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