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Concerns about body scanners being tested at Rogers Arena next year

(Photo by Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A civil liberties group has some questions about the body scanners that will be tested at Rogers Arena next year.

The Hexwave technology will use radio frequencies to form a 3D image of a person, then combines that with artificial intelligence to figure out if they’re carrying any weapons.

Megan McDermott speaks for the BC Civil Liberties Association and, based on what the group has learned about the Hexwave technology, they want to know why it’s being brought in.

“What is the purpose? What’s wrong with the current system that they need to now use these privacy-intrusive methods for absolutely everybody who’s going to come into the stadium?”

She says there need to be assurances the data from these scans won’t be shared.

“This type of technology seems similar to the scans that some people have gotten used to going through airports. And in those cases, I guess they’ve gotten some very rigorous procedures to try to protect people’s privacy because of all the public concern about who’s going to be able to access the images.”


McDermott says it’s possible to balance out safety and privacy, and those using Hexwave do have options.

“De-identify the body… the person… the imagery that you’re looking at, or that’s being captured by the computers that you would not be able to identify the person simply by looking at that image.”

also wants to know why the technology is being brought in, since there don’t appear to be any concerns with the metal detectors now in place at the arena.

For its part, Rogers Arena says it’s always looking to explore cutting-edge technologies that will keep fans and visitors safe.

“We are committed to our customer safety and looking for ways to improve their experiences while visiting Rogers Arena”, said Jim Day with the venue in a statement. “This includes exploring how using cutting edge technologies can help keep our fans and visitors safe. We look forward to evaluating the capabilities of the HEXWAVE product.”