Naked body scanners set to be removed from US airports soon

Last Updated: Sat, Jan 19, 2013 07:50 hrs

The 'naked image' body scanners will soon be removed from U.S. airports.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is severing its five million dollars software contract with OSI Systems Inc. for Rapiscan 'Secure 1000' scanners, after the company could not produce less revealing images in time to meet a congressional deadline.

According to CBS News, 76 of the machines have already been removed from U.S. airports and 174 are currently left.

But body scanners are not being removed from airports entirely.

Still machines made by L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. are being used, which produce less-detailed images that comply with congressional mandates to better protect passenger privacy, the report said.

Use of advanced imaging body scanners at airports was accelerated after the so-called 'underwear bomber' Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas 2009.

That was followed by an outcry from privacy advocates and members of Congress who argued the naked images produced by the machine were too invasive.

According to the report, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) likened a scan by the machines to a 'physically invasive strip search'.

In August, 2010 the TSA asked the makers of the body scanners to make the images less revealing.

While TSA will pull all of the current Rapiscan 'backscatter' scanners out of operation by June 1 due to a congressional mandate that all TSA scanners have privacy filter software by then, TSA has not made a decision to permanently stop using backscatter scanners, the report added. (ANI)

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