TSA to pull all backscatter x ray scanners

These two sets of images provided by the Transportation Security Administration are samples that show details of what TSA officers see on computer monitors when passengers pass through airport body scanners. At left are two images using backscatter advanced image X-ray technology from the huge scanners that were introduced in 2010 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and other airports. At right are images from new scanners using new millimeter wave technology that produces a cartoon-like outline rather than naked images of passengers produced by using X-rays. Credit: AP

WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — The Transportation Security Administration confirms that it is getting rid of airport body scanners that produce a naked image of travelers.

Right now the TSA uses two types of scanners. One (the millimeter wave scanner) makes a generic image showing where agents should look for an object on the traveler’s body. Those scanners are staying.

The other kind of scanner (the backscatters) uses X-rays. They raised privacy concerns because they show metal objects on the traveler’s body – along with every other detail, too.

News of a change first came out in October, when the TSA confirmed that the backscatter machines would be replaced by the millimeter wave ones in major airports. However, at the time, the TSA maintained that the x-ray ones were not being phased out completely. That’s now changed.

Confused as to the difference between the two types of machines? TheBlaze’s Liz Klimas pointed out the differences in two pictures this fall:

TSA to pull all backscatter x ray scanners

A millimeter wave scanner is on the left and a backscatter X-ray is on the right. (Image: ProPublica) 

TSA to pull all backscatter x ray scanners

This shows the difference in what the system shows between millimeter wave scanner (left) and backscatter (right). (Image: ProPublica) 

Congress has mandated that the x-ray scanners be changed or removed by June and the TSA says that will be the case.

It says the company that makes them, Rapiscan, was not able to come up with a software fix to make the scanners comply with the Congressional mandate.