Lots of misleading headlines today, such as this one from Gizmodo: “TSA to Remove Naked-Image Scanners From US Airports”
The machines we have to work through at major airports — collectively dubbed ‘nude-o-scopes’ by many passengers whose bodies and privacy are invaded by them on a daily basis — are going to continue to be used.
What’s going away are the backscatter x-ray machines, and those are being replaced by millimeter wave machines.
Backscatter machines have already been gradually removed from major airports, and moved to less trafficked airports.
Now, since the company that manufactures them seems unable to hit contract targets for software that obscures our private parts (and may have even faked test results), the TSA is pulling the plug. Those machines will wind up being used elsewhere in the government. All that Rapiscan, the manufacturer, loses is a $5 million software contract and future sales.
But we’ll still have to walk inside the larger machines, ‘assume the position’ and wait to be seen nekkid.
The millimeter wave machines, though, don’t have the radiation exposure that the backscatter versions did. So there’s an improvement.
But for many of the nation’s largest airports, this isn’t even a change at all from the status quo.
What’s more, this may not even be the end of backscatter machines — just the end of Rapiscan’s machines at airports — since the TSA still has a contract with American Science for backscatter technology.
So this seems to be a story that’s getting way overplayed today, and doesn’t represent nearly the shift in policy that it’s being made out as.