TSA Says New Software Will Protect Passenger Privacy

Air travelers soon won’t have to worry about feeling so exposed if they go through full-body imaging machines at security checkpoints. New software in the machines will produce only a “generic outline” of the traveler’s body rather than a specific image, according to the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA says it is updating the imaging machines at 40 airports in coming months.
The $2.7 million software upgrade comes in the wake of complaints over the machines’ technology and concerns that the images go beyond the level of detail needed to determine if the person is carrying concealed weapons or explosives -- in essence providing a naked image.

But one critic is questioning the effectiveness of the new software. Charlie Leocha, director of the Consumer Travel Alliance, said he thinks there are more false positives with the new software, leading to more of the pat-downs that some consider invasive. “We’re gaining more privacy in terms of the scanner itself not showing the full bodies. However, we’re then giving up the privacy” through more pat-downs, he said.


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