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TSA Debuts Generic, ‘Privacy-enhancing’ Body Scanners

TSA Administrator John Pistole, Photo: tsa.gov

Say goodbye to the “naked scanners.” The U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced it will begin testing new software for its advanced imaging technology machines that will eliminate passenger-specific images in favor of detecting potential threat items on a generic outline of a person.

TSA Administrator John Pistole, who made the announcement earlier this week, said the new software will be tested at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, as well as airports in Las Vegas and Atlanta.

“We are always looking for new technology and procedures that will both enhance security while strengthening privacy protections,” he said. “Testing this new software will help us confirm test results that indicate it can provide the same high level of security as current advanced imaging technology units while further enhancing the privacy protections already in place.”

Because the new software provides only a generic outline, a separate TSA officer will no longer have to view the image from a remote-location viewing room, which will streamline the process, Pistole said.

TSA’s original “back-scatter” advanced imaging technology, which went into full effect shortly before Thanksgiving drew criticism and, even, outrage from some travelers and privacy advocates.

TSA worked with the Department of Homeland Security science and technology shop as well as industry to develop the software, beginning last fall.

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