As of mid-May, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced all of its airport scanners now display a less graphic body image than those that have been causing privacy concerns since they began use in 2008.
TSA officers give a demonstration of the first Advanced Imaging Technology unit at John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 8 passenger security checkpoint on October 22, 2010 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo: Michael Nagle/Getty Images)
TSA Administrator John Pistole told the House Homeland Security Committee in a letter last week, which was released publicly Thursday, that as of May 16, 2013, all scanners were retrofitted with Automated Target Recognition (ATR), which is a privacy filter that shows only a generic body outline on a screen for agents.
The more detailed image on the left will no longer be shown for TSA agents. TSA's security imaging technology has had a privacy filter installed so a more generic image, like that on the right, appears. (Photo: AP/Transportation Security Administration)
The scanners being changed in major airports around the country was first reported in the fall of 2012, but earlier this year, TSA announced the change would apply to all backscatter scanners. The update was made in accordance with the FAA's Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which required all of TSA's Advanced Imaging Technology units be equipped with ATR by June 1, 2012.
Last year, Pistole extended the deadline to May 31, 2013, and in the letter announced no need to extend it further because all units had the privacy filter installed.
Dave Couts, a program analyst for the Transportation and Safety Administration, demonstrates how to stand in the new Rapid Scan 1000 body scanning machine at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix on Thursday, June 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt York)
The Hill reported lawmakers expressing support for the completion of the project.
“I applaud TSA for becoming compliant with the law mandating that all AIT machines used by TSA are equipped with up-to-date privacy filters,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement. “Because of this action and congressional oversight, TSA will never again use machines to screen passengers that do not obscure their [images] while maintaining security.”