WASHINGTON – The full-body scanners that caused an uproar for taking semi-scandalous snapshots of fliers at security checkpoints have been removed from America's airports.
The move comes after a congressional mandate and several complaints lodged by privacy-rights activists who likened the scanners to a virtual strip search.
Instead, airports will now use scanners that only show generic images of bodies, according to a letter released Thursday from TSA officials to members of the House Homeland Security Committee.
"As of May 16, 2013, all AIT units deployed by TSA are equipped with (the body-masking) capability. Additionally, TSA's procurement of next generation AIT requires" the same body-obscuring capability, TSA Administrator John Pistole wrote in the letter, according to The Hill.
The scanners were first rolled out in 2007 and most had been pulled by May 16.
The TSA told a congressional committee last year that the agency had spent $40 million on the Rapiscan machines and another $100 million on the less invasive model.
The government had bought about 800 machines which were in use at 200 U.S. airports.