The U.S. Transportation Security Administration, the agency that conducts passenger screening at airports, has changed the rules that allow travelers to opt out of a full-body electronic scans while going through airport security.
Passengers can still request a physical pat-down rather than electronic screening, but TSA agents can now deny that request and require the traveler to go through electronic screening. The change “improves threat detection capabilities for both metallic and non-metallic threat objects,” according to a report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees TSA.
The change, which took effect late last year, has drawn criticism from legal experts and privacy advocates. They complain the rules are unclear, the technology is not fully reliable and that the government changed the rules without inviting public comment. A recent column in the Dallas Morning News details the debate and what the change could mean to travelers.