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TSA Peep Show To End Summer 2013, Grabbing Of Junk To Continue

January 22, 2013 by  

TSA Peep Show To End Summer 2013, Grabbing Of Junk To Continue
UPI FILE
The Transportation Security Administration recently announced that it will discontinue use of so-called “backscatter” machines.

The Transportation Security Administration has been a bane to privacy advocates since its post-9/11 implementation. But increased calls for government to limit the intrusiveness of TSA searches have yielded some small victories for privacy advocates, though there is still much work to be done.

The TSA recently announced that it will discontinue use of so-called “backscatter” machines, which were manufactured by OSI Systems under the name Rapiscan to provide transportation security agents with a detailed naked-body image of travelers to scan for possible weapon threats. The agency says the machines will be replaced by June with new ones that provide only a generic outline of the human body.

The move comes after Rapiscan failed to comply with a Congressional mandate to create security software for the existing machines to obscure images of human genitals during pre-flight screenings.

The TSA first dismissed privacy concerns over the scanners, but after years of complaints about the TSA having a creepy, voyeuristic power to take nude photographs of travelers (which can be turned to detailed photographs with common computer software that inverts negatives) , the agency made some policy chances around 2005. First, TSA officials simply opted to move the screeners viewing the naked body images to a remote location away from the actual screening area. With that came stories of TSA agents working together to single out passengers who they deemed attractive for “random” naked scans.

According to reports, more than 500 complaints were logged against TSA agents by women who felt they were singled out for “additional screening” by the naked-body machines.

The TSA later moved to give passengers the option to opt out of the naked-body scan, whether for reasons of modesty or because of worries over the high amounts of radiation emitted from the machines. But the alternative, an aggressive pat-down which has been reported to have an unusually thorough focus on genitals in some cases, has not been a favorite of Americans concerned with privacy and personal dignity.

The TSA currently operates 174 backscatter machines in 30 airports, and it has another 76 units in storage. The agency says that while it will discontinue use of the machines by summer, they could be put back to use pending software upgrades. For the time being, however, TSA says it is working on outfitting American airports with millimeter wave machines that use radio waves — reducing radiation concerns — and provide only a generic sick figure image of the human outline (hopefully making it much harder for any potential TSA perverts to get their rocks off).

“By June 2013 travelers will only see machines which have ATR that allow for faster throughput. This means faster lanes for the traveler and enhanced security,” the TSA said in a statement.

The action is a result of a suit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and a coalition of privacy advocates against the Department of Homeland Security.

“It is big news,” Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told CNN. “It removes the concern that people are being viewed naked by the TSA screener.”

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Dwight Mann

    We need to do profiling, that is the thing that works. Muslims are the #1 target. They are the ones that commit the crimes. Not that I blame them, we have our military in their countries reeking havoc, and they want us gone. I can agree with that. . .

    • http://www.facebook.com/lee.kresge Lee Kresge

      That is how the most hated country on the planet (by Muslims, anyway) stays safer than the USA when it comes to protecting their people on planes. Israel does this without feeling up or demeaning passengers on it’s planes and public transit.

      • John

        Israelis do NOT use racial profiling because it is unreliable.

    • ibcamn

      Mann,you do realize there are already 200,000 Muslims living in just Mich. state alone already,don’t you.they don’t need to go through airport security,by looks as you suggest,wont catch the ones here already,they just make phone calls!and other countries hate us because were free to do what we want!they are not(they have been brought up to hate us by their parents and their parents in a police state!)if they had been brought up in a free country then were taken over by their own gov’t,they wouldn’t hate us or at least as much!and THEY brought us to their country,REMEMBER!!!

      • http://gravatar.com/cbgard Carlucci

        The only thing to do to stop the TSA is to stop flying. Hitting the airlines in the pocketbook is the best way to send a message. The TSA needs to be eradicated completely and immediately.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danny.bouza.7 Danny Bouza

    I have to stop here after reading just half of this article. I have to rip you because after just finishing your article about logic and how we now think logic must be true because of the source where it comes from and there is no longer argument behind any facts.Well here’s one. these backscatter scanners do not show nude pictures ( the image is filtered beyond recognition ) and there is NO way that you can invert the negatives back to pictures, the pictures aren’t even saved they are deleted immediately. I wish people would look up SOME REAL hard facts before the decide to say what they believe is true. But thanks to all the pressure the public now has a faster way of getting though security with the new radio wave machine. But one draw back,these TSA agents can no longer see the items under the clothing. So are we at greater risk for the sake of getting though the checkpoint or not … nuff said.

    • http://www.boblivingstonletter.com/ Bob Livingston

      Dear Danny Bouza,

      You write: “Well here’s one. these backscatter scanners do not show nude pictures ( the image is filtered beyond recognition ) and there is NO way that you can invert the negatives back to pictures, the pictures aren’t even saved they are deleted immediately. I wish people would look up SOME REAL hard facts before the decide to say what they believe is true.” That is a lie, as proven in the links included in the article. As a TSA goon, you know this.

      You write: “But one draw back,these TSA agents can no longer see the items under the clothing. So are we at greater risk for the sake of getting though the checkpoint or not … nuff said.” Please tell me, Mr. TSA goon, how many terrorists have been stopped by a TSA naked body scanner. Please do not include incontinent elderly grandmothers and diaper-clad infants and wheelchair bound youngsters.

      Best wishes,
      Bob

      P.S. In the future it would be wise to not log in to discussion forums with your facebook account which states your place of employment.

  • Jack

    No, read the report more carefully. The scanners are simply being replaced by other scanners which draw a cartoon-ish outline of the person. The data is still being recorded and possibly stored. And I have no doubt it is viewable with the right password or software configuration.

    This is classic ‘deflection’ strategy. TSA has only moved the strawman.

    But if you want something to worry about, consider that every time the contents of your pockets are scanned, the TSA is taking an image of your house/car/office/safe keys. Easily reconstructed.

  • Christian

    The TSA along with the DHS should have dissolved by the close of the Patriot Act. But, as Obama renewed we see that clearly the aim of the ‘patriot’ act was to allow the government the ability to monitor it’s own people in a manner so ‘gestapo’-ish that it disgusts me. The American people must open their eyes and realize the federal government is the enemy and is controlled by foreign interests through PACs, commissions, coalitions and other organizations.

  • JustAnotherJoe

    What amazes me, is how Americans are willing to be felt-up and sexually assaulted for the privilege of flying, and for this long. Apparently, for all the whining and complaining, Americans, deep down, do not mind it too much, as people still fly, and the TSA is still in business.

    • http://midcontent ridge runner

      I wonder who gave the pass to the pervert worshipping, rug scrubbing camel stinking muslim a free pass on scanning and grab azzing. It must be the socialist/communist dems and the muslim marxist, that never meet aterrist who murders Christianns, Obozo didn’t like.

  • John

    I bet all the subway gropers have left the subways and joined TSA! One more bet: I bet public groping rates are going down. Anybody know how to check lol!!!!!!

    • http://midcontent ridge runner

      Check for voter ID, Which socialist communists hate.

  • John

    Has TSA ever prevented a terrorist from boarding an aircraft? I think passengers on planes have done more to prevent terrorist attacks than TSA.

  • John

    “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

    I bet many people would find Franklin’s statement “un-American” or maybe even treason. They are the same idiots who support TSA-style programs in order to “protect” America.

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