US airports abandon 'naked' security checks

By danwarne, July 21 2011
US airports abandon 'naked' security checks

The Transport Security Administration in the US has announced that it will modify its millimetre wave scanning technology so security screeners no longer see a 'naked' body.

Instead, screeners will see a generic outline of a body with an indication of where further physical investigation might be required.

"Our top priority is the safety of the travelling public, and TSA constantly strives to explore and implement new technologies that enhance security and strengthen privacy protections for the travelling public," said TSA administrator John Pistole.

"This software upgrade enables us to continue providing a high level of security through advanced imaging technology screening, while improving the passenger experience at checkpoints."

The 'naked' scans have been highly controversial, as have patdowns which require TSA screeners to keep sliding their hands until they 'meet resistance' in a passenger's genital regions.

Passengers will now be able to see the outline of their body produced by the scanner.

The upgraded software will first be applied to millimetre wave scanners in operation in 40 US airports. It is being tested for use with the backscatter x-ray scanners in use in a further 78 airports.

Australian airports do not use the backscatter or millimetre wave scanning technologies for screening of passengers' bodies.

However, x-ray scanners were recently introduced by the Australian government at undisclosed airports as a voluntary option for people accused of smuggling drugs inside their body, rather than having to be taken to hospital for examination.

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