By David Kravets
The Transportation Security Administration is pulling the plug on its nude body scanner program, a decision announced Friday that closes the door to a tumultuous privacy battle with the public scoring a rare victory.
Travelers will continue to go through one of two types of scanners already deployed, but images of naked bodies will no longer be produced. Instead, software will instead show a generic outline of a person.
What the TSA sees using millimeter wave technology without Automated Target Recognition software
First tested in 2007, the advanced imaging technology scanners became the object of intense media and public scrutiny around Thanksgiving in 2010. In addition to privacy concerns, some experts maintained the scanners’ safety was unproven, and that the technology was ineffective in detecting smuggled weapons and explosives. Travelers are permitted to opt-out of the scan, but are then subjected to an aggressive pat-down procedure.
The government said Friday it is abandoning its deployment of so-called backscatter technology machines produced by Rapiscan because the company could not meet deadlines to switch to generic imaging with so-called Automated Target Recognition software, the TSA said. Instead, the TSA will continue to use and deploy more millimeter wave technology scanners produced by L-3 Communications, which has adopted the generic-outline standard.