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US rolls out less revealing airport scanners

The US Transportation Security Administration began rolling out new airport scanner software Tuesday that produces less revealing images of travelers.

The new software "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 TSA TSA

See tax-sheltered annuity (TSA).
 said.

McCarran International Airport “LAS” redirects here. For other uses, see LAS (disambiguation).
McCarran International Airport (IATA: LAS, ICAO: KLAS, FAA LID: LAS) is the principal commercial airport serving Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County, Nevada.
 in Las Vegas was the first to test the new software, with Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson hub and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (IATA: DCA, ICAO: KDCA, FAA LID: DCA) is a public airport located three miles (5 km) south of the central business district of Washington, D.C., in Arlington County, Virginia, United States.  in the US capital due to have the new program installed in the coming days.

Advanced imaging technology X-ray scanners currently in use at airports around the United States sparked an uproar among travelers because they produce a graphic image of a person's naked body, genitalia and all.

TSA administrator John Pistole pis·tole  
n.
1. A gold coin equal to two escudos, formerly used in Spain.

2. Any of several gold coins used in various European countries until the late 19th century.
 said the new software has been found in tests to "provide the same high level of security as current advanced imaging technology units while further enhancing the privacy protections already in place."

The new software reportedly detects potential threat items and indicates their location on a generic outline that is the same for all passengers.

If no potential threat items are detected, no outline will appear on the TSA agent's monitor -- only the word "OK."

But "areas containing potential threats will require additional screening," the TSA said.

US travelers have complained that the graphic image scanners now in use at 78 US airports showed too many details of the body of the person being scanned and were an invasion of privacy invasion of privacy n. the intrusion into the personal life of another, without just cause, which can give the person whose privacy has been invaded a right to bring a lawsuit for damages against the person or entity that intruded. .

Others have worried the scans were unsafe because they expose travelers to low doses of X-rays.

Nearly 500 scanners are currently deployed at US airports, with additional units planned this year.
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Author:Staff Reporter
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Feb 1, 2011
Words:278
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