Bowing to intense pressure from privacy advocates, the US Transport Security Administration (TSA) have decided to remove body scanners from US airports. TSA decided to remove the 174 full-body scanners following public complaints and a congressional mandate.
The TSA introduced the body scanners in 2010 after detecting the failed Dec. 2009 attempt by a Nigerian to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight by igniting explosives in his underwear.
Presently, security officials at US airports rely on two technologies to detect contraband items. L-3 scanning machines help to find both metallic and non-metallic items in passenger’s belongings. Rapiscan’s machines detect objects under passengers’ clothes and reveal the entire body to the minutest detail.
The use of body-revealing scanners offended airline passengers as they felt the technology violated privacy laws and they considered the use of machines as something akin to a physically invasive strip search.
According to the Transport Security Administration, the scanners that used a low-dose X-ray will be removed by June because the company that manufactures these machines could not address the privacy issues. However, the other scanners which produce a generic body outline will stay.
Rapiscan, the company which manufactures the backscatter X-ray scanners was asked to work on the devices so that the machines produce only generic images of passengers. On Thursday, the company acknowledged that it wouldn't be able to meet the June deadline of modifying the scanners.
Source: NDTV / The Wall Street Journal