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Put away that fig leaf underwear! The TSA announced yesterday that it has begun testing new software to make its controversial full body scanners less revealing.

The scanners, which use Advanced Imaging Technology to show a clear, X-ray-style view of travelers’ bodies, sparked concerns about privacy when they were rolled out in airports across the U.S. last year. The new software that the TSA is testing would eliminate passenger-specific images and instead show potential threats on a generic gray outline of a human body. Travelers flagged with potential threats would be subject to additional screening in the form of a pat-down. If no threats are detected, the machine will display an “OK” message.

The software will be tested at airports in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Washington D.C., according to the TSA’s press release.

With this new software, the TSA clearly hopes to address concerns about passenger privacy — but questions remain about the safety and efficacy of the full body scanners. (The TSA maintains that the level of radiation used in the scanners is too low to be harmful.) And the hugely unpopular enhanced pat-downs remain in place.

Will this change to the full body scanners make you feel more comfortable about flying?

— written by Sarah Schlichter

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10 Responses to “Are the TSA’s New Body Scans Less Embarrassing?”

  1. ThereseQS says:

    I’m almost 82 & travel back & forth to Italy every 6 months. Am I considered a ‘potential threat’ I was not only subject to a body scan, agent yanked my arm up painfully when he felt I didn’t raise it high enough. I appreciate ‘security’ but there has to be a better & less painful way to screen

  2. Ken says:

    No. The TSA itself and new scanners with the radiation bonus is a smoke screen. This is another government agency run amok to maintain its’ existance.

  3. schmoopymn says:

    I think it depends what airport you go through. For ex. I just went through honolulu and I won’t go through full body scanners so I got what I called the Aloha enhanced patdown. The Hawaiians tend to be mellow and friendly and the TSA agent was very respectful. In Houston, however many of the TSA agents also double as prison guards. They treat you like a convict and their patdowns and demeanor in my experience has been less than favorable. They forget that we are not convicted criminals but free citizens. I think this is all a smokescreen to violate our rights because the wrong people are being put in high positions of authority in this country.

  4. Cruiser says:

    As a FF senior with a hip replacement that sets off that buzzer every time, I find the scanner a relief from the pat down that adds 15 min min to getting thru security, as well as the embarrassing public gropes (asking for a private area for the pat down adds another 5-10 min to your security time). We are stuck with this mess, so just suck it up. Just don’t forget why this is happening.

  5. Lee Gaymon says:

    It is about time! There is NO need to have such a revealing scanner except to furthur perverts. I would not have my wife go through one of those revealing scanners or go through the body check. We have cut back on our traveling because of the use of these scanners that inable smut mongers.
    It is too bad that TSA cannot be sued for molestation.

  6. Anne says:

    With bi-lateral hip and knee replacements, I actively seek out the scanners – what was a 10 minute procedure now is done in 90 seconds for me using the scanners. I don’t care what the screener sees on the screen – they’ll never see me again, who cares? Those scanners make traveling much more pleasant for me. Now if they just would subject every piece of luggage and cargo to the same standards, I’d feel a lot safer flying.

  7. Leslie Bonner says:

    I have no problem going through whatever scanner or patdowns if it makes us safer. Too bad they aren’t nearly as cautious with all the people behind the scenes, baggage handlers, etc.

  8. Wimpie says:

    Cruiser: “We are stuck with this mess, so just suck it up. Just don’t forget why this is happening.”

    Remember the 4th amendment!
    Why is this happening? Can you say Michael Chertoff? Can you say Linda Daschle?
    Follow the money.

    Leslie: “I have no problem going through whatever scanner or patdowns if it makes us safer. ”
    There is NO EVIDENCE that they make us any safer. In fact they probably make us less safe. Can you say CANCER?

  9. bill says:

    I agree: The TSA itself and new scanners with the radiation bonus is a smoke screen. It’s all about control.

  10. Emmy says:

    I am a petite female with what I can only assume is a menacing appearance in pair of heels that brings my height to a total of 5’4″. Recently I was treated to the fab fun of the full body scan in the New Orleans airport and when I happened to look at the next victim in line behind me she was a real bruiser too. I suppose people should be aware of small blond women in high heeled shoes. OOOOHHH scary!!!!! Please these are the same people that took away my granny’s sewing needle and what were they wary of her doing putting together a sampler that was offensive/lethal? I have no problems with TSA taking measures that actually will ensure passenger safety but they need to enforce procedures that will deal with baggage, parcels and passengers as well these ridiculous scans.

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