The TSA said it had made the decision to remove the imaging machines by the beginning of June
January 20, 2013 – The Transportation Security Administration on Friday confirmed that it would be pulling all of its all-body nude airport scanners that make a complete body image of travelers. The scanners have sparked widespread controversy over safety and privacy laws.
The TSA said it had made the decision to remove the imaging machines by the beginning of June. There currently are 174 scanners still used in 30 different airports in the U.S.
In place of the imaging scanners, the TSA will use additional wave body scanners, which produce a stick figure as its image, in some airports, while in others it will just have walk through detectors.
In 2009, following the failed bombing by the underwear bomber on Christmas Day, the TSA started to use the backscatter full body imaging technology in the country’s airports. The Christmas underwear bomber had plastic explosives concealed inside his underwear during a trip to Detroit from Amsterdam. Passengers on the plane restrained him after he had started a fire on the plane in an attempt to detonate his hidden explosives.
However, public outcry and many lawsuits were sparked by the nude body scanners charging that the scanners were an invasion of an individual’s privacy. Passengers were allowed to opt out of going through the body scanner, but would then have to have a pat down, which was considered by many to be equally invasive.
The government had contracted with a company to manufacture 500 of the full body machines at a cost of nearly $180,000 each, but announced that the contract had been terminated.
The body scanners have been replaced without fanfare by the TSA for the last several months. Larger airports where they have been already been taken out include Boston’s Logan International, Chicago’s O’Hare, LAX in Los Angeles, JFK International in New York and Orlando’s International Airport.