the machines to ensure that the images don’t reveal body parts.
The scanning does not take more than a minute and it comes with privacy filters. The scanner can reveal plastic and liquid explosives, composite weapons, plastic and metal guns, drugs and other contraband, ceramic and metal knives, box cutters, precious metals and recording devices.
The scanners are currently used at several international airports and Delhi is the first airport India to experiment with the security device.
“It’s voluntary since it is a trial run. We will make the checks compulsory only after we decide to use them on a permanent basis,” said a Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) official.
The scanner with millimeter wave technology has been brought from the United States and another one from Germany will arrive next week. “We want to test both the technologies simultaneously to decide which one is better. During the trial run, passengers’ feedback will be taken. We want to cover most of the passengers travelling out during the trial period,” said the official.
“Irrespective of the controversy associated with it, we wanted these scanners at the airport. A discussion to install shoe scanners was also held but nothing has been finalised,” said a BCAS official.
A few years ago, a similar trial run was conducted at the Delhi airport and a US-based company had installed the body scanner. A survey conducted during the period showed that 90% passengers feel the new technology will help but only 40% volunteered to go through the scanner.