June 4, 2012

Computer Hardware and Airport Security Scans

Transportation Security Administration officer...
Image via Wikipedia

Technology and advances in computers and computer hardware make life better and safer for us on a daily basis. Except when it doesn’t. While that may sound contradictory it is currently a dilemma being faced by both airplane passengers and Transportation Security Administration officials.

The need for screening and security for airline passengers today is undeniable. As those who seek to circumvent security for nefarious reasons find newer and alternative ways to achieve their goals, security must be ever more vigilant, creative and tightened in its determination to thwart them.

It is this search for and utilization of newer methods of security that sometimes run up against or possibly step over the line at intruding into a citizen’s personal liberties. A problem has developed over just this situation regarding full-body screening of passengers at U.S. airports. The screeners can show hidden weapons, explosives and contraband on an individual. However the screening process is so sensitive that it shows more than that. The images reveal the body of the individual being screened.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy advocacy group, filed a law suit against the U.S. government to stop the screenings. Supporters of the group felt that the screeners would use the process salaciously or for ridicule.

However a solution to this problem may have been found. With new software, now a screener will see an avatar of a generic human being. It has been reported the look of this new image will be a regular guy wearing a baseball cap. However any hidden weapons or other items will still be visible to the screeners.

While full-body scanning remains voluntary, it is estimated that 98% of individuals select the full-body scan over alternate methods of screening. At present the TSA screeners for the full body scans are located in a separate closed room. Having an avatar image would not require this nod to further privacy.

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