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Are airport body scanners coming to your office building?

Posting in Energy

Airport body scanners: they are seen by travelers as an invasion of privacy and a potential health hazard. And travelers in the United States cheered when the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced the body scanners, produced by Rapiscan Systems, would be removed from U.S. airports and replaced by scanners that use low-energy radio waves and produce less revealing images. But if you work for the United States government, you might not have seen the last of the controversial machines.

That's because TSA is now stuck with more than 200 fully-functioning, expensive body scanners ($140,000 each). So TSA will just swallow the loss of $40 million for purchasing a poor product, right? Not so fast. "We are working with other government agencies to find homes for them,” TSA spokesman David Castelveter told Federal Times. “There is an interest clearly by [the Department of Defense] and the State Department to use them — and other [federal] agencies as well.”

It doesn't seem as if TSA thought this through. TSA is removing the scanner from airports because they expose passengers to radiation and take nearly nude images of them. Moving the scanners to office buildings, where the same people would use the scanner each day and therefore be exposed more regularly to radiation than an occasional passenger and coworkers could see your body scan image, doesn't make sense.

It's admirable that the government is making efforts not to waste the machines. But sometimes in government, as in business, it's best to cut your losses.

Photo: Flickr/niiicedave

[Via The Atlantic, Federal Times]

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— By on February 12, 2013, 10:41 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure