On Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration announced measures that are sure to please privacy-enthusiasts: It’s currently upgrading its software to ensure greater privacy for travelers.
In a release, the TSA said upgrades will be made on to the millimeter wave Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines used throughout airports. Basically, the new software applies to scanners, and according to the TSA, “eliminat[es] passenger-specific images”. Instead of a full-scanned of your body and its naughty bits, a generic-outline will be produced:
The new software automatically detects potential threats and indicates their location on a generic, computer-generated outline of a person that appears on a monitor attached to the AIT unit. As with the current version of AIT, if a potential threat is detected, the area will require additional screening. If no potential threats are detected, an “OK” appears on the monitor with no outline, and the passenger is cleared.
If a “potential threat” is detected, though, expect “additional screening”, parlance for “a pat-down” amongst other things. On the TSA’s blog, it goes a step further: the generic outline will only show up if a passenger sets off an alarm, otherwise a green screen with the word “OK” is shown to TSA officer and passenger both.
The new software was successfully tested at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Las Vegas McCarran International and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports. The TSA plans to roll out the new software upgrades to all 500 AIT units in 78 airports, though similar software for backscatter units will be tested in the fall.