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Full-body scanners at New York airports next month.

This file combination of images taken on October 13, 2009 shows an airport staff member (L) demonstrating a full body scan at Manchester Airport in Manchester, north-west England, and a computer screen showing the results of a full body scan (R). New York full body scanners will start in the next month. AFP PHOTO / FILES / PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Full-body scanners will land at New York-area airports as soon as next month.

The high-powered machines – which produce virtually naked images of airline passengers going through security – are the latest pricey tools brought in to detect explosives or non-metal weapon under layers of clothing.

The advanced-imaging technology scanners transmit low-level X-ray beams to produce an anatomically correct image of the body that’s viewed by a security officer in a private room.

“As soon as they evaluate the image, they hit delete,” said Ann Davis, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration. “Facial features are completely blurred so the person cannot be identified.”

Carrying individual price tags of up to $170,000, the machines will eventually be rolled out at 450 airports. There are now 165 units in use at 44 airports, with the machines set to appear at Newark Liberty Airport in September and at LaGuardia and JFK airports before the end of the year.

Critics say that the scanners go too far, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center last month sued the Department of Homeland Security in federal court, charging that the units amount to a “physically invasive strip-search.”

And some travellers agreed yesterday. “It’s too intrusive,” said Heather Clark, 24, of Fort Lauderdale, who was traveling at LaGuardia. “We have a right to privacy – that’s intrusive.”

Passengers can also choose to go through metal detectors or get pat-downs if they pass on the full-body scanners, which are not supposed to store any images.

“It’s personal,” said Lisa Weir, 42, a traveler from Georgia who said she would prefer a pat-down from a female officer. “It feels like they’re looking at you naked, which is totally inappropriate.”

But the new machines also found plenty of support among travelers at LaGuardia.

“As long as it’s safe and they erase it, I’m for it,” said Edwin Velez, 48, of the upper East Side. “The security’s gotta be most important. Without that security – forget it.”

The new scanners already caused a stir in May during testing at Miami International Airport when a security screener was arrested for allegedly beating…READ MORE HERE.