Here’s a piece I wrote for the Defense Media Network about the new software for the Transportation Security Administration’s advanced imaging technology machines, which uses a less revealing image to identify concealed items. While this is sure to change the debate over AIT machines, it does not overcome the inherent limits in full body scanners, that is, they only “see” skin deep.
When the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began using full-body scanners in airports, the now-iconic “naked” images spurred a public debate over privacy and security. As a result, TSA has started implementing new software in its Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines, removing all anatomical detail and automatically targeting concealed objects on a generic outline.
“We believe it addresses the privacy issues that have been raised,” TSA Administrator John Pistole told the Washington Post. “It’s basically a software modification to existing equipment, so there’s very little cost.”
$2.7 million to be exact.
With the new TSA software, if a passenger’s scan presents no anomalies, no image is shown. If something is detected, the outline of a generic body is shown with a box highlighting where the unknown item is held. This gives TSA screeners a simpler, less revealing image.