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TSA, bored of seeing you naked, removing airport body scanners

The Transportation Security Administration says its techies have failed to create software that would allow passengers to appears less naked when going through scanners, so it is removing the devices.

2 min read
Jonathan Corbett/YouTube; screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You do realize that those nice people in Transportation Security Administration uniforms have been examining your naked body, don't you?

You do realize that scanning machines arrived so swiftly in U.S. airports that there wasn't time to write software to preserve what remains of your modesty -- as you hold your hands up in surrender, just so that you can fly to Seattle?

Ah, you didn't.

Well, I bring news of a cover-up.

No, not that sort of cover-up. The TSA has decided that it's had enough of staring at your denuded selves -- perhaps we're not all such pretty sights -- and it is therefore removing the scanners.

Bloomberg offers that no matter how hard it tried, OSI Systems, the company entrusted to write modesty-enhancing software, discovered it couldn't do it in time.

Congress -- after objections from organizations such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center -- had asked OSI's Rapiscan to write software that would create more neutral images of compliant passengers.

Now, however, the remaining 174 Rapiscan machines will be rapidly removed from our airports. 76 were already retired last year.

The TSA will, however, rely on scanners from other companies that allegedly offer a more discreet form of humiliating security (see image below).

On its own blog, the TSA explains how L3 Millimeter Wave scanners offer a more palatable image to the naked eye.

However, Blogger Bob, the TSA man behind this blog, also explains that the Rapiscan machines will be "stored until they can be redeployed to other mission priorities within the government."

Perhaps government employees are more used to seeing each other naked.

There will always be those who are suspicious of the scanners' effectiveness. One blogger believes that you can strap metal objects to your body and get through.

It seems, though, that going through security at airports will continue to be a long process. The officers on duty might be charming or might not be. The machines will still demand that you present yourself for examination.

It's just possible, though, that the uniformed TSA staff might be sniggering slightly less often.

How your body looks in a Millimeter Wave scanner. TSA