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Denials Aside, Feds Storing Body Scan Images 560

Posted by timothy
from the we-are-neither-amused-nor-surprised dept.
The new generation of body scanners employed at airports (and many other places) can record detailed, anatomically revealing pictures of each person scanned, which is one reason they've raised the hackles of privacy advocates as well as ordinary travelers. Now, AHuxley writes "The US Transportation Security Administration claimed last summer that 'scanned images cannot be stored or recorded.' It turns out that some police agencies are storing the controversial images. The US Marshals Service admitted that it had saved ~35,314 images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse. The images were stored on a Brijot Gen2 machine. The Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group, has filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to grant an immediate injunction to stop the TSA's body scanning program."
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Denials Aside, Feds Storing Body Scan Images

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  • by zero_out (1705074) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @11:46AM (#33139294)
    How can I spot one of these machines? How does it differ in appearance from a metal detector?
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @11:47AM (#33139304)

    Since the TSA scanned a 12 year old girl, why aren't child pornography charges being brought up on them?

    Despite me not agreeing with this program, the "think of the children" scream has no bearing here. Child pornography must be pornographic. Even nude stills that are considered artistic (ie, some of Lewis Caroll's photos he took) are not considered pornography and are perfectly legal. You simply have to prove that the purpose of the image is not for "deviant gratification". In this case, the purpose of the images will be for airport security. End of story. It's the same reason every pediatrician in the country isn't going to jail for molestation. As long as their contact is necessary and professional, then it's allowed.

  • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @11:52AM (#33139372)

    They're much larger and look like a little room/glass-pod/transporter platform you stand in and in most US airports have a big L3 logo on the side. (red circle white text).

    Here's the product page from L-3 Communications [l-3com.com].

  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:00PM (#33139508) Journal

    You are not legally obligated to go through one of these if you do not want to. If you refuse to go through this, which essentially amounts to a high-tech strip-search, they have to give you the old-fashioned pat-down.

  • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:03PM (#33139560)

    The TSA claimed it was not possible to store the images. They lied.

    It isn't even an accidental lie either - their own procurement specifications require the ability to store and transmit copies in real time. Seems like the only thing keeping the machines doing from what the TSA said they "cannot" do is the flip of a switch. Why should we believe they aren't flipping that switch whenever they feel like it? After all they lied about the machines' capabilities, it ain't no big stretch of the imagination to expect them to lie about using that switch.

  • by bgt421 (1006945) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:08PM (#33139658)
    This is an epic obscure Simpsons reference. When Sideshow Bob goes before the parole board, they question him about his "Die, Bart, Die" tattoo. He explains it as German, where 'die' is a definite article, and they buy it hook, line, and sinker. Sideshow Bob gets out, and mayhem insues.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:10PM (#33139672)

    I'm a young fit woman, not travelling alone, and was not wearing bulky or loose clothing- so why the selection?

    Amazing... you managed to ask and answer your own question in the same breath.

  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:10PM (#33139678) Journal

    At their own admission the TSA has the capability in their machines. They just claim it isn’t “activated” in the airport scanners. Mhmm. Prove it.

  • Samples Required (Score:5, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:11PM (#33139696) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, make the perversion jokes if you must, but I don't think most Americans have any idea what's even being discussed here.

    The TSA should allow a small sample, say 5 each male and female, various ages, of un-filtered un-redacted (but anonymous) full-resolution images available for a trusted third party to post on their website. It could be a newspaper, a travel mag, Consumer Reports, whatever, but an unbiased supervisor needs to be responsible for the authenticity.

    There's not even enough information available here to have an informed debate, just a few down-sampled 'privacy filtered' press images.

  • Re:I'm confused (Score:0, Informative)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:20PM (#33139822) Journal

    "Can" and "Do" are separate things. While scanners may have the ability to do so, the function may be disabled, therefore the scanners would not do so.

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:22PM (#33139860)

    Has it gotten to the point where refusing one of these is considered probable cause for a traditional strip search yet?

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:29PM (#33140026) Homepage Journal

    The government knows how easy it is to make changes like this. They were just using the argument that the images wouldn't be stored as a lubricant to make the insertion a little easier.

    Maybe you could explain what nefarious purpose the federal government would have for purposely storing these images.

    Remember, the images are not connected to the people's identities in any way. Except for the few seconds where the first TSA worker scans your ID card (and doesn't record anything) everybody who goes through the scanner does so in a random manner. There's no way, currently for them to identify any scan as belonging to any person.

    You suggest that the government is doing this scan-storing on purpose. Give us your best guess as to why.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:32PM (#33140082)

    You must be new here. Or not from the US.

    Going to jail for family vacation photos: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/arizona-couple-suing-bathtime-photos-prompt-wal-mart/story?id=8624533
    Going to jail for getting emailed photos of your niece: http://abcnews.go.com/US/soldier-charged-possessing-child-pornography-receving-innocent-photos/story?id=9595638
    Going to jail for camping photos: http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2006/07/18/photos
    Going to jail for breastfeeding, and photographing it: http://www.cfcamerica.org/news/a-mother-breastfeeding-her-baby-is-child-porn-in-america

    That's from 30 seconds of google searching.

    Get a clue.

  • by Layth (1090489) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:35PM (#33140138)

    ...recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single ***Florida courthouse***
    Showing up in court is not a decision one makes. When you get a subpoena, you end up in court one way or another.

  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:36PM (#33140176)

    I had my first millimeter wave radar scan at the Denver airport when traveling last weekend. I thought it was rather interesting, but wasn't impressed by their insistence that I had something in my pockets, until I turned them inside out to show they were empty.

    Necron69

    Known bogus accusations are standard cop-tricks to get you to confess to something, throw you off guard or make you reveal something.

  • Same old (Score:3, Informative)

    by NetNed (955141) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:42PM (#33140286)
    Every time we get the old line "we won't do that because it will infringe on your rights" from politicians, government agencies, law enforcement and all the likes, it should be a red light to all that they will most certainly abuse whatever it is and overwhelming infringe on your rights. Why we continue to put up with politicians that don't represent us and sell us down the river is astounding. At least recently people have woken up to the fact that the government and the politicians in it love to gain power over the masses in some sort of control freak way for anything from making money off it to appeasing corporate campaign contributors all for their own gain.

    The government needs to be once again a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
  • Re:Samples Required (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:00PM (#33140660)

    I volunteer executives from the TSA and DoHS to provide the samples for this posting. Since it is not an invasion of their privacy, they should have no problems with their pictures being posted.

  • by Posting=!Working (197779) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:06PM (#33140784)

    If these work, they'd have found the weapon on the terrorist. They don't need a picture if they have the terrorist and the weapon. Cops don't take pictures of a suspect before they disarm them.

    we don't have the image, so we don't have the evidence.

    You need to look up what evidence actually is, because that statement shows you do not understand it at all. Evidence is not required to be photographic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:19PM (#33141078)

    you're absolutely right! the only reason 911 succeeded was because it had never been done before. the passengers thought they were just going to be held for ransom or demands. they didn't know their captors were going to kamikaze their asses into the WTC. once the passengers on the other plane found out, they attempted to overpower their captors. they still died, but Washington was saved (unfortunately. i wish it had been the other way around).

    metal detectors and human questioning. that's all it takes. of course, i'd be just as happy if they gave everyone a taser as they got on the plane.

  • by ebuck (585470) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:45PM (#33141532)

    Hate to reply to my own post, but some dummy will ask for sources instead of using google to expand their consciousness.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:52PM (#33141638) Journal

    I would hope that the descendants of the founding fathers would have lost their self respect

    The Founding Fathers did not give captured British soldiers access to the civilian courts. They held them until the end of hostilities. Those [wikipedia.org] that violated the laws of war were tried by military commission and punished accordingly.

  • by Govno (779519) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @02:23PM (#33142046)

    Oh sure, you say that know, but when the first vagina grenade goes off on a crowded plane, what will you say?

    The problem here is body scanners wouldn't detect a vagina bomb in the first place. They only penetrate roughly 1/10th of an inch below the skin. Ironically, the explosives sniffers WOULD detect it but typically aren't being used in areas "protected by" body scanning devices.

  • by phantomcircuit (938963) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @02:24PM (#33142064) Homepage

    Oh sure, you say that know, but when the first vagina grenade goes off on a crowded plane, what will you say?

    These scanners would not detect a grenade inside someone. Either the vaginal or anal cavity would 100% shield a grenade from these scanners. They are LESS secure than the metal detectors....

  • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @03:09PM (#33142810)
    Too be fair I'd like to point out that your source considers "Closing Guantanamo Bay" as just one tick below a fully kept campaign promise and fixing the Patriot Act as merely "stalled" rather than a broken promise. Meanwhile Palin is ticked off as "barely true" (the only level above "liar liar pants on fire!") for quoting a list of countries military spending as a portion of GDP directly from the CIA World Factbook with the argument of "sure, if you count really small countries as well as countries in the middle east that spend a lot on defense".
  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @06:01PM (#33144922) Journal

    >>>With respect, what did "we" (the people, presumably) lose with Gitmo? When has it ever been held that foreign nationals...

    When Bush decided to arrest and send 3 US citizens there, so he could ignore the due process of law and the Constitution. It made us ALL vulnerable to the possibility of being exported to Guantanamo & thereby losing our rights. (And now I hear Obama sent another US citizen there too.)

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @06:05PM (#33144948) Journal

    John Adams would vehemently disagree with you.

    Why him in particular? Because he acted as a Defense Lawyer on behalf of several "redcoats". Without him the soldiers would have been found guilty and killed, or more likely drug into the streets and beat to death by the mob. The British soldiers received the same right to trial by a jury as any other Massachusetts citizen of that era.

  • by kent_eh (543303) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @09:52PM (#33146454)

    Remember, the images are not connected to the people's identities in any way.

    As far as you know...

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