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House Votes to Limit Whole-Body Imaging at Airports

06/08/2009 -The House of Representatives on Thursday said no to the Transportation Security Administration's efforts to introduce whole-body imaging machines as the primary screening technology at the nation's airports.

In a vote of 310 to 118,the House voted in favor of an amendmentfromRep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) that limits the use of whole-body imaging technology to secondary screening, meaning a passenger would have to set off a metal detector first and then opt for the whole-body screening over a pat-down search.

The amendment also mandates passengers be told how the screening technology works as well as its privacy implications before entering it and also prohibits the image from being "stored, transferred, shared, or copied in any form after the boarding determination with respect to such passenger is made."

Like criticssuch as the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Chaffetz believes the technology is too intrusive, as well as too expensive.

“Whole-body imaging is exactly what it says; it allows TSA employees to conduct the equivalent of a strip search," he said. "Nobody needs to see my wife and kids naked to secure an airplane. At $170,000 apiece, we can hardly afford the machines."

Chaffetz's bill was an amendment to the TSA reauthorization bill,which was also passed last Thursday.

Photo by jurvetson/Flickr