TSA Dumps Porno Airport Scanners. Good Riddance!

| Fri Jan. 18, 2013 5:37 PM EST

 

Image from a backscatter X-ray airport scanner, of the kind that will be gone from all US airports by June: US Dept of Homeland Security via Wikimedia Commons

By June those X-ray-emitting, full-frontal-and-full-backside-exposing airport scanners will be gone, the Transportation Security Administration announced today. The reason: Rapiscan, their maker, can't meet the software requirements to block the naked view of travelers for a more generic one.

David Kravets at Wired Blog writes of another potential (and potentially more ominous) reason for the ban—falsifying test data:

The announcement comes three months after Rapiscan came under suspicion for possibly manipulating tests on the privacy software designed to prevent the machines from producing graphic body images.

The European Union has already banned backscatter X-ray scanners over health concerns... worries that most X-rays are received by one of our more supersensitive organs: our skin. I wrote about that here and here.

TSA removed 76 of the X-ray scanners from busier airports last year and will dump the remaining 174 by June, reports Bloomberg. Although all those porno scanners are destined for government agencies across the country. Sorry, federal employees. 

Meanwhile in US airports TSA will continue to deploy the (presumably safer) millimeter wave technology scanners made by L-3 Communications, which has mastered generic-outline imaging. 

Personally, I'm just glad I won't have to get to the airport extra early anymore to make the extra long wait for an extra special pat down.