TSA Dumps Rapiscan Naked Airport Scanners After Failure To Make Them 'Less Revealing'

from the say-wha...? dept

Lots of folks have noted the ridiculousness of the “Rapiscan” name used by OSI Systems for its x-ray airport security naked scanner — one of the two popular “new” style scanners used at airports. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that I’ve been seeing fewer and fewer of the Rapiscan machines, and airports that used to have them have been replacing them with the L3 “millimeter-wave” scanners, which have all been outfitted with upgrades so that there’s no more “naked” in the naked scanning (and so that operators no longer have to wait for the TSA agent hidden in a dark room with your naked images to give them the “all clear.”) Now it turns out that the TSA has ended its contract with OSI and all of the remaining Rapiscan machines will be removed from airports. The main reason is that — despite having been requested to quite some time ago, OSI failed to make a version of their naked scanner without the nakedness. While L3 was able to do that pretty quickly, apparently it was way too difficult to take the “naked” out of the Rapiscan.

The TSA insists that the decision to dump the Rapiscan has nothing to do with the recent reports and ongoing investigation into the claims that OSI manipulated tests of the Rapiscan machine to pretend that it didn’t violate travelers’ privacy as much as it did. However, I’m sure that didn’t help OSI.

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Comments on “TSA Dumps Rapiscan Naked Airport Scanners After Failure To Make Them 'Less Revealing'”

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Prashanth (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I have this issue too, so it’s not just you (and it’s ironically appropriate).

Anyway, I’m confused: the TSA is dumping the scanners because the manufacturer couldn’t make them less obviously like a naked scanner, and yet the TSA is also saying that this has nothing to do with the manufacturer’s misleading information about how the scanners will affect travelers’ privacy? How does that work?

Anonymous Coward says:

Opt out anyway

I always opt out of these stupid machines – and I fly several times a month.

Frankly, I’d rather have some guy smear his gloved hands all over my body – at least then it’s a personal encounter, rather than herding cattle through the machine. I feel the requirement that they personally interact with my physically goes further to demonstrate just how ridiculous the entire process has become.

On several occasions, I’ve had people ask me: “What did you do to receive that treatment?” and I have to explain to people that it is my choice to opt-out of the body scan process, and I always exercise that choice.

akp (profile) says:

Re: Opt out anyway

My husband and I are “opt-outs” also. Every time we fly, TSA agents try to talk us out of it, touting that the machines are safe, pat-down will take longer, etc.

My husband likes to tell them he understands all that and is still choosing to opt-out, but that he also understands that by making us wait to be patted down, we’ve been “separated from our belongings” (as they’ve gone through the xray, and are out of sight while we wait), which is a violation of policy.

Usually, that gets us a near-immediate screening.

Even if the machines are safe and respect our privacy, opt-out is our little protest of the theater. We’re slowing everything down for the TSA, making them waste time “clearing” my tight ankle socks. Viva la resistance!

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Opt out anyway

Any time the TSA agents say the X-ray machines are safe, point out that if they were so safe, why aren’t they allowed to wear dosimetry badges like dentists do when taking X-rays of our teeth?

Also ask them the last date of calibration, while pointing out that dental x-rays are calibrated every 1 to 2 years.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Opt out anyway

Yep, I get the same treatment: “Sir, you understand the machines are completely safe, not xrays, and that by opting out you will be getting a full patdown which is somewhat invasive…”

I love when they use that last bit, as if they’re threatening me with an “invasive patdown” if I don’t do it the easy way.

I always assure them that I understand, and still opt out. I’ve never suggested anything about my luggage being out of sight (especially since I can usually see it on the conveyor a short distance away)… they usually get the “male assist” over as quickly as possible anyway, so it hasn’t been much concern.

On at least one occasion, I accompanied the TSA agent to where my luggage was and notified him that one of my bags was missing… he seemed flustered, and asked the guy running the machine, who paid him no attention. He pointed me to the patdown area and told me he would be right back… and came back with my bag. Apparently it had been pulled for inspection. I told him that I wanted to make sure my bag contents were intact, and he made me go through the patdown first. I could have taken this scenario to the TSA desk and raised hell, as it was a hole in their protocol that prevented me from being in the presence of my bags at all times. Ultimately, I was in a hurry, so I brushed it off. Now I wish I hadn’t.

akp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Opt out anyway

I could have taken this scenario to the TSA desk and raised hell, as it was a hole in their protocol that prevented me from being in the presence of my bags at all times. Ultimately, I was in a hurry, so I brushed it off.

That’s what they count on… Us being late for our flights, etc and won’t hang around to stand up for ourselves. That’s why I allot at least an extra hour at some airports for “TSA Shenanigans”

John Doe says:

Re: Opt out anyway

I always opt out as well. Most of the time they have been nice about it but one guy was irked. He asked why I didn’t want to get scanned and I told him because I didn’t have to.

I did get separated from my luggage once as well and told the guy I wanted my luggage brought over before it got stolen. He was actually nice about it and went and got it.

Anonymous Coward says:

The TSA is an un-needed bloated branch of the government that is not needed. Time and again it has been shown to be nothing short of theater security where a dog and pony show has been put on for the public’s benefit without there actually being a real life benefit, other than showing that bureaucratic representatives showing how well they can follow the ‘papers please’ mentality.

Saying that they’ve been successful and measuring that by how many cigarette lighters and baby bottles confiscated does not equate with capturing real life terrorists in which their record for the trillion in taxpayer money they’ve spent rests at zero.

Just as well say the military has been successful in preventing roosters from being turned into missiles because we haven’t turned up any rooster missiles yet.

Bill Fisher (profile) says:

TSA Leads Corruption

Maybe TSA finally realized that they are in violation of federal child pornography laws when they send minors through the scanners. The EU realized this early on and banned the scanning of minors. TSA still scans adolescent children and occasionally those under 12.

From 2008 to 2011, TSA insisted these didn’t produce a naked image but later admitted that they did after the L3 system were equipped with ATR. Meanwhile, a group of TSA creeps in a back room are giggling and ogling your wife and kids. TSA is heavy on lies and light on facts when it comes to their mistreatment of travelers.

Even when something positive comes out on this agency they insist on demonstrating their disdain for the public they serve by saying that they don?t care about our privacy concerns and would have continued to violate our privacy if Congress hadn?t made them. This agency and its employees are corrupt and sociopathic and the entire organization needs to be replaced

Let the privacy lawsuits begin starting with OSI and TSA AdminisTraitor John Pistole.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: TSA Leads Corruption

If you think that TSA has disdain for the public, you should try working for them. Management treats us Officers as if WE were the enemy. The public suffers one level of humiliation for the brief time they come under TSA scrutiny; the Officers are berated and degraded continuallly by supervisors and managers who are unqualified for the positions they hold and demonstrate that incompetence on a daily basis. Sadly, the treatment you receive as a traveler is too often the result of the trickle-down effect of the treatment we have received from our Management. The shoddy behavior so often complained about exists because TSA Management wants turmoil, confrontation and chaos, though I can not understand why…..unless it serves as a distraction from their inability to properly provide security. One reason why the whole TSA procedures are viewed as “theater” is that TSA tries to combine two mutually exclusive ideas: security and customer service. Failure to successfully provide either should come as no surprise to anyone other than the TSA management. As for TSA patting itself on the back for having a perfect record against terrorist attacks, well that’s like the Mid-west farmer who everyday before breakfast walked twice backwards around his barn. When a curious neighbor asked him why he did that, he replied “It keeps the elephants away.” When advised that there were no elephants within thousands of miles of Iowa, the farmer responded with a smugness only equaled by TSA: “See how good it works?”

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