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Body Scanners

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NATIONAL
July 16, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
A U.S. appeals court rejected a constitutional challenge to the government's use of body-imaging scanners at the nation's airports, ruling that the need to detect hidden explosives outweighs the privacy rights of travelers. The 3-0 decision announced Friday noted that passengers may avoid the scans by opting to undergo a pat-down by a screening agent. But since the body scanners became standard last year, more than 98% of air travelers have chosen to step into a machine, raise their arms and pose for "advanced imaging," the Transportation Security Administration said.
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BUSINESS
April 21, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Airline passengers have been walking through full-body scanners for nearly five years, but only now are fliers getting a chance to officially tell the federal government what they think about the screening machines. In response to a lawsuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit ruled that the Transportation Security Administration could continue to use the scanners as a primary method of screening passengers. But the court ordered the TSA to give the public a 90-day comment period, which the agency did not do when it launched the scanning program.
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NATIONAL
November 17, 2010 | By Brian Bennett and Jordan Steffen, Tribune Washington Bureau
The head of the Transportation Security Administration refused to back down from using aggressive pat-downs and full-body scans at airports, telling a Senate committee on Wednesday that the screenings were necessary to protect the nation's fliers. TSA Director John Pistole said the pat-downs, which include searches of passengers' genital areas, and scanners that reveal nude images of their bodies would have found the explosives on an alleged would-be airline bomber last Christmas Day. Umar Abdulmutallab is accused of boarding a flight bound for Detroit with explosives in his underwear that went undetected by metal detectors.
BUSINESS
January 18, 2013 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
The Transportation Security Administration is removing controversial full-body scanners made by a Torrance manufacturer, winning praise from privacy advocates and passenger-rights groups that raised questions about the health effects of the devices. Rapiscan, a unit of OSI Systems Inc., manufactured about 200 full-body scanners used by the TSA to screen passengers for hidden weapons at airports across the country. The machines generated a storm of protest because the devices use low levels of radiation to create what resembles a nude image of screened passengers.
OPINION
November 20, 2010 | By Patrick Smith
The deployment of body scanners at U.S. airports is rightly controversial. The devices raise very important privacy issues, and possibly health issues as well, both of which The Times' Nov. 17 editorial "Shut up and be scanned" says are outweighed by security concerns. One downside to this debate, however, is that it distracts us somewhat from asking important questions about the Transportation Security Administration's approach to security overall. The scanners are part and parcel of what has become an unsustainable security strategy; that is, treating each and every passenger, whether an infant child or a uniformed crew member, as a potential terrorist, while attempting to inspect their bodies and belongings for each and every possible weapon.
NEWS
October 19, 2011 | By Jason La
The Transportation Security Administration plans to install full-body scanners to screen passengers at John Wayne Airport in the coming months, federal officials confirmed Tuesday. Scanners are planned for security checkpoints at all three terminals, including the new Terminal C set to open in November. Travelers randomly selected to undergo the body scans can opt to walk through the traditional metal detectors and receive a manual pat-down instead, according to the Daily Pilot. A recent public backlash about the machines' graphic depictions prompted the TSA to alter the images the scanners produce.
NEWS
November 18, 2010 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times
Full-body scanners at airport checkpoints are creating almost as much angst as the potential security threats they’re supposed to thwart. The Transportation Safety Administration insists the machines emit a low level of radiation and are safe, even for pregnant women and children. Here’s a South Florida Sun Sentinel column in which doctors say they're concerned over the machines and certain cancer risks. How much radiation do these machines emit? The American College of Radiology estimates that 1,000 scans a year equal one chest X-Ray.
BUSINESS
July 21, 2010 | By Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times
Federal and city officials Tuesday unveiled the addition of two full-body scanners at Los Angeles International Airport as part of a plan to install the high-tech screeners at every terminal there over the next few months. Two units — each about the size of a refrigerator — have already been in use at the airport's Tom Bradley International Terminal. The new units unveiled Tuesday are in Terminal 6 serving United, Continental, JetBlue and other carriers. Officials from the city of Los Angeles and the Transportation Security Administration vowed to press for scanners at each of the nine terminals.
NATIONAL
June 12, 2010 | By Ken Dilanian, Tribune Washington Bureau
As the government begins deploying whole-body imaging machines to replace metal detectors at airports nationwide, some security experts worry that the new technology could make it easier, not harder, to sneak weapons and explosives onto airplanes. In the wake of the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing, the Transportation Security Administration decided to double its investment in the new machines, with a goal of installing 450 across the country by the end of the year and 1,800 by 2014.
BUSINESS
January 17, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
The Transportation Security Administration has ended a contract with the Hawthorne-based manufacturer of a controversial full-body scanner used to screen passengers. Rapiscan, a unit of OSI Systems Inc., manufactured about half of the full-body scanners used by the TSA to screen passengers for hidden weapons at airports across the country. But TSA officials said the agency has canceled its contract with the company because it had failed to deliver software to protect the privacy of passengers.
BUSINESS
October 22, 2012 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
At LAX and other major airports, the Transportation Security Administration is replacing full-body scanners that have been criticized for creating potential health risks and privacy violations with a type of scanner that has not been condemned as harshly. The TSA said Monday that the move is intended to relocate faster scanners to busier airports. The TSA operates more than 700 body scanners at about 180 airports across the country. The machines were introduced at the nation's airports after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up a U.S. airliner near Detroit with explosives hidden in his underwear on Christmas Day 2009.
BUSINESS
June 10, 2012 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
Full-body scanners used for security screening at the nation's airports do not expose passengers to dangerous levels of radiation, according to a new independent analysis of the devices. The study by the Marquette University College of Engineering concluded that radiation from so-called backscatter scanners passes beyond a passenger's skin to reach 29 organs - including the heart and brain. But the radiation levels are considerably lower than those of otherX-ray procedures such as mammograms, the study said.
BUSINESS
May 27, 2012 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
The federal government says it has plans to use advanced technology to dramatically reduce the number of pat-down searches performed at the nation's airports. The Department of Homeland Security recently put out a request for technology companies to come up with a hand-held scanning device that can be used instead of pat-down searches on passengers who set off alarms on full-body scanners. The department oversees the Transportation Security Administration, which operates about 700 full-body scanners at 180 airports across the country.
NEWS
November 17, 2011 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
X-ray body scanners used by the Transportation Security Administration at airports around the country are back in the news. The European Union on Monday banned the machines, also known as backscatters, at European airports over concerns that they might be linked to cancer. The investigative news organization Pro Publica reported earlier this month that research shows radiation emitted by the machines could lead to a small number of cancer cases , findings it says the TSA "glossed over" in assessing the safety of the machines.
BUSINESS
October 24, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
Just as the U.S. hotel industry begins to recover from the recession, industry leaders say they are being sabotaged by the Obama administration. The charge centers on a new rule proposed by Obama's Office of Government Ethics that would prohibit most federal employees from accepting free admission to conferences and other gatherings held by businesses or organizations that lobby the government. The American Hotel & Lodging Assn., the trade group that represents the nation's hotels, blasted the proposed rule, saying it is unneeded and would prevent federal employees from mingling with people to learn about trends and problems in the country.
NATIONAL
July 16, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
A U.S. appeals court rejected a constitutional challenge to the government's use of body-imaging scanners at the nation's airports, ruling that the need to detect hidden explosives outweighs the privacy rights of travelers. The 3-0 decision announced Friday noted that passengers may avoid the scans by opting to undergo a pat-down by a screening agent. But since the body scanners became standard last year, more than 98% of air travelers have chosen to step into a machine, raise their arms and pose for "advanced imaging," the Transportation Security Administration said.
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