Air travelers concerned about their privacy in regards to full-body scanners may be able to rest a little easier as the Transportation and Security Authority has begun testing improvements on the current model.
Beginning today, scanners at Las Vegas McCarran Airport will receive a software upgrade that “eliminates passenger-specific images and instead auto-detects potential threat items and indicates their location on a generic outline of a person.”
Besides addressing privacy concerns, the entire scanning process will become more efficient since an additional TSA agent will no longer be needed to view the scanner image in a separate room.
According to the official statement from the TSA, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are also slated to receive the software upgrades.
With the software upgrades, the scanners display a screened passenger as an opaque silhouette of the human form.
If any questionable items are revealed through the scan, these will then appear with a box around the suspect area, allowing a TSA agent to perform further screening.
Unveiled prior to the 2010 holiday travel season, the full-body scanners were perhaps the most unpopular move from the TSA since the 3-1-1 restrictions placed on liquids.
Concerns over personal privacy even prompted a few audacious entrepreneurs to market “scanner-proof” underwear and stickers.
The backlash finally culminated in a grassroots “National Opt-Out Day” prior to Thanksgiving, although in the event, only a handful of people participated in the protest.
Given that it only took three months to create a software patch to fix privacy concerns, it begs the question: Why couldn’t the TSA have released the scanners with this software in the first place?
By Fernando Padilla for PeterGreenberg.com.
Related Links on PeterGreenberg.com:
- Former Governor Jesse Ventura Sues TSA Over Airport Pat-Downs
- Travel Tip: Full-Body Scanners and Medical Concerns
- TSA Privacy Backlash Grows With Release Of Body Scan Images
- TSA Security Procedures Under Fire As National Opt-Out Day Approaches