Naked Body Scanners Being Moved Out of Major Airports

Concerns Remain Over Pat-Downs and Training

Airport Security

Photo: Adam Fagan

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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3 Responses to Naked Body Scanners Being Moved Out of Major Airports

  1. Matt says:

    How about just get rid of the scanner machines in the first place. This is merely security theater to make American’s feel safer about flying, with real no additional benefit to security.

  2. Anon says:

    Last time I went through one of those millimeter-wave things I was flagged for having an “anomaly” in the groin region, and ended up having to go for a patdown.

    They ought to be able to make them gender-neutral.

  3. maddox says:

    Ironically they still need to choose “blue or pink” buttons when they scan you, which leads to a lot of confusion in my case, and probably still unsafe for many trans people.

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