A passenger goes through a full body scanner at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC© AFP 2013/ Jewel Samad
WASHINGTON, January 18 (RIA Novosti) – Departing soon from US airports: body scanners that let security staff view images of naked passengers.
The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirmed Friday it is canceling a contract for X-ray body scanners manufactured by the company Rapiscan because the firm was not able to meet a June 2013 deadline set by the US Congress to provide less invasive Automated Target Recognition (ATR) software.
“By June 2013 travelers will only see machines which have ATR that allow for faster throughput,” the TSA said in a statement.
“This means faster lanes for the traveler and enhanced security,” it added.
The revealing body scanners were first tested in 2007, prompting a public outcry and quickly becoming the butt of late-night talk show jokes.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) argued in a 2010 letter to US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that “there are less intrusive and less costly techniques available to address the risk of concealed explosives on aircrafts.”
The American Civil Liberties Union advises travelers on its website that TSA agents “will see an image of your body that could include a revealing look at your entire body, including breasts, genitals, buttocks and external medical devices.”
Nationwide, there are 174 scanners that project the images of nude passengers to TSA workers located in a separate room. Those units will be replaced by the end of May, according to the TSA.
“It’s not about passenger complaints. It’s about requiring Rapiscan to deploy non-imaging software by the deadline, and we’ve determined they can’t do that,” a TSA spokesperson said.
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