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Las Vegas, NV - TSA Tests New More Modest Body Scanning System

Published on: February 1, 2011 07:19 PM
By: AP
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Las Vegas, NV - Federal aviation officials are giving it another try. This time, they are not looking as closely under traveler’s clothes.

The Transportation Security Administration on Tuesday began testing a new, more modest body scanning system at three airports. They hope it will assuage critics’ concerns that the nearly 500 full-body scanners at 78 airports reveal too much.

“We believe it addresses the privacy issues that have been raised,” TSA administrator John Pistole said at a news conference at Reagan National Airport in Washington, one of the airports testing the technology.

The system does not involve new machines. Instead, it relies on new software.

The software discards the x-ray-style image that revealed the contours of the traveler’s body — the one that left many uncomfortable at the thought of screeners being able to see them with the rough outlines of their undergarments.

Now, there is just a generic image — like the chalk outline of a body at a crime scene.

This is how it works:

A traveler passes through the scanner. Once they step out, they can see a computer monitor. It can display a large green “OK” and the traveler can move on.

If they have something in their pockets or hidden elsewhere on their body, the outline of a body appears, and a box marks the location of the object. If someone had a wallet in a front pocket, for example, the box would appear over the hips.

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The box would then trigger a human pat-down search.

“One of the things this does is give greater confidence to the traveling public, because they are seeing the image also. They are seeing exactly what the security officer is seeing, that they can say ‘Oh, yeah, I forgot to take that piece of paper out of my pocket,’” Pistole said.

“And hopefully it provides a greater deterrent to possible terrorists, who may realize ‘Ok, they’re going to see it right there. If that shows up, and I’m here, then I’m going to be caught,’” he added.

On Tuesday at one of the test sites, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, TSA workers moved through a scanner equipped with the new software in a demonstration for reporters.

On some people, the scanner picked up objects in their pockets. A search later showed wallets or cell phones. Those carrying nothing moved through the scanner in moments.

The other airport where the software will also be tested is Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.

If all goes well for two months, TSA can install the software to 250 of the scanners nationwide at a cost of $2.7 million. The expansion will be limited to that because the software works on machines produced by one of the two companies that make them.

TSA officials will making the decision to expand on the ability of the software to detect objects and how efficiently it can move travelers through the security checkpoints.

Critics have complained that the full-body scans are intrusive, but it wasn’t immediately clear if the new software would help address their concerns.


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Read Comments (6)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 02, 2011 at 08:53 AM mnmys1987 Says:

Eventhough some poskim said that the system we have now is "Kosher" for security reason, I avoid traveling by plane since. But that new system seems better.

2

 Feb 02, 2011 at 09:18 AM republic Says:

Thank g-d! I really hope that this will go through -maybe less radiation also?

3

 Feb 02, 2011 at 11:54 AM The_Truth Says:

Reply to #1  
mnmys1987 Says:

Eventhough some poskim said that the system we have now is "Kosher" for security reason, I avoid traveling by plane since. But that new system seems better.

Just wondering, how do you travel from the US to Israel by "avoiding traveling by plane"?

4

 Feb 02, 2011 at 12:18 PM harvey Says:

theyre frumming out

5

 Feb 02, 2011 at 02:46 PM expert Says:

Reply to #3  
The_Truth Says:

Just wondering, how do you travel from the US to Israel by "avoiding traveling by plane"?

Israel does not use this useless intrusive system, which does not detect some latest treats like the underwear bomber. They use far more intelligent system of profiling - no grandma X-rayed, Muhamed searched thoroughly.

6

 Feb 03, 2011 at 05:36 PM mnmys1987 Says:

Reply to #3  
The_Truth Says:

Just wondering, how do you travel from the US to Israel by "avoiding traveling by plane"?

I never went to Israel and I don't live in the US

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