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The TSA Testing SmartCheck in Phoenix

Chalk OutlineThe TSA is testing the SmartCheck system in the Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. So don’t be surprised if you go through some weird security measures when you’re flying out. This system cracks me up. It shows a body outline (the press release compares it to a chalk outline – creepy) without facial features and the location of any potential security threats on the person. So instead of seeing you naked, they get an outline like a dancer behind a screen with your facial features blurred out like an old episode of Cops.

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™ 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.

If it really can do a great job of detecting threats, I think it will be GREAT. I’m happy the privacy measures mean my naked outline will never end up on Flickr.