Those "backscatter" model whole-body imagers used at airport checkpoints have been banned at airports in Europe by the European Union. Here's a report in ProPublica.
However, airports in Europe will be allowed to use the other type of body-imager, the so-called millimeter wave machine that accomplishes the same purpose, but by using radio waves rather than radiation-emitting X-rays.
In the U.S., the TSA has been using a combination of backscatters and millimeter wave machines, roughly an equal number each of the approximately 500 machines currently in use at 78 airports.
Serious concerns have been identified, most recently by this piece in ProPublica, about the safety of the backscatter machines, which are made by a company called Rapiscan. One of the leading proponents of those machines was Michael Chertoff. When he was Secretary of Homeland Security during the Bush administration, Chertoff was a cheerleader for the use of the machines. Later, as a Washington lobbyist, Chertoff's firm did consulting work for Rapiscan.
The millimeter-wave machines are made by company called L-3 Communications.
As I reported here a few days ago, it looks like the TSA is quietly making a shift toward the millimeter-wave machines as it purchases new body-imagers as part of the plan to eventually have the machines replacing magnetometers at all of the 2,000 airport checkpoints. In September, for example, the TSA awarded L-3 a $44.8 million contract for 300 additional millimeter wave machines. Rapiscan, the X-ray machine producer and Chertoff client, hasn't announced any new contracts from the TSA.
Over a year ago, by the way, the TSA invented a new name for these machines, which see through clothing and produce an image of any foreign object on the human body. It originally had referred to them as "whole-body imagers," but as the criticism mounted about the privacy threats of the machines, as opposed to just the health threats from radiation from the backscatter models, the TSA began calling the whole-body imagers "advanced imaging technology" machines. AIT, for short.
You know, so you don't think "body."