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Published: Monday, 2/7/2011

Modest change

The passengers have spoken. The Transportation Security Administration has heard last year's rallying cry, "Don't touch my junk," sparked by airport pat-downs and security scanners that left little to the imagination.

Thanks to software upgrades and adjustments, more-modest security scanners soon could be in use at airports across the country. Last week, the Las Vegas airport unveiled the new, less intrusive screening software.

Generic outlines in silhouette have replaced the blurry but revealing on-screen body imaging that generated so much angst. If the Nevada test goes well, the technology will be used at Reagan National Airport in Washington and in Atlanta. Success there could spread the new screening mode to scanners at the rest of the nation's major airports.

With the new technology, when a passenger is cleared, the screen flashes green along with the message "OK." Suspicious items under clothing or on the body appear as red boxes on a generic front-and-back silhouette.

Passengers who flash red will receive a more thorough pat-down. With the software change, the dread by some passengers of being the subject of unflattering or immodest images on a security agent's screen is removed.

The nation's travelers can thank the TSA for working to improve screening methods at airports. Security is, of course, the priority. But it's good to know that modesty still counts for something, too.



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