The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin testing new software on its advanced imaging technology (AIT) machines that enhances privacy by eliminating passenger-specific images and instead auto-detects potential threat items and indicates their location on a generic outline of a person, said John Pistole, TSA Administrator. TSA will test the new software at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport and at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in the coming days.
"We are always looking for new technology and procedures that will both enhance security while strengthening privacy protections," Pistole said. "Testing this new software will help us confirm test results that indicate it can provide the same high level of security as current AIT units while further enhancing the privacy protections already in place."
The software will automatically detect potential threat items and indicate their location on a generic outline of a person that will appear on a monitor attached to the AIT unit. As with the current version of AIT, the areas identified as containing potential threats will require additional screening. The generic outline will be identical for all passengers. If no potential threat items are detected, an "OK" will appear on the monitor with no outline.
By eliminating the passenger-specific image associated with the current version of AIT, a separate TSA officer will no longer be required to view the image in a remotely located viewing room. Through removing this step of the process, AIT screening will become more efficient, expanding the throughput capability of the technology.
TSA worked with the Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate and private industry to develop the software, and began testing it at the TSA Systems Integration Facility in the fall of 2010.