The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been quietly replacing the old X-ray body scanner machines with new ones that radiation experts believe to be safer, according to NBC News.
The old X-ray machines will be transfered to minor airports instead.
An NBC report says that TSA made the decision in order to speed up the check-in process at major airports and that they have already removed the machines from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, Boston Logan International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Chicago O’Hare Airport and Orlando Airport.
Since the TSA started introducing the scanners in 2009, after the underwear bombing, they have been under severe criticism from libertarians and conservatives who feel the invasive body scanners are a violation of American freedom and the right to privacy.
The employees who review the body scans see a blurred out image of each passenger’s naked body before they are allowed to pass through to board their plane.
Other critics have expressed concern that the small doses of ionizing radiation emitted by the scanners can lead to cancer.
The Cato Institute has repeatedly released data that shows the TSA security policies are illegal and have called for President Barack Obama to use his power of executive authority to put a stop to their questionable practices.
“The next time you are in the airport. The next time the TSA asks you to hold your hands above your head. Little bit higher. Hey hun, just a little bit higher. And they ask you to be in this vulnerable pose for seven seconds. Ask yourself, is this the pose of a free man?,” asked Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at a Heritage Foundation event in August.
Despite these criticisms, TSA maintains that the the potential for radiation poisoning and privacy concerns have no bearing on their decision to remove the body scanners from major airports.
Nevertheless, their new machines, called millimeter wave scanners, use radio waves, instead of radiation, and display a cartoon image of the passenger’s body. These new features clearly reflect an answer to the protests of millions across the country.
The old machines will continue to be used in minor airports, according to TSA officials cited in NBC’s report.
Currently, the United States remains the only country that continues to use the body scanners. They have already been disallowed in the European Union and the United Kingdom because of concerns for the health and safety of passengers.