Canada airport body scanners lose naked rating

Canadian airline passengers can feel slightly less exposed at airport security checkpoints, after body scanners criticized by privacy advocates were nipped and tucked on Tuesday to show less skin.

In an overhaul, new software for the millimeter-wave scanners is to be used which will produce a computer generated "stick figure" that can detect weapons or explosives concealed under clothing, without revealing physical features.

"This new software will ensure the continued safety and security of Canadian passengers, while respecting their privacy," Minister of State for Transport Steven Fletcher said in a statement.

Fifty-two full-body scanners capable of peering through clothes are in use at Canadian airports. They were introduced to tighten security following a failed plot to bomb a US airplane.

Graphic images created by the machines to be viewed by officers, however, were criticized by privacy advocates as amounting to "virtual strip searching," given that security staff could view sensitive body parts.