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. First tested in , the advanced imaging technology scanners became the object of intense media and public scrutiny around Thanksgiving in 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.
A full-body scanner is a device that detects objects on a person's body for security screening purposes, without physically removing clothes or making physical contact. Depending on the technology used, the operator may see an alternate-wavelength image of the person's naked body, or merely a cartoon-like representation of the person with an indicator showing where any suspicious items were detected. For privacy and security reasons, the display is generally not visible to other passengers, and in some cases is located in a separate room where the operator cannot see the face of the person being screened. Unlike metal detectors , full-body scanners can detect non-metal objects, which became an increasing concern after various airliner bombing attempts in the s. Starting in , full-body scanners started supplementing metal detectors at airports and train stations in many countries. Three distinct technologies have been used, though the use of Backscatter X-ray has now been discontinued in many countries:.
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As a photographer and somebody working in radiated environments Chernobyl , the issue of airport scanners intrigues me. Are they safe? Can you really see somebody naked? Is the person in the back room secretly checking us out, or laughing at us? This week I managed to sneak a picture from the screens of the airport scanner in the Sao Paulo, Brazil—similar to many models in the USA. Depending on who is in front of me in the airport security line, this could be either a very interesting, or a very scary picture. You can then decide for yourself it they see more of you than you want to show. The first reputed image from a scanner that I saw online was that of a shapely blonde. It provides enough detail so that the imagination can easily fill in the details of her body.
You travel to London , you travel to France. And the feds have saved records of X-raying your underpants. A government agency admitted this week that they've stored more than 35, controversial body scanning images, despite the federal Transportation Security Administration previously stating the images can not be saved or recorded, CNET reported. The U. Marshals Service said they had secretly saved the images at a security checkpoint at a Florida courthouse. Recently Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano , said the scanners would be placed at most major airports in the country. But the machines have remained controversial. Critics have argued the scanners violate passenger privacy by producing "naked" pictures and likened the procedure to "virtual strip searches.