As a response to the failed Christmas Day bombing on a plane bound for Detroit, many airports, including LAX, are installing body-scanning machines.
Though the scanners already exist in some airport, the Christmas day incident has caused a rise in their demand; body scanning technology could be a part of every airport security system by 2011. LAX is among nine airports nationwide receiving the technology.
Many airport patrons agree that the equipment is a necessary advance in defense against terrorism, but the introduction of this technology brings with it a very obvious compromise: security personnel essentially see the passenger naked.
The scanners have already provoked controversy over privacy violations. A person selected at random to pass through the scanner cannot refuse. Recently two Muslim women who refused the scan for religious and medical reasons were turned away from UK’s Manchester Airport.
In some airports, though, passengers may opt for screening by metal detector and by hand rather than undergo the body imaging scan.
In recognition of the discomfort that the body scanners have caused with the public, airport security, regardless of location, are promising that the images will be immediately deleted after the passenger is cleared.
The other California airports scheduled to receive scanners are San Diego International, Oakland International and Mineta San José International.