The US Transportation Security Administration has announced that it will remove the controversial "naked image" body scanners from US airports because developers can't write software to make the images less revealing.
The scanners, made by OSI Systems, have ruffled feathers since they were first rolled out. In a bid to quell controversy, the TSA looked to OSI to redesign software and make the scans less intrusive — but the company has failed to meet a congressional deadline to get the job done.
That means that the TSA will end the $US5 million contract with OSI, reports Bloomberg. As a result, 174 of its Rapiscan units will disappear from US airports. Karen Shelton, from the TSA, explains:
"It became clear to TSA they would be unable to meet our timeline. As a result of that, we terminated the contract for the convenience of the government."
However, the scanners aren't on the way to the junk yard just yet. OSI has struck a deal with the TSA which will see the machines being used by multiple government agencies across the country. That does, at least, mean that it will be federal employees who have their genitals imaged, as opposed to the public.
The news will no doubt be embraced by the legion of protesters, outraged by the privacy implications of the naked body scanners. But save a thought for the poor TSA employees: how are they going to get their kicks now? [Bloomberg]