Airport body scanners coming to Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

Such scanners are in place at more than one hundred airports. 450 More will be installed this year; Fresno's could be in by the end of the month. The Transportation Security Administration says it's not because there's a high risk here.

TSA Spokesperson Suzanne Trevino said, "I would not say Fresno sees more risk than other airports, but we look at a whole formula as to what airports can sustain the advanced imaging technology."

By sustain, they mean is there adequate physical space, electrical power and staffing available for the devices. But are folks at Fresno Yosemite International Airport ready for what critics are calling a virtual strip search?

Pam Barton, who was waiting to board a plane back home to Phoenix, told us, "I'd be uncomfortable with who's looking and the reason for. I don't think I'd be comfortable with that."

Melivn Pendergrast of Fresno said, "I think it's a good idea. I really do. I don't think it's an invasion of privacy, because it's kinda like getting an x ray."

Betty Thomas of Shaver Lake said, "I definitely think it's unnecessary and I wouldn't be comfortable at all."

Civil Liberties groups are also uncomfortable. Lawsuits have already been filed, claiming invasion of privacy, t that, among other things, the scanners amount to a search without reasonable cause. But Action News Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi believes the scanners will stay. "You're really going to have to weigh the security of society as a whole versus the impingement on someone's privacy rights."

The Transportation Security Administration says safeguards are in place. For example, the agent in contact with the passenger being scanned does not see the scan. It will be viewed by someone at a remote location, who can't see the person. In addition, faces are automatically blocked, and the images are not supposed to be saved. (However, the TSA acknowledges the machines have the capability of storing images, and similar scanners at Federal Buildings have actually stored thousands of body scan pictures.)

Fresno is on the fast-track to get body scanners. The devices could be installed by the end of August.

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