Body Scanners Being Removed: TSA Remove 'Naked' Scanners Before Congressional Deadline
The Transportation Security Administration has announced that its controversial "naked image" OSI Systems Inc. body scanners, supplied by Rapiscan, will be removed from all U.S. airports. According to CBS News aviation correspondent, Sharyl Attkisson, the OSI Systems scanners in question are unable to solve its privacy issues in time of the congressional deadline in June.
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So far, 76 scanners have been removed from airports already but there are still another 174 scanners left across the country. Not all body scanners are associated with the new removal program -- the L-3 Communications scanners produce less invasive images and comply with the congressional mandates.
Terminating the $5 million contract with Rapiscan and its OSI Systems scanners, the TSA will stock its airports with additional L-3 Communications scanners, which produce less revealing images that are still capable of identifying metallic objects like guns and nonmetallic objects, including plastic explosive devices.
The new generation of body scanners gained demand following the infamous "underwear bomber" incident when terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas day of 2009. The scanners were meant to clear travelers indiscriminately before a flight to ensure the safety of all occupants.
However, critics were quick to complain that the new scanners were excessively invasive for producing naked pictures of every traveler. TSA defended that the scanners do not store the images and are only displayed to non-interacting security workers.
According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a full body scan from the machines are no different from a "physically invasive strip search."
In order for Rapiscan to continue the operation of its OSI Systems airport scanners, Congress required modifications on the software to display less invasive images by June. However, Rapiscan admitted that the fix will not be ready until next year, 2014.
OSI systems scanners will continue to operate at other undisclosed government agencies including military bases and prisons where privacy is less of a concern.
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