Body scanners debut at Charlotte-Douglas

Charlotte, NC - CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte's airport is one of the first in the country to use the new body scanners.

There's been a lot of controversy about these scanners because people are nervous workers can see too much.

You step on the mat between two metal boxes, raise your arms, and like that, comes your image... without clothes.

Unlike metal detectors, the backscatter X-ray technology looks for both metal and non-metal items like explosives that can be hidden under clothing, similar to the suspect in last year's Christmas Day plot.

"What December 25 illustrates is the length that people who want to cause harm, the length that they will go to attempt to do that, " said Jon Allen of the Transportation Security Administration.

As the new scanners at Charlotte-Douglas go fully operational with the rest of the country, some are still concerned about privacy and protection of the images.

To calm those fears, an officer in a separate room, away from the scanner, views the x-ray photo. Faces are blurred, and once the passenger clears the security checkpoint, the image is destroyed.

By the end of the year, the government hopes to have 450 machines working nationwide.

"I think it's kind of a sign of what's going on in the world today," said airline passenger Becky McCabe. "It's unfortunate, but I think that's what they need to do to make sure passengers are safe and we can continue to travel."

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