TSA terminates its contract with Rapiscan, maker of pornoscanners

The TSA has given the boot to Rapiscan, maker of about half of the pornoscanners in use in America's airports:

TSA gave Rapiscan until June 2013 to come up with a software upgrade to prevent the scanner from projecting the naked image. TSA officials said Rapiscan won't be able to meet that deadline.

"TSA has strict requirements that all vendors must meet for security effectiveness and efficiency since the use of this technology is critical to TSA’s efforts to keep the traveling public safe," the TSA said in a statement.

Yes, they seriously named their pornoscanner company "Rapiscan." Seriously.

TSA ends contract with Rapiscan, maker of full-body scanner [Hugo Martin/LA Times] (via /.)


  1. I do have trouble remembering to pronounce that name with a short A sound in front, it’s true.

    1. I don’t know how it ever got transformed into “pornoscanner.”  I mean, “rapescanner” has been right there in front of us all these years.

      1.  No evidence of the machine in fact raping anyone or the photos being used in a rape case? Porn however makese sense, naked pictures of people.

          1. Depends on where you live, actually. In some places, groping and rape are classed as different levels of severity of the same crime.

            Which they are, really.

  2. “TSA has strict requirements that all vendors must meet for security effectiveness and efficiency since the use of this technology is critical to TSA’s efforts to keep the traveling public safe,”

    Wow! Now the TSA is deploying sentences that have the ability to give me a headache.

  3. Don’t panic! I’m sure Michael Chertoff will find other ways to milk the taxpayer for unnecessary products/services as long as the fear levels are…. Oh, wait a second…. Panic!!! Muslim brown people are coming for your white wimmenz!!!

  4. Unfortunately, the existing scanners are being redeployed to other government buildings and agencies. So now you never know where you’ll be subject to them. Meanwhile, Rapiscan still gets their money.

      1.  There’s a flash drive socket on the console.  Technically it is “disabled” but it’s a software switch that admin types can change.

  5. Can we get the billions of dollars back we spent for them? So much for starving people, or home foreclosures, when we just spend a few billion for some giant paper weights. Someone needs to be imprisoned or at least fired and fined for this debacle.

  6. Replacing 250 X-ray scanners with 669-730 Terahertz scanners isn’t a big improvement in civil liberties (though most of the new THz scanners have the software feature that only shows the operators cartoon stick figures of your naked body, color-enhanced for any “suspicious-looking” things like that rumpled Kleenex or Starbucks receipt in your pocket.)

    And at least these are less likely to cause skin cancer (not that the THz scanner folks necessarily have a well-defined methodology for proving that microwaving your butt is safe, but at least they don’t seem to be deliberately misrepresenting badly designed tests the way the X-ray products did.)  And you can still ask the TSA operators why they’re not allowed to wear dosimeters that might detect a risk of cancer.

  7. Okay, boys, the fellows in Marketing have stayed in all weekend, and they’ve come up with three strong candidates for branding our new airport security scanner. Let me just bring this up onscreen . . .

    1) Invaso.

    2) Violatron.

    3) Rapiscan.

    I’m getting a lot of vigor from option 3. Does anyone else have any strong feelings about any of these?

    1. “Hu hu, lets call it the RapeyScanner, cause it strips you naked and rapes you with x-rays!”, said Fred the Engineer with all of the social grace of a child savage raised on and island by wolves.  Jeff the engineer lol’d.

      Six months later…

      On one side of the table sat marketing and sales, on the other side sat the engineering manager and a couple of engineers.

      “It sounds like you guys are ready with this thing, what is it called?” asked one of the marketing minions.  “We usually need to tweak the name to better execute on our dynamic sales growth projections, but we love engineer input.  Dynamic input creates internal dynamic synergies.”

      With enthusiastic glee Fred the engineer responds “RapeyScanner!  Get it!  Because it ra…”, and at that moment Tom, the engineering manager dove into the conversation cutting off the Fred, “because it is so fast!  It is rapid! Rapid!  RapiScanner!”  

      The table goes dead silent as stunned looks pass between marketing and sales minions.  Tom’s heart sinks.  There was no way they were going to buy that lie, and by the offended look on Fred’s face, it looked like Fred was about to try and re-explain the joke just in case they were too dense to get it the first time.  With mounting horror, Tom sees Fred open his mouth to indignantly explain that the product strips people naked and rapes them with x-rays, but before Fred can speak, a red faced marketer slams both fists down on the table and declares, “Brilliant!  RapiScanner!”  A chores of assent fills the marketing and sales side of the table.  The engineers seem confused, but Tom ushers them out before the confusion wears off.

  8. I was a little taken aback when I saw that the head of Rapiscan is named Deepak Chopra.  But then I realized that I of all people should be sensitive to folks having famous names.

  9.  To be fair, the Rapiscan name dates back at least to 1993, when the company was only making metal detectors and x-ray baggage scanners. No-one was thinking “we’ve invented a full body scanner – let’s call it Rape-scan!”

  10. Scantron Bonne and MyShakeypeople never took off as properties, so the Lerindijk Group had to pick other 30-year-old inscrutable names to get into the right trust circles. Will the private sector catering to people who want validation as clandestine, hot, militarized, unstoppable or clothed in the holy green fire of Buddy Jesus be able to make good of these things? Hey, I think I found the false bottom of my interest in such things! (I can tell by the pixels it’s been sitting on a wood chair with a towel on it…)

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