CHICAGO – The federal government is quietly removing full-body X-ray scanners from seven major airports and replacing them with a different type of machine that produces a cartoon-like outline instead of the naked images that have been compared to a virtual strip search.
The Transportation Security Administration says it is making the switch to speed up lines at crowded airports, not to ease passenger privacy concerns. But civil liberties groups hope the change signals that the equipment will eventually go to the scrap heap.
The machines are being pulled out of New York's LaGuardia and Kennedy airports, Chicago's O'Hare, Los Angeles International and Boston Logan, as well as airports in Charlotte, N.C., and Orlando, Fla.
The scanners are being moved to smaller airports.