The U.S. Transport Security Administration announced that it is removing from airport checkpoints the full-body scanners that produce images of passengers that are too revealing.
The agency said the manufacturer of the machines, Rapiscan Systems, is unable to update the software that produces the image that TSA agents check at airports, and which amounts to a virtual strip search.
"It became clear to TSA they would be unable to meet our timeline" for updating the software, and "as a result of that, we terminated the contract for the convenience of the government," Karen Shelton Waters, the agency's assistant administrator for acquisitions, told Bloomberg News.
Passengers and activists defending the right to privacy have been complaining since the scanners first went into service in 2007 that the images they produced showed passengers "practically naked," which they considered offensive.
Last year, 76 of those scanners were eliminated from airports and the 174 machines still in use will be gradually removed, NPR public radio said.
This does not mean that body scanners will disappear entirely - the Rapiscan model will be substituted by others made by the L-3 Communications Holdings company that are not only more modern but less invasive and comply with TSA regulations.
These machines use millimeter-wave technology, a radio frequency able to distinguish metallic from non-metallic objects, instead of the X-rays employed by Rapiscan. EFE