The TSA is introducing new scanning machine for security lines that might not require the removal of laptops or liquids from carry-on bags. Apparently, TSA officers hate yelling instructions repeatedly at long lines of dazed travelers as much as we hate hearing them.
According to a press release, the TSA's new X-ray machines use CT scanners and 3-D modeling, which give officers the ability to rotate images when looking for explosive devices. That should result in fewer bag checks, the agency said. And if we're lucky, "in the future" it may allow travelers to keep their clunky laptops and mini-bottles of shampoo zipped up. It's vague, but we'll take it.
The new machines are already being used in Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, Boston's Logan airport, and New York's JFK airport, with 15 more airports getting machines in the coming months. By 2019, the TSA wants them in 145 airports.
Of course, this improvement is coming from the agency that reportedly keeps a secret list of misbehaving passengers that is shockingly easy to get yourself on. It's also the agency that has been accused of racially profiling travelers. And just this week, the Boston Globe reported on a TSA program called Quiet Skies that allows federal air marshals to track the movements and behaviors of random travelers who are not under investigation for being criminals or terrorists.
Welcome to the travel surveillance state. At least your laptop might not get banged up in the process.
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