Over the last few years, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has taken well deserved heat for its use of naked full-body scanners in airports across the country. Despite concerns expressed by privacy advocates, the TSA fear-mongered by insisting that the screening procedure was necessary due to the threat of terrorism.
But after being unable to produce a software to settle privacy concerns, the TSA announced today that they will pull the naked body scanners out of airports:
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will remove airport body scanners that privacy advocates likened to strip searches after OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS) couldn’t write software to make passenger images less revealing.
TSA will end a $5 million contract with OSI’s Rapiscan unit for the software after Administrator John Pistole concluded the company couldn’t meet a congressional deadline to produce generic passenger images, agency officials said in interviews.
“It became clear to TSA they would be unable to meet our timeline,” Waters said. “As a result of that, we terminated the contract for the convenience of the government.”
This is a big, long overdue win for privacy advocates and airline passengers. Now if we could just get rid of the TSA itself. The tactics this wasteful and costly agency employs to harass and embarass passengers — such as patdowns on infants, toddlers, young kids, and 95-year old cancer patients — is all for security theater. Getting rid of body scanners is a great step, but eliminating the TSA and allowing airports to choose their own security should be the ultimate goal.