Boston Logan upgrading to privacy-enhanced body scanners

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Published: July 3, 2012

Boston Logan (BOS) is slated to begin taking delivery of advanced-imaging technology (AIT) body-scanning machines upgraded with auto threat recognition (ATR) software in the next two months, enabling the display of “Gumby-like” images of passengers rather than today’s more detailed passenger-specific images. The process may then be “nearly as fast” as walk-through metal detectors, US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) federal security director-Mass. George Naccara told ATW .

BOS will end up swapping out all 25 of the airport’s Rapiscan Systems AIT units with L-3 Security ProVision AIT units by the fall. TSA last year announced it would spend $ 44.8 million to purchase 300 of the upgraded units ( ATW Daily News, Sept. 9, 2011 ), to be deployed at 29 airports around the country ( ATW Daily News, Oct. 10, 2011 ).

Furthering a TSA-driven focus on risk-based, intelligence-driven screening systems ( ATW Daily News, March 7 ), BOS on June 19 launched TSA Pre-Check operations, available first to Delta Air Lines (DL) frequent fliers and members of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trusted traveler programs.

BOS is the 16 th U.S. airport to offer TSA’s Pre-Check program, under which an eligible passenger will not know if they have been selected for expedited screening until the barcode of their boarding pass is read at the designated checkpoint during the screening process. If selected, Pre-Checkmay allow travelers to keep shoes, light outerwear and belts on, skip AIT units – at least until the software upgrade – keep laptops in a case, and keep 3oz-or-less liquids in carry-on luggage. TSA aims to have the initiative at 35 of the country’s busiest airports by the fall.

Naccara told ATW that BOS is now the only airport in the US to have implemented all risk-based security measures comprising: “honor flights” to Washington DC for WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans, modified screening for passengers age 12 and under or over 75, the “known crew member” program and its new dedicated Pre-Check lane in domestic Terminal A. It is also one of only two airports in the country to apply the “assessor proof of concept” (PoC) strategy. Under PoC, 70 of BOS’s 1,350 TSA agents are specially trained to recognize abnormalities in passengers’ behavior, which has so far led to the successful screening and arrest of 55 travelers involved in criminal acts since the program began in August.

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