Rapiscan accused of faking privacy tests for airport scanners


An influential member of Congress has suggested that Rapiscan, the company behind some of the full-body scanners used at American airports, faked tests of its machines' ability to protect passenger privacy. In a letter quoted by Bloomberg, Rep Mike Rogers (R-AL) charged that Rapiscan "may have attempted to defraud the government by knowingly manipulating an operational test."

The TSA uses two different types of full-body scanners in the nation's airports: backscatter machines and millimeter-wave machines. The former are manufactured by Rapiscan, and the TSA has spent $40 million on those machines to date.

Rogers chairs the House Transportation Security Subcommittee, and he held hearings Thursday to scrutinize the use of the machines. Bloomberg says Rapiscan "has been trying, without success, to write software that would display a generic image" when a passenger is scanned by its machines. The TSA has been forced to put 91 of the machines, worth $14 million, in storage until Rapiscan gets its privacy software working properly.