DFW Debuts New Body Scanner Software

Software Tested Over Last Six Months

By Chris Van Horne
|  Friday, Sep 2, 2011  |  Updated 11:49 PM CDT
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New software allows airport security screeners to see under a traveler's clothing without being so revealing.

Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com

New software allows airport security screeners to see under a traveler's clothing without being so revealing.

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New software could put an end to privacy worries over Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport's body-scanning machines.

Transportation Security Administration officials unveiled the software Friday morning at DFW Airport, where it was installed in all 14 body scanners.

"With the installation of the new software, we are able to strengthen privacy protection for passengers without compromising the safety and security of the traveling public," said Michael Donnelly, DFW Airport's acting federal security director.

The system uses a screen that displays a gray silhouette of a generic body. The screen is placed at security checkpoints in a spot where both the traveler and the security agent can see it.

In demonstrations Friday, yellow boxes appeared on the silhouette denoting items that needed to be removed, such as cellphones or keys.

Under the previous system, the images of travelers' bodies were displayed in a separate room, where a TSA officer would radio the officer at the checkpoint if a traveler was carrying an item that needed to be scanned.

TSA officials at DFW Airport said the software would also cut down on personnel and building costs because an off-site officer is no longer needed to review the images.

Travelers at DFW Airport on Friday afternoon said they did not have a problem with the body scanners before or after the software was installed.

"[It] doesn't both me any. I've gone through them, too," said Brian Kirkwood who flew in from Atlanta.

Jane Murphy, who was flying to Chicago for a wedding, also said she did not mind the machines, calling them "reasonable."

The technology was originally tested in February in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Washington, D.C., and was rolled out in July.

In all, the software will be installed in 241 security machines at 40 airports around the country over the next few months at a cost of $2.7 million. The cost includes research and development, the TSA said.

The agency plans to eventually install it in all airports.

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