Body Scanner with Windows Vulnerability

The Transportation Security Administration and body-scanner vendors seem to have come up with a workaround, revealing a new software fix that may take a lot of the awkwardness out of having security personnel viewing your private parts. Instead of seeing an X-ray of one’s exposed body, they will only be viewing an avatar-like figure on screen, with alerts to suspicious carry-ons.

Bloomberg News reports that L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. and OSI Systems Inc.’s Rapiscan, makers of the scanners for US 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 images shown on this page, from L3, show very generic representations of human figures, in which software senses and alerts security personnel to suspicious carry-ons. Rapiscan’s human figures are even more “cartoonish” looking (see illustration on the the Bloomberg site). Peter Kant, a Rapiscan executive vice president, said in an interview that the software fix will be far less intrusive than current full-body scanning technologies.

The software upgrade seems like a relatively simple fix to a thorny problem that has been vexing security officials and been of great concern to privacy advocates.

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