TSA Making Airport Body Scanners More Private

Posted Feb 1st 2011 03:32 PMUpdated Feb 18th 2011 05:23 PM


Airport body scanner

Rebecca Dolan, AOL

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun testing new software designed to make full body scanner images at airport security more private.

In a demonstration at a TSA facility at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, TSA Administrator John Pistole showed off the technology that produces generic images that do not show body parts when air passengers go through the scanning devices.

Critics have raised concerns about "naked images" they say current body scanners produce. Some have called the body scanners "virtual strip searches."

"The ATR (Automated Target Recognition) technology allows us to maintain the high levels of security we have while doing the best possible job at protecting the privacy of all our passengers," Pistole said of the new software.

The software produces an androgynous image of each passenger. A TSA agent positioned at the scanner watches the screen, which is attached to the body scanner, but not visible to those in the airport security line. Unlike the current setup, the monitor is not in a back room.

If a passenger is found to be clear, a green "OK" screen appears. If a suspicious object is detected, a yellow box highlights the area on the cartoon-like body image where the threat is located. The passenger is then pulled aside for a hand search of that area.

airport body scanner

Rebecca Dolan, AOL

"We believe it addresses the privacy issues that have been raised since the AIT equipment was deployed," Pistole said.

Critics ranging from former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, who is suing the TSA, to a Kentucky attorney who launched an airport underwear line – designed to block private parts when air passengers go through full body scanners at security – have criticized body scanners as being an invasion of privacy.

The software upgrades were rolled out today at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, with tests at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International and Ronald Reagan airport to follow. The testing period is expected to last 45 to 60 days, before a more expansive rollout.

"We will do the testing to assess whether ATR meets our high standards of detection," said Pistole.

airport body scanner

Rebecca Dolan, AOL

Filed Under: News

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

That is why i dont fly anymore.....

February 27 2011 at 2:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess everyone has forgotten about 9-11 or the underwear bomber? Damn Liberals...... Maybe you should try and play nice with the terrorists? See how far that gets you ! They do not care about anything but jihad! You really need to look up what it states in the Koran and see what you think about the peaceful muzzies..... But what do I know I only spent 7 months in Iraq dealing with them and getting my degree in Terrorism studies...... Time to wake up America.

February 02 2011 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Poor Gloria, we will never be safe again...its all an allusion...do your research...as far as jihad is concerned they don't want any part of our democratic ideology, don't want any part of us in their country... and will not stop fighting until they have the power (end of wars...end of peace)

February 02 2011 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It makes you wonder why didn't they explore this new possiblity in the first place...who are... these technological brains lol ...and does this address the radiation problem? Anymore it makes you wonder if we 've raised a bunch sexually focused, money hungry, thrill seeking idiots.

February 02 2011 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tell the truth!

I have a better solution... Why don't they allow two different airlines to operate...
One with TSA agents checking and searching every passenger and bags and one with no TSA or security. I would like to see the results of that and how many people would chance taking the non secure flight or go through screening to assure their safety? Which one would you fly??? Which one would you allow your children on??? I know sometimes it's tedious and annoying but I would rather be inconvienced for a few minutes, then dead in a few minutes. Make time for it, expect it and do your best to comply with the rules and you should have no issues. Know and understand that all of the added security measures taken are taken to keep YOU safe becasue in the end you are the one getting on the plane not the TSA agent!

February 02 2011 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Last year in October I flew to NC with a friend. I am 38 and she is in her 60s. I would NOT go through those machines and opted for the pat.

My friend went through the machine and she was let through... mind you, her bag going through the xray machine had an opened bottle of water and an inhaler that was not put out in the bin as you are supposed to do. NO questions asked and just let through.... I on the other hand got pat down as if I was a terrorist.... go figure. So tell me, if they allowed all that in her bag, why on Earth are they bothering with these machines and pat downs in the first place?
SAFETY? I think not!!!

February 02 2011 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Are the airports in the foreign countries where the terriots come from going to have the new scanners also
Because they come from foreign countries wake up United States and check the foreign air ports and you could send the Statue of Liberty back to France as we have more problems with the foreigns that come here. As a disabled senior it is a disgrace that we as disabled seniors are searched like a terroist.

February 02 2011 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would love a full body search, it would be most my body has been "felt up", in some time!

February 02 2011 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why did it have to take such an uproar to make them change the image? You'd think that unless a pervert was making the choice of software they would have gone to this cartoon version first.

February 02 2011 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

kahneejune: you need to do your own research. I work as a radiographer, which means I take xrays and have a degree in it for my own job. Let me clue you as to what your beloved TSA is doing to you. Yes, everyone is exposed to small amounts of radiation every day, from several sources. However, these machines use what is called a "soft" xray or backskatter, which is, in fact, the worst possible radiation you can be exposed to. Xrays are strong enough to shoot through your tissue with minimum damage and continue to the film to make an image, when done by a qualified operator. Backskatter radiation is only strong enough to enter your body, and not strong enough to leave. Which means it sort of rattles around banging into and damaging any tissue in it's way. This is the type of radiation for which medical personnel shield. If you want to expose your body to it, fine. Being as this is my field of expertise, I choose not to let my family and myself fly. We drive. Also, you should know that ANY image that comes out of these machines will always show genitals, until turned into another image. They show in negative, but when switched, guess what, porn-quality pics of your 10 year old daughter. What they aren't strong enough to do is see into body cavities, and they will not pick up some plastics, and soft materials or liquids. So they are pretty much worthless. Also, imagine this. Your beloved TSA agents have absolutely no training in radiation protection, so they have no clue how much exposure you are receiving or when it is appropriate to shield or not send a client through. Can you say pregnant women, children and cancer patients? Would you allow a hospital to hire people to irradiate you with absolutely no training or knowledge or their job of field? All radiaiton is cumulative. It NEVER leaves your body. It simply builds up and up until damage is done. Try to get $ out of the TSA for that! Have you caught on to the fact that the pilots, who fly the most frequently of all, have gotten an opt-out for the scanners. Their union won't let the TSA use them, due to - you guessed it - health/cancer risks. Not to mention the conflict of interest created by the fact that the heads of the TSA have stock in the manufacturing companies for the equipment they keep shoving down our throats, and insist are safe. You fly and die, I'm going to continue driving where I can take what I want, wear what I want, and say what I want. Perhaps before you encourage people to put their lives at risk due to your so-called knowledge, YOU should do your research.

February 02 2011 at 2:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Around the Web

  • Even when you're traveling, follow what's going on in your neighborhood.
    Get the Patch app.
  • .