Airport `Naked Image’ Scanners in U.S. May Get Privacy Upgrades

John Hughes

Bloomberg

An Avatar will replace
the naked body image

Holli Powell, a Phoenix medical software consultant who flies every week, says she avoids getting into airport security lines that end at what she calls a humiliating full-body scanner.

“Those scanners, I feel, are above and beyond,” Powell, 35, said in an interview. They generate “nearly naked images.”

The concerns of travelers such as Powell, which led privacy advocates to sue the government, may soon be eased. L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. and OSI Systems Inc.’s Rapiscan, makers of the scanners for U.S. airports, are delivering software upgrades that show a generic figure rather than an actual image of a passenger’s body parts. The new display would mark sections of a person’s body that need to be checked.

The revisions “certainly address most of the privacy concerns,”Peter Kant, a Rapiscan executive vice president, said in an interview. Every passenger will generate an avatar that “looks like a guy wearing a baseball cap,” he said.

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