Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole announced today that the TSA will begin installing new software on the Advanced Imaging Technology scanners "designed to enhance privacy by eliminating passenger-specific images."
The TSA said the changes will be made to the controversial 'Millimeter Wave Advanced Imaging Technology' units, which are responsible for the individual nude body images that travelers have vehemently objected to having TSA agents view.
Once the new software is in place in all United States airports TSA agents will see just a generic outline for each passenger. "The software, known as Automated Target Recognition (ATR), will auto-detect items prohibited by TSA regulations, and increase the efficiency of the airport screening process," said the TSA statement:
“Our top priority is the safety of the traveling public, and TSA constantly strives to explore and implement new technologies that enhance security and strengthen privacy protections for the traveling public,” TSA Administrator John Pistole said. “This software upgrade enables us to continue providing a high level of security through advanced imaging technology screening, while improving the passenger experience at checkpoints.”
The software, which has been successfully tested in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Washington, will pinpoint the location on the body of any potential threats and and mark these on on a computer-generated outline for examination by TSA screening agents.
The TSA will immediately begin to install the new software in nearly 200 Millimeter Wave AIT units at 41 airports in the country. Plans are underway to test similar software for backscatter units in select airports this fall. The TSA reports they have almost 500 imaging units in 78 airports nationwide.
The TSA points out that travelers will still be giving the choice of opting out of the imaging machines and go through a pat-down by TSA agents.