The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently announced they will be removing body image scanners from airport security due to privacy concerns. The devices developed by OSI Systems Inc. (OSIS) raised alarm from privacy advocates because they render nearly nude images of individuals when scanned. Since OSIS was unable to meet the congressional deadline to modify their software to produce generic, non-nude body images, the TSA has terminated their $5 million dollar contract with the company. 76 body image scanners have already been removed, with 174 remaining.
The TSA's abandonment of the nude image scanners is considered to be a distinct victory for transgender and other gender-variant persons, as their gender presentation may not match their physical genitalia. This can raise a red flag during security checks and lead to unnecessary (and potentially dehumanizing) physical pat-downs.
Everyone (including transgender persons) have a legal right to opt-out of going through body image scanning, but opting out automatically requires a physical pat-down. Modifications are being made to the TSA's PreCheck program, so that individuals can disclose more personal information (such as transgender identity and presentation) prior to arriving at the airport. Completing the PreCheck program enables individuals to pass through metal detectors at security check points, foregoing body scanners altogether.