For the first time ever in the U.S., a subway system will be installing full-body scanners for its passengers. Although people can opt out of being scanned, those that don’t go through the full-body scanner will not be allowed on the train. Authorities say that this move is a good one, and will help ensure the safety of all passengers. This is what TSA Administrator David Pekoske said, according to Yahoo News.
“We’re dealing with persistent threats to our transportation systems in our country… Our job is to ensure security in the transportation systems so that a terrorist incident does not happen on our watch.”
The scanners can check people from 30 feet away, and look for metallic and non-metallic items. It’s supposed to pick up on “suspicious items,” including assault rifles, explosive vests, and other weapons that have the “ability to inflict mass casualties.” The machine will be able to scan over 2,000 people every hour.
According to the TSA, the body scanners don’t emit radiation, and won’t pick up on people’s anatomical features, detailed CNN.
This technology, in theory, will do its job without disrupting the passengers. Since it can do its job without forcing people to stand still, the technology is being touted as something that’s efficient and effective. However, the result of a real-world application of the technology has yet to be seen. Up until now, they’ve only been tested for a limited time at different stations, including Penn Station in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C.
And it won’t end with just the full-body scanners, either. The L.A. subway system anticipates installing additional technology that can “move around and hone in one specific people and angles.”
While this marks a first for America, China has already implemented high-level security in their subway systems. At Sanjiaohu station in Wuhan, people are expected to pass checkpoints and allow their belongings to be scanned, according to South China Morning Post.
Moreover, Beijing’s subway system is considering adding biometric technology. It would allow people to buy tickets by scanning their palms or face, described CNBC. Not only that, but the biometric scanning would also open and close gates for people to enter or leave the station.
China’s surveillance system appears to be far superior to that of the U.S., with a “social credit system” being rolled out for each of the citizens. These scores rank people depending on a wide range of indicators. Chinese citizens who have a low social credit score can be banned from boarding trains and planes, reported Reuters.