The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) praised a new software system introduced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that will be installed on its millimeter wave Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines and provide greater privacy measures for travelers while still maintaining a high level of security screening. (See TravelAgentCentral, July 21)
In an announcement made July 20, TSA Administrator John S. Pistole revealed that the new software technology—known as Automated Target Recognition (ATR)--will automatically detect potential threats using a generic outline of a person, rather than the specific outline of each passenger who passes through the millimeter wave scanners, as currently happens. This new systems also removes the need for an additional TSA screener to view the images in private.
“ASTA is extremely pleased to learn of this new security measure that will enhance the overall travel experience. While ASTA has always been in strong support of adhering to a high standard of security, we have been cognizant of the need to balance that with a system that respects the privacy of travelers. This new technology strikes that note,” said Tony Gonchar, ASTA's CEO.
In its release, the TSA noted that the technology, developed with the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate and private industry, was successfully tested at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Las Vegas McCarran International and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports in February. Plans to test the technology on the backscatter units are underway for the fall.