Travel writer Peter Greenberg gives us an insightful look at the creepy future of airport security. Most of us are already familiar with ‘puffer’ scanners, which, ironically, are prominent fixtures at the Statue of Liberty. They are just the beginning. The future holds several new devices, and “many of them are raising new issues regarding privacy.”
We unveil the future, inside…
•Registered Traveler Kiosks: “The device combines a shoe scanner, explosives test, and a biometric scanner. Registered travelers will step onto the shoe scanner, insert their registered traveler card, and place their hand on an explosives detector. Then, after an iris scan — and assuming the machine detects nothing out of the ordinary — the traveler can go on his or her way.” We can’t help but wonder what happens if this
ber-kiosk detects something ‘out of the ordinary?’
•People Portals: Microwaves help find items that would “likely not be detected with traditional methods. Basically, the People Portal detects anything that isn’t clothing, flesh, or bone — whether it’s Chapstick or plastic explosives.” We approve, except for the misleading name.
•Hand-held Detection Systems: Lasers are “tuned across a large number of wavelengths to detect the tiny molecules of explosives, poisonous gases, or illegal drugs that might be on the person scanned.” These lasers can also detect bird flu.
•Laser and Passive Scanning: “The technology could theoretically detect even trace amounts of explosives or other illicit substances from a distance.” We don’t want the TSA scanning for ‘illicit substances’ at a distance. Lasers scare us.
We see newfangled security devices each time we go to the airport. Tell us in the comments what other laser-spewing microwave-emitting contraptions you have spotted around our nation’s monuments and airports. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER