Lihue Airport Full-Body Scanner

On my return trip from Lihue, Kauai to Honolulu, I was treated to the new TSA full-body scanner. I am not a frequent traveler by any means so I was surprised to find out I was one of the first (within the first week) to experience this new security technology. The new scanner is manufactured by California-based Rapiscan Systems and uses low-level x-rays to view objects beneath the clothing of the subjects. I've seen recent news stories about the Lihue scanner on KITV and the Garden Island. According to TSA, the scanner cost about $170K and plans are in place to deploy about 100 scanners in 32 airports across the country. Lihue Airport was one of the first installations in the country not because of the threat level but because of the relative ease of implementation. Lihue Airport has only one security checkpoint. As I approached the scanner the thought did run through my mind to opt out but I did not want to risk the alternative full-body pat down. Curiously as I exited the scanner, the TSA agent gave me a pat down anyway. Not a full-body version but just down the legs. The news articles I read referred to walled off areas where the naked scans were viewed but at the Lihue Airport I could clearly see the women behind the viewing monitor adjacent to the scanner. She looked at me, then looked back at the monitor. Another TSA agent was standing next to her and could view the images quite easily. I will admit that I did not make a visual confirmation of images since it was out of my line of sight. But I did not see any other walled off area for viewing. The TSA claims that passenger privacy is maintained and scanned images are not stored, copied or transferred. They also claim that the amount of x-ray used is about 10,000 times less than that of a cell phone. The amount of time I spent going through the scanner seemed longer than the traditional metal detector. I am curious to see if checkpoint lines at the Honolulu International Airport will be longer as a result. The new scanners will be installed there at the end of this year.

One thought on “Lihue Airport Full-Body Scanner”

  1. the walled off room is located away from the body scanner. The woman you observed behind the monitors was actually operating the x-ray where your bags were being screened.

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