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TSA switching to faster, less-invasive X-ray body scanners in larger airports

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airport security flickr
airport security flickr

The TSA has started removing the controversial X-ray body scanners, known as backscatters, from larger airports in the United States in exchange for faster millimeter-wave scanners. While there have been concerns surrounding backscatters with regards to privacy, potential health risks, and overall effectiveness, ProPublica claims the switch is being made in order to improve speeds at security checkpoints. Regardless, the new scanners do produce less powerful radio waves that are comparable to those used in cell phones and display passengers as generic cartoon images.

Older backscatter machines will not be completely phased out and will remain in smaller airports where checkpoint time delays are less prevalent. The millimeter-wave scanners can already be found in major airports like the Boston Logan International Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, with additional locations expected to swap out their older machines "over a period of time."