BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A more modest approach to airport screening has begun at BWI-Marshall. As Alex DeMetrick reports, the technology still looks through clothes, but doesn’t leave passengers exposed.

Traveling by air no longer means showing it all at BWI-Marshall. Full body scanners there have received an upgrade. The scan sees through clothes but only uses a generic outline.

“We’ve completely gotten rid of the image and replaced it with an icon that’s the same for every passenger,” said Kawika Riley, TSA spokesman.

The original scans were far more revealing, so much so that they were viewed away from the screening areas.

“The biggest improvement is for the customer because there was this privacy issue of someone in a back room seeing you disrobed. You might remember it led to something of a passenger revolt last Thanksgiving,” said Paul Wiedefeld, executive director of BWI-Marshall.

That protest asked passengers to opt out of screening and threatened to slow security during the holiday rush. Few travelers went along, but TSA got the message and new software was developed.

“Automated target recognition software,” Riley said.

Suspicious items show up as yellow shapes. A demonstration found things like cell phones. A hit also guarantees a pat down in areas highlighted by the scanner.

Travelers were asked if seeing more while showing less is a better way to fly.

“I feel it’s an improvement,” said a traveler at BWI airport.

“I’m sure you’ll get much fewer objections now,” another traveler said.

The new technology not only improves privacy, it’s more efficient.

“Instead of it going to a back room where an issue is detected and then radio-announcing it, it’s done right there, ” Wiedefeld said. “It’s done instantly.”

Leaving security and dignity intact.

Ten of the upgraded scanners went online Friday at BWI-Marshall.

Eventually, 230 other machines will receive the new software at 40 U.S. airports.

Comments (3)
  1. Horse Hockey says:

    This is all fine and dandy. However, be sure to bear in mind that the sensing machines that send the data are still the same, and this data is still saved “for security purposes”.
    For those who don’t recognise the significance of this, here is the impact:

    The newer versions of software will be used in the presence of passengers, however, they have not stated that the old software will be “wiped” from their system. This means that they can still run the data through the old software in a remote room, whenever they choose. If you are a celebrity, public figure, or simply gorgeous, you still have cause for concern.

    Think that this is unlikely? Consider the fact that celebrity screening photos showed up on the internet, which essentially “prompted” the changes in software to begin with. The TSA has not announced any personnel changes to accompany the software changes, therefore, it stands to reason that the same smucks that sold the photos to the net, are still working the screening equipment.

    Bottom line: Its simply a bit of “customer passifying propaganda”. Everyone gets to smile, relax, and feel good about the security process, however, behind the scenes its “business as usual”.

  2. Oscar says:

    It labels any psoern who “interferes” with TSA airport security screening procedure protocol and operations by actively objecting to the established screening process, “including but not limited to the anticipated national opt-out day” as a “domestic extremist.” The label is then broadened to include “any psoern, group or alternative media source” that actively objects to, causes others to object to, supports and/or elicits support for anyone who engages in such travel disruptions at U.S. airports in response to the enhanced security procedures.=========As I posted elsewhere Put Ron Paul on your list , then arrest him and see what happens.

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