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TSA Introduces New Technology At MIA To Protect Privacy

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Shoes and small liquid containers are placed in bins to be screened by TSA Supervisor Jennifer Haslip at the x-ray machine at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport. (Source: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Shoes and small liquid containers are placed in bins to be screened by TSA Supervisor Jennifer Haslip at the x-ray machine at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport. (Source: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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MIAMI (CBS4)-  The Transportation Security Administration said it’s installing new technology in some U.S. airports so when a traveler goes through checkpoint security, a generic outline of a person’s body will be shown instead of the image of a naked body.

The agency said the change is intended to protect travelers’ privacy rights while securing commercial air travel. It will be used in 40 airports, including in Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit and Newark.

The new software is designed to recognize items on the passenger that could pose a security threat.

Last Thursday, TSA announced it will test a program to pre-screen a small group of select air travelers who volunteer more personal information about themselves so they can be vetted to get faster screening at airport checkpoints.

The new program represents the Obama administration’s first attempt at a more risk-based, intelligence-driven passenger screening program that could respond to travelers’ complaints that the government is not using common sense when it screens all passengers at airports in the same manner.

The change comes amid a typically busy summer travel season and on the heels of a public outcry over TSA agents giving enhanced pat-downs to children and the elderly — people who ostensibly pose no security threat.

The test program was expected to begin sometime this fall. It applies only to a small number of frequent travelers who are U.S. citizens. The TSA said it anticipates that between 5,000 and 8,000 travelers will participate in the trial.

The agency plans to eventually use this technology for more machines at more airports.

The whole body imaging machines have sparked outrage among passengers and privacy advocates because they reveal images of naked bodies.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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