Last month, the TSA began the task of removing the dangerous backscatter machines from airports. They never worked 100% and numerous health issues surrounded them. Now, however, instead of leaving them to sit and rot in a warehouse, never to be used again, the TSA is actively shopping the machines. They could end up in federal buildings across the nation where tourists and employees would be subjected to them.
“We are working with other government agencies to find homes for them,” Transportation Security Administration spokesman David Castelveter said. “There is an interest clearly by DoD and the State Department to use them — and other agencies as well.”
Members of Congress and privacy advocates raised objections to the almost-nude images of travelers produced by the backscatter machines. Congress passed legislation in February 2012 that required TSA to upgrade the machines’ software to display less-detailed images of passengers or to stop using the machines.
The backscatter machines also have sparked fears about radiation exposure since they were first installed.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, however, has stated that, if the backscatter machines cannot meet the requirements set forth by the government, then they should not be used at all. The machines were removed largely because Rapiscan, the computer that created the machines, could not alter its code so that nude pictures of individuals did not appear on their screens.
“The American public must be assured that these machines will not be used in any other public federal facility,” Thompson said.
A further question yet to be answered would be if individuals would be allowed to opt out of the machines in federal buildings and, if not, what if they have required business there? What would happen then?