New scanners debut at Hobby Airport

HOUSTON Hobby Airport now has four full-body scanners up and running, and TSA officials say that although the brand-new machines are adding a bit more time to the long lines of holiday travelers, they have arrived virtually without controversy.

TSA officials gave Eyewitness News cameras a behind-the-scenes look at how the body scanners will work, even taking us downstairs to a small room where the images are separated from the actual scanners and other TSA workers.

Dozens of TSA workers have spent about 30 hours training to operate the body scanners. Officials say so far they have not run into too many passengers choosing to opt out.

TSA officials say they want to assure passengers that the machines, which detect explosives and non-metallic type weapons, are safe and passengers' privacy will be respected.

"We've implemented strict measures to ensure the privacy of all passengers, which is ensured through the anonymity of the images themselves," explained Rob Parrish, Federal Security Director for Hobby Airport. "The images cannot be stored. The images cannot be transmitted. The images cannot be printed, and they're deleted immediately after they're viewed."

When it's all said and done, all 220 TSA employees at Hobby Airport will be trained to use the body scanners. Officials say because the machines require more staff, they have hired about 25 to 30 more workers.

If you do opt out of the body scanners, you will be subject to a pat-down.

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