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Friday, January 18, 2013

Naked Body Scanners Being Moved Out of Major Airports

Concerns Remain Over Pat-Downs and Training

 

 

Today, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that they were moving one type of invasive body scanning machines out of major airports and placing them in smaller airports. The machine, which use backscatter technology, reveal the outline of a traveler's body to airport security officers for screening. Over the last several years, the National Center for Transgender Equality has expressed concerns with the TSA about how the these machines may lead to "outing" and unnecessary pat-downs of transgender travelers.

TSA is ending its contract with the backscatter machine vendors because the company failed to meet a congressional deadline to make privacy-enhancing software changes. Moving these machines to smaller airports may represent a small improvement for travelers, as it may reduce the number of travelers whose body images are viewed by security officers. Simultaneously, the TSA will expand the use of another type of body scanning machine that employs millimeter-wave technology to uncover foreign objects on a person’s body. Instead of having images of travelers’ bodies viewed by security officers, millimeter-wave body scanning machines use “automated target recognition” software to depict “anomalies” which are displayed on a screen with a generic human outline. Concerns remain with the number of travelers who continue to face invasive pat-downs at security checkpoints. Additionally, advocates still have questions about the adequacy of cultural competency training for airport security officers. Read more here. Download NCTE's airport security resource here.

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