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Security scanner can see through clothes By TERRY TANG, Associated Press Writer
17 minutes ago



The Phoenix airport on Friday became the first in the United States to test new X-ray technology that can see through people's clothes and show the body's contours with blush-inducing clarity.

Critics have said the high-resolution images created by the "backscatter" technology are too invasive. But the Transportation Security Administration adjusted the equipment so the pictures can be blurred in certain areas while still detecting concealed weapons.

During the testing, the machine will be used only as a back-up screening measure. Passengers who fail the standard screening with a metal detector will be able to choose between the new device or a pat-down search.

"It's 100 percent voluntary, so if the passenger doesn't feel comfortable with it, the passenger doesn't have to go through it," TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said.

Passengers selected for screening by the device are asked to stand in front of the closet-size X-ray unit with the palms of their hands facing out. Then they must turn around for a second screening from behind. The procedure takes about a minute.

Passenger Kristen Rodgers, 22, of Little Rock, Ark., who did not go through the screening, likened it to going to the doctor.

"If you tell yourself they have to look at that all day long, it makes yourself feel better," Rodgers said. "If it's just for security, just for 45 seconds, I think it would be worth catching somebody with something harmful."

The machine will be tested for up to 90 days at a single checkpoint at Sky Harbor's largest terminal, which hosts US Airways and Southwest Airlines, the two busiest airlines in Phoenix.

The technology could be left in place after the trial period, and the TSA hopes to roll out similar machines at the Los Angeles airport and New York's Kennedy Airport by the end of the year.

The security officer who works with the passenger going through the screening will never see the images the machine produces. The pictures will be viewed by another officer about 50 feet away who will not see the passenger, the TSA said.

The machine cannot store the images or transmit them.

"Once we're done screening the passenger, the image is gone forever," Melendez said.

The device at Sky Harbor costs about $100,000 but is on loan from the manufacturer, AS&E of Boston, Melendez said.
 

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Then they do this......

Confiscated airline carry-on items become big sellers on eBay by Celine Serrat
Sat Feb 24, 2:07 AM ET



HARRISBURG, United States (AFP) - What happens to those scissors, lighters and the occasional machete confiscated at US airports? Some land in an Ali Baba-style cave here, to be auctioned on eBay.


"We collect items from 12 different airports, including JFK and LaGuardia in New York, but also at Boston, Philadelphia and Syracuse," said Ed Myslewicz, spokesman for the State Agency for Surplus Property (SASP) at the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania airport.

Each month, two tonnes of merchandise is sorted, photographed and put up for sale on eBay.

"The program started in June 2004, and the idea was to generate new revenues for the state," he said.

And it works: Up to 98 percent of the stuff is sold, according to Myslewicz.

To one side of the warehouse, merchandise -- including baseball bats, golf clubs and even a catapult -- arrives in 200-liter (55-gallon) drums or other containers.

"Don't ask me why people want to take these kinds of items with them on a plane," said Mary Beth Enggren, marketing director for the SASP, standing amid boxes of pocket knives and scissors.

Items seemingly innocuous before September 11, 2001 but caught in the tightened security net following the attacks also clog the warehouse: large flashlights, snow globes filled with liquid, handcuffs, toy guns and pointy belt buckles.

Red bricks, a bottle of perfume shaped like a grenade, food processors, electric drills, horseshoes and a snow shovel are also among the banned booty.

"And we also have our hall of fame," Enggren said. On the wall hang a bow and a quiver of arrows, a wooden saber, an old wooden pistol, a realistic-looking plastic grenade, a 30-centimeter (12-inch) metal pipe wrench and a good-sized machete.

Mike Hooks, one of the employees who sorts the merchandise for sale, has his favorite: "What surprised me the most up till today was a semi-automatic pistol, 40 caliber."

"That we cannot sell on eBay," Enggren said.

Still, the operation has netted 360,000 dollars (274,000 euros) after eBay's commission, money that funds social programs in the northeastern US state of Pennsylvania.

Other states also take part in the program, according to Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the US Transportation Security Administration, which sets the rules on what may be brought aboard airplanes.

Kudwa said 13.7 million items were collected at US airports in 2006, including 11.6 million lighters.

The figures do not include liquids, gels and creams that have been confiscated since August, which go directly to the trash dump.
 

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They have some good deals from the site! Last year my wife got a ipod & a stereo at 1/2 the price we would have paid for them at best buy!
 
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