After fueling the anger of airline passengers nationwide with extremely revealing body scanners, the TSA will be trying out some more modest technology. In a press release, the US Transportation Security Administration announced it “will begin testing new software on its advanced imaging technology machines that enhances privacy by eliminating passenger-specific images, and instead auto-detects potential threat items and indicates their location on a generic outline of a person.”
The Las Vegas McCarran International Airport has begun testing the discreet body scanning system, and Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are next in line. In addition to saving passengers the embarrassment of a TSA agent scrutinizing their genitals and the very public humiliation should the images happen to make it to the Internet (which demo and approved images did), the entire process will be sped up since a separate viewing room will no longer be necessary.
The TSA reportedly partnered with the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology program as well as private entities in the tech industry to develop the software. It’s been in the works for months, nearly since outraged passengers started speaking out about the former system. In November, TSA head John Pistole appeared in Washington DC to both defend the original scanners as well as inform the public his department was working on new technology that would replace the very detailed images with “a stick figure or a blob.”
“We are currently testing that today; we have been for several months,” Pistole said at the time. Now it looks like it’s making its way to airports nationwide, and hopefully by next Thanksgiving passengers won’t have to live in fear of airport body scanners.