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TSA Removing Non-Privacy Body Scanners From Airports Nationwide

22 January 2013 | News

TSA Removing Non-Privacy Body Scanners From Airports Nationwide

TSA has pursued continual security improvements since 9/11 to keep travelers safe. However, many people have felt some security measures like the use of graphic airport body scanners, violates privacy and goes a little too far. As of later this year, TSA is going to change that.

TSA has announced they will remove airport body scanners that reveal graphic images of travelers’ bodies in June 2013. The body scanners received much criticism while in use. TSA has pursued to solve the problem with the backscatter machines by having their contracted manufacturer, Rapiscan, upgrade them with privacy software. Rapiscan informed the TSA that they could not meet the congressional deadline for the software implementation, therefore, TSA has decided to remove them. “It is big news,” said Marc Rotenberg, the Electronic Privacy Information Center Executive Director. “It removes the concern that people are being viewed naked by the TSA screener.”

Backscatter machines appear to be technology of the past. Security privacy called Automated Target Recognition or ATR is software that only shows a body outline. Millimeter wave machines will be TSA’s preferred machine. They have the privacy software, but backscatter machines do not. Backscatter machines also use X-Rays, which to some travelers deem as a health concern. Millimeter wave machines use radio waves instead. Backscatter machines after more scanning study and/or if the ATR can be developed for them in the future.

Traveling will become quicker and easier through the airport. There are 174 backscatter machines in 30 airports that are expected to be removed. Currently, 170 airports are using the millimeter wave machines. At the same token, it will also increase security as well.

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References: 1.19.13, CNN, Mike M. Ahlers, TSA removing ‘virtual strip search’ body scanners