Start saying good-bye to backscatter scanners

by Wendy Thomson on October 20, 2012

As Bill Fisher reported here at TSA News on September 3rd, the TSA has started removing the backscatter (x-ray) scanners from major airports. Now we find out that it’s fobbing them off onto smaller airports.

Pro Publica reports that the TSA is “quietly removing” backscatter machines from high-volume airports.

Of course, I’m sure the reason has nothing to do with the potential health risks (not). Of course I believe the MMW (millimeter wave) machines that are replacing the backscatters are faster, as the TSA claims (not). Of course I believe this has nothing to do with the backscatters’ lack of Gumby-like software, which supposedly doesn’t reveal nude images seen by some person of indeterminate gender in a back room (not). And of course I believe this has nothing to do with throwing yet more money at the “security” industry (not).

So the backscatter machines are being relegated to small airports. Oh, joy. I’ve been in small airports where I am the only traveler within sight, with one solitary TSA screener manning the metal detector. I’m sensing a TSA employment opportunity, folks, since scanners need many more people to operate.

Why does the TSA’s latest action not surprise me?

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