The TSA upgraded the software on its millimeter wave imaging technology machines so that the overall images are generic and not passenger-specific, a move designed to blunt privacy concerns.
Newark Airport was the latest facility to get the upgraded software Sept. 2 as the TSA rolls out the software tweaks at airports across the U.S.
The new software would pinpoint the location of a knife or another prohibited item on the generic image of the passenger, who would be passed along for additional screening.
The TSA argues that in addition to addressing privacy concerns, the upgraded software also makes the screening process more efficient because a TSA officer no longer has to view the passenger image in a remote location, thus streaming the process.
The new software for the Advanced Imaging Technology, as it is called, has already been tested at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta, Las Vegas McCarran and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports.
Even though the AIT’s images are becoming generic rather than body-specific, some passenger may choose to opt out of this screening technology.
Passengers who opt out are subject to physical pat downs, some of which have been criticized for being overly intrusive.
The TSA, according to the Associated Press, plans to install the imaging technology with upgraded software in 241 units at 40 U.S. airports in the next few months, only leading to a better experience and more returning travelers booking cheap flights.
Here’s an older TSA video on how the AIT machines worked prior to the software upgrade.