January 19, 2013
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration says it is removing full-body airport scanners that produced what appear to be naked images of a traveler’s body.
The TSA said it will replace the scanners with new scanners that allow greater privacy.
The TSA has canceled its contract with Rapiscan, the company that makes the X-ray scanner that produced the revealing body images. The TSA has 174 Rapiscan scanners at about 30 airports.
Rapiscan failed to meet a congressional deadline to deliver software to protect the privacy of passengers.
TSA spokesman David Catelveter said the Rapiscan scanners will be largely replaced by scanners made by L-3 Communications. L-3 scanners, already in use at some airports, produce a generic outline of passengers’ bodies instead of what appear to be naked images.
TSA had increasingly relied on the full-body scanners after a man allegedly tried to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear aboard a transatlantic flight in December 2009. The bomb set off a rush to upgrade security to detect explosives underneath clothing.
Some airline passengers considered the X-ray images an invasion of privacy.