The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has begun testing new software for its advanced imaging technology (AIT) machines in select airports.
The new software eliminates the invasive passenger-specific images and instead automatically detects potential threat items and indicates their location on a generic outline of a person. TSA said its testing the new software at the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will also try the new system out in the coming days.
We are always looking for new technology and procedures that will both enhance security while strengthening privacy protections. Testing this new software will help us confirm test results that indicate it can provide the same high level of security as current advanced imaging technology units while further enhancing the privacy protections already in place, TSA Administrator John Pistole said in a statement.
If a threat is identified on the areas of a person's generic outline, those areas will get additional screening. This is no different than how TSA currently operates AIT machines. If there are no threats, an OK will appear on the screen.
This new system will eliminate the need for a separate TSA officer to view a person's image in a remotely-located viewing room. TSA said the system will increase the efficiency of the often time-consuming screening process.
The TSA said the new software is being tested on millimeter wave AIT units currently in airports. There are plans to test similar software on backscatter units in the future. Millimeter wave technology bounces electromagnetic waves off the body to create a black and white three-dimensional image. Backscatter technology, on the other hand projects low level X-ray beams over the body to create a reflection of the body displayed on the monitor.