Make us your home page
Instagram

Airport scanners could skip 'digital strip search' with new software

Travelers at U.S. airports in the future might not worry about the creepiest part of security screening: that officer in a booth studying what's under your clothes.

The two companies that sell whole-body scanners to the Transportation Security Administration are supplying the agency with software that highlights potential weapons on a generic figure instead of an image of a passenger's body.

Scanners now blur out faces and private parts of passengers. Eliminating body images could quiet privacy advocates who call the scans "a digital strip search.''

"TSA continues to explore additional privacy protections for imaging technology,'' said Sari Koshetz, a TSA spokeswoman, in an e-mail. "Testing is currently under way.''

There are 200 scanners operating in 51 U.S. airports. Tampa International Airport got the machines at the end of 2008. The TSA stepped up use of scanners after Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines jet approaching Detroit on Dec. 25 with explosives hidden in his underwear.

L-3 Communications assembles scanners sold to the TSA and other customers in a St. Petersburg plant. A model with the automatic detection software that displays the generic figure, the ProVision ADT, operates at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

"We look forward to a successful trial and certification process with the TSA this fall,'' said Bill Frain, senior vice president for government sales.

Don't get too eager. The TSA won't comment on a time line for approving the new technology. A former agency official told Bloomberg News it would take months.

"There's still a long way to go,'' said Jeffrey Sural, a Washington, D.C., attorney and former assistant administrator for legislative affairs.

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813)226-3384.

Airport scanners could skip 'digital strip search' with new software 09/10/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 10, 2010 9:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas construction licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena

    Tourism

    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  3. Rick Scott appoints longtime ally Jimmy Patronis as Florida CFO

    State Roundup
    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO. [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy

    Autos

    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]