TSA: No More Graphic, Full-Body Airport Scans
A U.S. Transportation Security Administration employee demonstrates the less intrusive Automated Target Recognition software in 2011. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The Transportation Security Administration has told Congress that it’s finished retrofitting airport scanners to blunt a widely criticized technology that shows graphic detail of a passenger’s body as he or she goes through security checkpoints.
In a letter Thursday from TSA Administrator John Pistole to the House Homeland Security Committee, the agency says that as of May 16, all U.S. airport scanners that had been equipped with the offending Advanced Imaging Technology, or AIT, have been loaded with software called Automatic Target Recognition, which shows only generic images of the passengers.
The change was ordered by Congress in 2012 and was to have been completed by Friday.
“As of May 16, 2013, all [Advanced Imaging Technology scanners] are equipped with ATR capability,” he said in his letter, The Hill reported. “Additionally, TSA’s procurement of next generation AIT requires ATR capability.”
NBC says that the retrofitted scanners “will now only show a generic outline of a passenger to the operator. A colored box pops up if the full-body scanner detects a potentially forbidden item.”
As Mashable notes:
“In some respects, the agency has yielded to pressure from passengers and privacy advocates to exercise more common sense screening techniques.
“In March, TSA officials let fliers formally air their gripes on the $2 billion body scanning program, a requirement for substantial federal programs that TSA had skirted for about four years.”