TSA to Remove Controversial Body Scanners

By Paul Riegler on 18 January 2013
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Security checkpoint at JFK

Security checkpoint at JFK

The Transportation Security Administration will begin removing the Rapiscan full-body scanners from airports that have generated thousands of complaints from both travelers and members of Congress.  The scanners were criticized for producing revealing images of travelers and possibly emitting radiation, presenting a potential hazard for TSA workers as well as airline passengers.

The scanners are being removed because the manufacturer, OSI Systems, said it was unable to implement new software that would meet a Congressional mandate to protect passenger privacy.  The scanners have been in use for almost three years and were deployed after an attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane by setting off explosives hidden in his underwear.

The TSA currently has 174 Rapiscan machines in place at airports around the countries.   OSI Systems  will pay for the removal of the scanners.  In a prepared statement, Deepak Chopra, the company’s president, said the company had reached “a mutually satisfactory agreement with the T.S.A.”

The TSA is replacing the Rapiscan machines with full-body scanners that display avatar-like figures on screen which alert the screener to suspicious objects.  The new scanners will be in place by June.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)





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