The blog of Xeno, a slightly mad scientist
We were assured that the machines don’t even have the ability to record images, but they do. And they did. A privacy group, EPIC, obtained 100 of more than 35,000 “whole body” images recently. So far, the only images recorded are supposedly from one Florida courthouse, and no under aged persons were recorded. Yeah, right. How long before anyone can download airport scanner porn?
As I said previously, ( January 2010, Live nude show with amature performers of all ages introduced at Heathrow and Manchester airports,) I’m concerned about both privacy and cancer from these machines, which is why I no longer fly. If I had the option to walk through nude and avoid the machine, I’d do it.
In an open government lawsuit against the United States Marshals Service, EPIC has obtained more than one hundred images of undressed individuals entering federal courthouses. The images, which are routinely captured by the federal agency, prove that body scanning devices store and record images of individuals stripped naked. The 100 images are a small sample of more than 35,000 at issue in the EPIC lawsuit. EPIC has pursued a but the DHS refuses to release the images it has obtained. EPIC has also filed suit to stop the deployment of the machines in US airports. For more information, see EPIC Body Scanners and EPIC – EPIC v. DOJ (Marshall Service FOIA). – epic.org
… the U.S. Marshals Service just admitted that it had saved “approximately 35,314 images” from a single Orlando, Florida courthouse, according to CNN. Whoops! This follows the TSA’s original claim that the body scanners could not store or transmit images, but the follow-up from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) revealed that images can be stored when the machines are running in “test mode.” And now EPIC has just filed a lawsuit asking for an immediate injunction to halt the TSA body-scanning program. This comes only two weeks after Janet Napolitano announced that the millimeter-wave systems would be coming to nearly every major U.S. airport. – switched
The TSA, it seems, requires all airport body scanners to be able to store images and transmit them – strange for a device that is supposed to do neither for “testing, training, and evaluation purposes.” Don’t worry, though. The TSA says these capabilities aren’t “normally activated when the devices are installed at airports,” reports CNET. Translation: “Trust us. We could do something bad … but we won’t.” So, next time you fly and fear that images of your privates may end up being stored somewhere, consider sticking some “Flying Pasties” to your unmentionables. – gadling
…A mere month after London Heathrow introduced full body scanners, the first harassment case is already being investigated by the authorities. When 29 year old Jo Margetson accidentally walked through the scanner, an airport security guard thought it would be hilarious to mention how he “loved those gigantic tits”. This was of course the situation everyone feared – I’m just surprised it took this long to happen. The security guard has been issued a warning for sexual harassment, which will no doubt be the first of many to be issued to people that have access to the scanner images. Miss Margetson is furious about the incident – ‘I can’t bear to think about the body scanner thing,’ she said. ‘I’m totally traumatised by it.”. She spoke to the police after the incident, and they in turn reported the case to BAA, the airport operator. – gadling
Claims on behalf of authorities that naked body scanner images are immediately destroyed after passengers pass through new x-ray backscatter devices have been proven fraudulent after it was revealed that naked images of Indian film star Shahrukh Khan were printed out and circulated by airport staff at Heathrow in London. “You walk into the machine and everything – the whole outline of your body – comes out,” he said. “I was a little scared. Something happens [inside the scans], and I came out. Then I saw these girls – they had these printouts. I looked at them. I thought they were some forms you had to fill. I said ‘give them to me’ – and you could see everything inside. So I autographed them for them,” stated Khan. The story was carried by Yahoo News under the headline “Shah Rukh signs off sexy body-scan printouts at Heathrow”… UK Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said last week that the images produced by the scanners were deleted “immediately” and airport staff carrying out the procedure are fully trained and supervised. “It is very important to stress that the images which are captured by body scanners are immediately deleted after the passenger has gone through the body scanner,” Adonis told the London Evening Standard. Adonis was forced to address privacy concerns following reports that the images produced by the scanners broke child pornography laws in the UK. When the scanners were first introduced, it was also speculated that images of famous people would be ripe for abuse as the pictures produced by the devices make genitals “eerily visible” according to journalists who have investigated trials of the technology. For the last few years, federal agencies have defended body scanning by insisting that all images will be discarded as soon as they’re viewed. The Transportation Security Administration claimed last summer, for instance, that “scanned images cannot be stored or recorded.” – infowars
Now it turns out that some police agencies are storing the controversial images after all. The U.S. Marshals Service admitted this week that it had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse.
This follows an earlier disclosure (PDF) by the TSA that it requires all airport body scanners it purchases to be able to store and transmit images for “testing, training, and evaluation purposes.” The agency says, however, that those capabilities are not normally activated when the devices are installed at airports.
Body scanners penetrate clothing to provide a highly detailed image so accurate that critics have likened it to a virtual strip search. Technologies vary, with millimeter wave systems capturing fuzzier images, and backscatter X-ray machines able to show precise anatomical detail. The U.S. government likes the idea because body scanners can detect concealed weapons better than traditional magnetometers.
This privacy debate, which has been simmering since the days of the Bush administration, came to a boil two weeks ago when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that scanners would soon appear at virtually every major airport. The updated list includes airports in New York City, Dallas, Washington, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, and Philadelphia. – cnet
It’s official: a full-body security scanner can theoretically store your blurry nude picture. After a Freedom of Information Act request from the advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center, the U.S. Marshals Service released 100 of 35,314 stored images taken by a scanner at an Orlando, Florida, courthouse. Though airport security scanners use similar radio wave technology to get a hazy peek under your clothes, whether these scanners can store your image still seems unclear.Publications such as CNET question if these images mean a change in federal officials’ statement that the scanners cannot store images:
For the last few years, federal agencies have defended body scanning by insisting that all images will be discarded as soon as they’re viewed. The Transportation Security Administration claimed last summer, for instance, that “scanned images cannot be stored or recorded.” [CNET]
The Transportation Security Administration responds on their blog that they stick by that original statement. Though the recently released images prove that the Marshal Service stores scanned images, the Marshal Service is not the TSA. The first falls under the Department of Justice, the second under the Department of Homeland Security.
As we’ve stated from the beginning, TSA has not, will not and the machines cannot store images of passengers at airports. The equipment sent by the manufacturer to airports cannot store, transmit or print images and operators at airports do not have the capability to activate any such function. [TSA]
Part of the reason for the now viral story is that the scanner images appearance comes just after a late-July announcement that the TSA will deploy additional “advanced imagining technology” at 28 airports.
The revelation comes at a tense time. Two weeks ago, when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said such scanners would appear in every major airport, privacy advocates such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington D.C. filed a lawsuit to stop the device rollout. [MSNBC.com]
The scanners employ a millimeter wave radiometer which uses radio frequency waves to image visitors. In a letter published on the Electronic Privacy Information Center site, the acting administrator of the TSA responds to the chairman of Homeland Security: it seems that though the machines at airports are manufactured with the capability to store images, but that capability is used in “testing mode” only–and not at airports. The letter also says that security officers cannot put the machines into this storage mode.
Still, the Center filed a lawsuit last month to suspend the deployment of body scanners at US airports, saying that the scanning program violates the Privacy Act, Administrative Procedure Act, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Fourth Amendment.
The TSA is looking to modify the machines further to protect passengers’ privacy, for example by replacing the somewhat realistic nude image with a “paper-doll-like figure,” The Boston Globe reports, but the Center isn’t satisfied.
This will not solve the privacy issues, said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, because the images of travelers’ naked bodies are still being captured by the machine. “We think the privacy safeguards are mostly fiction,’’ said Rotenberg, adding that a congressional investigation is underway to review the scanners. [Boston Globe]