AirTalk

TSA to replace “naked image” scanners

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents screen passengers at Los Angeles International Airport.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced their plan to remove almost 200 airport body scanners from American airports. The scanners, manufactured by OSI Systems Inc. have attracted a lot of negative attention since their implementation 2010 – critics have likened the Rapiscan machines to a strip search. The OSIS x-rays are different than most airport security scans because of the “naked” images they produce.

Many travelers have objected to being searched so intimately and see the Rapiscan machines as an unfair alternative to a standard metal detecting x-ray. For the time they were in use, the only alternative to a “naked image” search was a full body pat-down. The TSA removed 76 Rapiscan machines from busier airports last year, but will remove the remaining machines – all 174 of them – ending a $5 million dollar contract with OSIS. New x-ray machines that use radio frequencies to detect metallic and non-metallic items will replace the OSIS scanners, which used low-dose radiation to search for items hidden under clothing.

Is the removal of Rapiscan full-body scanners the best choice for the TSA? Did you take issue with the “naked” images the scans produced? How will the changes to airport security affect air travel?


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