Say goodbye to 'naked image' body scanners

WASHINGTON (CBS NEWS) -- The last of the so-called "naked image" body scanners will soon be removed from U.S. airports.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is severing its $5 million software contract with OSI Systems Inc.for Rapiscan "Secure 1000" units, after the company couldn't produceless revealing images in time to meet a congressional deadline, reportsCBS News aviation and transportation correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

Seventy-six of the machines have already been removed from U.S. airports; there are currently 174 left.

But body scanners are not being removed from airports entirely. Still in use are machines made by L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc., which produce less-detailed images that comply with congressional mandates to better protect passenger privacy.

Useof advanced imaging body scanners at airports was accelerated after theso-called "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted toblow up a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas 2009. That was followedby an outcry from privacy advocates and members of Congress who arguedthe naked images produced by the machine were too invasive.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) likened a scan by the machines to a "physically invasive strip search."

InAugust, 2010 the TSA asked the makers of the body scanners to make theimages less revealing. L-3 accomplished the goal in 2011, but Rapiscanrecently said it would not be ready with its fix until 2014.

That's beyond a June deadline mandated by Congress.


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