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Tue, Jan 22, 2013

TSA Terminates Contract With Rapiscan For Backscatter Devices

Units To Be Removed From Airports Nationwide, But May Show Up In Other Government Venues

TSA reports on its official blog that the backscatter x-ray devices that raised serious concerns about privacy in the airport screening process are being removed from airports around the country at the expense of the company that built them.

Congress mandated as a part of the The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that all TSA body scanners should be equipped with Automated Target Recognition (ATR) by June 1, 2012, a deadline that was extended to June 1, 2013.

TSA's "Blogger Bob" Bob Burns writes that, at this point, all Millimeter wave units have been equipped with ATR, but even with the extension to 2013, Rapiscan was unable to fulfill their end of the contract and create the ATR software that would work with backscatter units. As a result, TSA terminated the contract with Rapiscan in order to comply with the congressional mandate.

All Rapiscan AIT units currently operational at checkpoints around the country, as well as those stored at the TSA Logistics Center, will be removed by Rapiscan at their expense and stored until they can be redeployed to other mission priorities within the government. Most of the backscatter units being removed will be replaced with millimeter wave units. The millimeter units will be moved from the inventory currently deployed at other airports and from an upcoming purchase of additional millimeter wave units.

By June 1, 2013 travelers will only see machines which have ATR that allow for faster throughput. TSA says that means faster lanes for the traveler and enhanced security.

(TSA image of ATR software screening depiction)

FMI: www.tsa.gov

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