Thermal body scanning at Tijuana - San Diego border crossings

They are intended to expedite the inspection of pedestrians wishing to enter the country

Photo by: U.S Customs and Border Protection & Diego Valenzuela

While all travelers wishing to enter the United States are known to pass through a scanner where their bags or suitcases are inspected, now the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is in the testing phase of full body thermal scanners at pedestrian crossings.

According to an article published by Nextgov, the goal of this is to streamline the physical examination process in addition to implementing a non-intrusive, remote inspection system on pedestrian traffic through this thermal scanning, without having to stop each person and perform a physical inspection. The Customs and Border Protection agency is currently testing these scanning technologies in order to detect weapons or other contraband.

Maria Aviles
Maria Aviles

This new system will have the ability to take photographs as well as videos of travelers, which will be overlaid on thermal scanners, detect possible suspicious items, if this happens it will lead to a secondary physical search, it will be kept as an evidence of possible criminal actions, all this according to a privacy impact assessment.

This type of scanning technology has been used at other ports of entry to search vehicles, luggage, packages, etc. This allows agents to select those that meet the characteristics to be considered suspicious. This new pedestrian system has the same purpose.

Currently, these scanners are being tested at 5 pedestrian crossings: San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Port of Nogales, Arizona, Tecate border crossing in California and Cross Border Express. It is scheduled to last 30 days and is looking for body heat anomalies to show if any potentially illicit solids or liquids are being concealed.

It should be noted that travelers can choose not to go through these scanners for now, however, they will go through the other authorized processes, also the recordings offered are three: always record, record on demand, called "snapback" at this time the only type of record that agents will implement will be on demand and people who are not in range of the camera will not be recorded.

With information from Aaron Boyd of Nextgov

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