By Rachel Dovey.
In a bid to tighten security on Los Angeles County’s rail system, transportation authority officials plan to set up a network of body scanners later this year. Unlike the walk-through scanners used by airports, these devices will scan passengers en masse from up to 30 feet away — raising questions about equity and consent.
Los Angeles will be the first city in the U.S. to utilize the technology for its transit system, the Los Angeles Times reports. The devices resemble a “trunk on wheels” according to the paper, and cost about $100,000 each.
Along with metal detectors, scanners are rare on the nation’s rail systems because “the technology does not work fast enough to process a significant share of commuters at rush hour,” according to the Times. But these devices can process upwards of 2,000 people an hour, Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said.
“Most people won’t even know they’re being scanned, so there’s no risk of them missing their train service on a daily basis,” Sotero added, according to another article in the New York Times.
Metro security chief Alex Wiggins, however, told the Los Angeles Times that passengers will be made aware that they’re entering an area where they can be searched. Signs will be posted next to the scanners, and would-be riders can choose to opt-out. But “opting out” could mean being barred from the station that day.