Going through airport security is about to get a bit different for some passengers: the Transportation Security Administration can now require some travelers to go through body scanners even if the person asks to get a full-body pat-down instead.
The TSA announced the mandated screening change [PDF] Wednesday morning, noting that the new system would be “warranted by security considerations in order to safeguard transportation security.”
Currently, passengers undergoing screening can decline using the body scanners, known as Advanced Imaging Technologies, or AIT, in favor of full-body pat-downs by TSA agents. Under the new mandate, not everyone can opt for the pat-down procedure.
According to the TSA’s update, the new policy was created to safeguard airline security during heightened terrorism concerns.
“Given the implementation of Automatic Target Recognition (ATR, the process of identifying the location of an object) and the mitigation of privacy issues associated with the individual image generated by previous versions of the AIT not using ATR, and the need to respond to potential security treats, TSA will nonetheless mandate AIT screening for some passengers as warranted by security considerations.”
The TSA reiterated on Twitter that the use of body-scanning technology “improves threat detection capabilities for both metallic and nonmetallic threat objects.”
The TSA reminded passengers on Wednesday that AIT scanners don’t store images or any personally identifiable information, CNN reports.