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Published On: Sat, Jan 19th, 2013

TSA confirms removal of ‘virtual strip search’ or naked body scanners

The Transportation Security Administration confirms that it is getting rid of airport body scanners that produce a naked image of travelers.

 Image from the backscatter advanced imaging technology (AIT) machine used by the TSA to screen passengers. This is what the remote TSA agent would see on their screen.  2010 photo supplied by US Transportation Security Administration part of U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Image from the backscatter advanced imaging technology (AIT) machine used by the TSA to screen passengers. This is what the remote TSA agent would see on their screen. 2010 photo supplied by US Transportation Security Administration part of U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The TSA said Friday that the scanners that used a low-dose X-ray will be gone by June because the company that makes them can’t fix the privacy issues. The other airport body scanners, which produce a generic outline instead of a naked image, are staying.

Scanners showed travelers naked, intended for security workers could spot both metallic objects like guns as well as non-metallic items such as plastic explosives. The scanners also showed every other detail of the passenger’s body, too.

The TSA defended the scanners, saying the images couldn’t be stored and were seen only by a security worker who didn’t interact with the passenger. But the scans still raised privacy concerns.

Congress ordered that the scanners either produce a more generic image or be removed by June.

On Thursday Rapiscan, the maker of the X-ray, or backscatter, scanner, acknowledged that it wouldn’t be able to meet the June deadline. The TSA said Friday that it ended its contract for the software with Rapiscan.

The TSA will remove all 174 backscatter scanners from the 30 airports they’re used in now. Another 76 are in storage. It has 669 of the millimeter wave machines it is keeping, plus options for 60 more, TSA spokesman David Castelveter said.

The agency’s statement also said the remaining scanners will move travelers through more quickly, meaning faster lanes at the airport. Those scanners, made by L-3 Communications, used millimeter waves to make an image. The company was able to come up with software that no longer produced a naked image of a traveler’s body.

The government rapidly stepped up its use of body scanners after a man snuck explosives onto a flight bound for Detroit on Christmas day in 2009.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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