TSA to remove naked x-ray scanners

Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:19:42 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 19 2013 05:41:15 PM EST

Airport body scanners that produce graphic images of travelers' bodies will be removed from checkpoints by June, the Transportation Security Administration says, ending what critics called "virtual strip searches."

MIAMI -

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirms that it's removing airport body scanners that produce a naked image of travelers.

Right now, the TSA uses two types of scanners. One makes a generic image showing where agents should look for an object on the traveler's body. Those scanners are staying.

The other kind of scanner uses x-rays. They raised privacy concerns because they show metal objects on the traveler's body -- along with every other detail, too. Congress has mandated that those scanners be changed or removed by June.

TSA says the x-ray scanners will be gone by June. It says the company that makes them, Rapiscan, was not able to come up with a software fix to make the scanners comply with the Congressional mandate.

TSA says the scanners are used at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport but not at Miami International Airport or Palm Beach International Airport.

Passengers didn't seem bothered by the scanners.

"It never bothered me at all," said Charlotte Smith.

"I'm not too concerned about that," said Mike Hanzlick. "It's an inconvenience but it helps security so be it."

"I feel a little less safe. They should reinstate them," said Otis Greene.

"My feeling is whatever is the safest is okay with me personally," added Jennifer Outlaw.

TSA issued a statement on the scanners Thursday, saying: “TSA has strict requirements that all vendors must meet for security effectiveness and efficiency.  Due to its inability to deploy non-imaging Automated Target Recognition (ATR) software by the Congressionally-mandated June 2013 deadline, TSA has terminated its contract with Rapiscan. 

“By June 2013 travelers will only see machines which have ATR that allow for faster throughput.  This means faster lanes for the traveler and enhanced security.  As always, use of this technology is optional.”

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