More TSA Perv-O-Scanner Drama

I can’t believe we’re paying for this bullshit agency!

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 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.

This is replacing the “Safe” X-Ray scanners, that have been deemed unsafe…so we can really trust these goons.

And then there’s this:

The government has spent about $90 million replacing traditional magnetometers with the controversial body-scanning machines at airports nationwide.

Rapiscan had a contract to produce 500 machines for the TSA at a cost of about $180,000 each. The company could be fined and barred from participating in government contracts, or employees could face prison terms if it is found to have defrauded the government. In all, the 250 Rapiscan machines already deployed are to be phased out of airports nationwide and will be replaced with machines produced by L-3 Communications.

The move away from Rapiscan machines is more than a boost to privacy.

Unlike the competing millimeter-wave technology produced by L-3 Communications that employ radio waves to detect metallic and non-metallic substances, the Rapiscan machines expose travelers to a small X-ray dose. The TSA and Rapiscan maintained the machines are safe, despite some academics telling the White House (.pdf) that the government did not adequately study the backscatter X-ray devices.

The TSA’s announcement ironically comes after its December decision to commission the National Academy of Sciences — a private non-profit filled with engineering and science scholars — ”to estimate radiation exposure resulting from backscatter X-ray advanced imaging technology.”

Both companies’ machines were the subject of a lawsuit brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which charged that the machines were ineffective, unsafe and were an unconstitutional privacy breach.

Hey, but at least we’ve caught a TON of terrorists for the BILLIONS of dollars spent on all this crap!

h/t Mrs. Weer’d and
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