TSA to junk naked body airport scanners

by
January 19, 2013

Newark Body Scanner Airport
Those airport scanners that leave nothing to the imagination are being scrapped by the Transportation Security Administration.

The agency is ending a contract with Rapiscan Systems, which manufactures the scanners which produce a naked image of travelers who pass through them. Privacy rights activists have complained that the scanners, first rolled out in 2007, constitute a virtual strip search. The TSA plans to continue using a scanner that is considered less invasive, and which makes a generic image that has been likened to a cartoon, or stick figure, yet highlights potential foreign objects on the traveler’s body.

The TSA says the X-ray scanners will be gone by June because Rapiscan was not able to come up with a software fix to make the scanners comply with a Congressional mandate that the scanners better protect passenger privacy. Opponents of full-body scanners argue that strip searches without probable cause violate basic human rights. Governments do not have the right to make strip searches routine and mandatory, regardless of whether the strip search is done by physically removing clothes or by using technological means to remove the clothes.

“Due to its inability to deploy non-imaging Automated Target Recognition (ATR) software by the Congressionally-mandated June 2013 deadline, TSA has terminated its contract with Rapiscan,” the agency said on its website. “By June 2013 travelers will only see machines which have ATR that allow for faster throughput. This means faster lanes for the traveler and enhanced security. As always, use of this technology is optional.”

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