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Innovative Security Scan simplifies passenger control at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Security Scan at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

As reported, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport — one of the world’s most modern airports — has begun using a new body-scanning machines at security checkpoints. It is the first airport in the world to do so.

Starting today, the Security Scan at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol will be used for passenger security and Customs control procedures.

The Security Scan is a machine that produces an image of the body contours using millimetre wave reflection technology. The image will tell security staff immediately whether a passenger is carrying any prohibited items on his or her body.

The introduction of the Security Scan at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is a joint initiative of the NCTb (National Counter-Terrorism Coordinator), Customs authorities and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Security Scan different from Body Scan

The Security Scan should not be confused with the Body Scan used by the Dutch Border Police (Koninklijke Marechaussee) for so-called 100% security screening at the airport. Unlike the Security Scan, the Body Scan uses X-rays that pass through the body to trace swallowed items. Used by Customs and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Customs will use the Security Scan to find out whether passengers are smuggling items (such as drugs, cash or diamonds) in or underneath their clothing. Schiphol uses the Security Scan to check departing passengers who, in accordance with the Civil Aviation Protection Act (Wet beveiliging burgerluchtvaart), must be screened before boarding.

The Security Scan is voluntary

From today, passengers will find a Security Scan at Pier H and another one near the Pier E gate. In the months to come, a total of 17 Security Scans will be installed in the Terminal. Subsequently it will be decided whether the Security Scan should be introduced for security control procedures on a larger scale. For the time being, passengers will have a choice between using the Security Scan or going through regular security procedures.

Faster and more client-friendly

Passengers will probably experience the Security Scan as a more client-friendly procedure, as it reduces the need for hand searches. The Security Scan is also expected to speed up the overall passenger screening process.

No health hazard, privacy guaranteed

Millimetre wave technology is entirely safe, as it involves the use of harmless millimetre waves that are reflected off the skin. Passengers are not exposed to any type of radiation, and their privacy is carefully guarded too. The Security staff member (image analyst) views the images in a closed space and is unable to see the person in the scan. As an extra privacy precaution, the passenger’s head is made invisible.
– Source: Schiphol Newsletter, May 16, 2007. [Subscribe to the weekly Schiphol newsletter]

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This post was last updated: May. 18, 2011