The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that the New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport is one of eight airports set to receive full body scanners to detect items hidden under a personís clothing.
The machines, also called advanced imaging technology, scan a travelerís entire body and then display the image onto a computer screen for examination and review. The controversial technology has had mixed reviews, with officials saying itís a more accurate way to ensure passenger safety. Critics call it a "virtual strip searchĒ and an invasion of privacy because the images display nearly nude images of passengers.
Despite these concerns, scanners are already in place at 51 airports across the country. Jon Allen, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, said the department plans to have 450 scanners in operation by the end of the year.
The technology gained momentum after an attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day aboard a flight to Detroit, in which a man strapped a bomb to his leg.
Travelers who do not want to have their bodies scanned by the machine may opt out and received a pat down by a TSA security guard.
As a safety policy, officials did not say exactly when the scanners will be up and running at each of the new airports but explained that announcements made through the media as well as public demonstrations will be done before the technology is implemented.
The full body scanners are being paid for through the $3 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act fund, aimed at increasing homeland security efforts.