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New TSA technology won't create naked images

February 1, 2011 |  2:44 pm

ProVision ATD Generic Mannequin300 jan 2011The naked images created by airport scanners may soon be a thing of the past.

The Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday that it was testing software that would allow airport scanners to show objects hidden under the clothes of passengers without creating what appears to be a naked digital image of the passengers.

Instead, the software being tested at airports in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Washington would create an outline of a generic person on a screen (shown at left). Using radio waves, the scanner looks through a passenger's clothing and signals any anomalies that would indicate hidden weapons or contraband.

The software would be installed on the scanners that are already installed at the airports. No new equipment would be needed.

The idea is not new. TSA Administrator John Pistole told reporters last year that the agency had long been testing the software but said it had created too many false alarms during early trials. A TSA spokesman said Tuesday that some of the false-alarm problems have been resolved in government labs.

-- Hugo Martin

Photo: Image of a generic body created on full-body-scanner screens by the new software. Credit: L3 Communications