TSA to Ask Public About Naked-Image Scanners, Pat-Downs

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration, under court order, will start a rulemaking process on its airport screening machines and full-body pat- downs, including collecting and analyzing public comments.

The proposed regulation will be posted on a Federal Register website later today, said David Castelveter, an agency spokesman. The TSA isn’t proposing any change to its screening procedures, he said.

The move comes almost three years after the TSA awarded a $47.9 million contract to L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL) and OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS)’s Rapiscan unit to develop full-body scanners, known as advanced-imaging technology.

A U.S. appeals court in 2011 ordered the rulemaking as the result of a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil liberties group. The group unsuccessfully sought to suspend the body-scanner program as a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The use of scanning machines has changed since they were first rolled out in 2008. The TSA has used software privacy filters to generate a generic stick figures rather than almost- nude images on screens at the checkpoint.

In January, the agency terminated a $5 million contract with Rapiscan and said it would remove those machines from airports after the company said it couldn’t finish writing the privacy software by a congressionally imposed deadline.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Plungis in Washington at jplungis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

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