Maui News

Akaka Applauds Body Scanner Privacy Improvements

July 21, 2011, 2:45 PM HST
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By Wendy Osher

TSA workers at Kahului Airport. File photo by Wendy Osher.

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), today applauded the TSA’s plans to install privacy-enhancing software on body scanning machines at airports.  Akaka, who is a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said that while he supports strong air security, he  expressed an unease that the machines did not have adequate privacy safeguards.  He also urged enhanced radiation studies and reduced intrusive searches of children and the elderly.

“While this announcement is a good start, TSA must expand the use of privacy-enhancing software to all Advanced Imaging Technology machines, including those that use backscatter technology,” said Sen. Akaka.  “Enhancing privacy and safety for passengers is good policy and will help to boost tourism by encouraging more people to fly while making it easier for Hawaii residents to visit their loved ones,” he said.

Sen. Akaka wrote a letter to the Appropriations Committee recommending that Congress stop funding the full-body scanner machines unless TSA switched to this privacy-protecting technology or created other privacy safeguards for Advanced Imaging Technology.

Sen. Akaka was among the co-sponsors of the Security Screening Confidential Data Privacy Act (S. 4037) during the last legislative session, which would place limits on the Transportation Security Administration’s use of whole-body imaging.

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The provision was included in the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, which was passed in the Senate, and is now before a House conference committee.

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*** Supporting information courtesy Office of U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

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