The Transportation Security Administration announced last week that their virtual body scanners are being removed from airports by June.
The backscatter scanners have been hotly contested since their initial deployment, as they use x-rays to produce graphic images of travelers’ bodies, with critics dubbing them “virtual strip searches.”
More importantly, however, were the health risks associated with the scanners, as frequent flyers were facing numerous doses of radiation from the x-rays that were unncessary, intrusive, and potentially harmful.
Others noted that they didn’t appreciate being seen naked by TSA screeners. While the backscatter scanners are the ones being taken out of circulation, ones that use radio waves will still be used but only produce a generic outline of the body, not a full naked-like image.
Passengers concerned about the imagery or the x-rays were given one choice--pat downs by screeners, many of which became highly intrusive and caused numerous allegations of inappropriate touching and unnecessary searches of small children and the elderly.
The TSA is charged with protecting travelers and keeping them safe, and for the most part, screeners do an admirable job in the face of a thankless flying public. However, by and large, flyers don’t require such intrusive measures to keep the public safe.
Common sense and safety concerns should not be at odds, and TSA has made a step in the right direction by removing the graphic scanners from the nation’s airports.