TSA to remove controversial full-body scanners

The Transportation Security Administration confirmed Friday that it will pull the plug on “nude” airport scanners that produce a full body image of the traveler, replacing a technology that has sparked national controversy over privacy and safety.

The TSA told NBC News that it had decided to remove all “backscatter” imaging machines — a total of 174 scanners still in use in 30 airports — by June 1.

The TSA plans to deploy additional “millimeter wave body scanners,” which use a generic stick figure as an image, to some of the affected airports while others will just have walk-through metal detectors.

The government began rolling out the backscatter technology in airports after the failed underwear bombing on Christmas Day 2009. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had concealed plastic explosives in his underwear on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. He was restrained by other passengers who were also able to put out a fire started in his attempt to detonate the explosives.

Source: Jay Blackman and Kari Huus for NBC News