Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Privacy Government Security Transportation Technology

Denials Aside, Feds Storing Body Scan Images 560

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Denials Aside, Feds Storing Body Scan Images

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:41PM (#33139230)

    Get some enterprising hacker to release those 30k pics. If some schoolkids visited the courthouse, we'll see which is stronger: "think of the children!" or "think of the terrists!"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:50PM (#33139342)

    I was recently coming off a cruise into the Miami port, and was 'randomly' selected to go through one of these. I'm a young fit woman, not travelling alone, and was not wearing bulky or loose clothing- so why the selection?

    Anyway, I expressed upset at the process and the security guard person guiding me through said that only one person sees the image, they can't see me, I can't see them, and that the image is deleted immediately after I am 'passed' through and no weapons are detected.

    I doubt even the people operating these things know what's going on.

  • Not going far enough (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Psmylie ( 169236 ) * on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:55PM (#33139418) Homepage

    The problem is, we aren't going far enough to protect ourselves. These measures, while a considerable improvement over metal detectors, are still a far cry from what we need if we want to be secure. Here is what I propose:

    Upon entering any government building, or attempting to enter an airport terminal, all citizens will directed to secure rooms where they will be required to strip off all of their street clothes. These clothes will then be sent for analasys for any chemical agents, explosives, etc. and burned or disposed of if there are any suspicious substances on them. Visitors/travellers will then be issued a standard robe and slippers, after the invasive strip search and full body x-ray.
    At this point, if boarding an aircraft, passengers will be led to their seats and have an I.V. hooked into their arms. They will be kept sedated for the duration of the flight, and then wheeled out while still unconcious to recover in specially designated rooms. If there is a connecting flight, then of course staff will wheel them onto that flight, while still unconcious.
    Upon exiting the terminal or government building, citizens will have their personal effects returned to them, minus anything destroyed or detained due to suspicious chemical markers or anti-government slogans or anything else the government feels that it is in the citizen's best interest to remove from their possesion.

    I know all of this seems like it might be expensive, but hey, isn't it worth it to be safe?

  • by MarkusH ( 198450 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:56PM (#33139450)

    What if some agent took the picture of a 12 year old girl home to "enjoy" in his free time? Could he be charged with possession of child pornography then? I'd say yes.

  • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kevinNCSU ( 1531307 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:58PM (#33139468)
    In edition the article mentions the Brijot Gen2 machine. All of the TSA ones I've seen are the L-3 communications Provision machine. So DoJ using a different machine from a different company are storing images so they decide to sue a different department that's using different machines with different procedures? It makes no sense whatsoever.
  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:05PM (#33139584)

    Neither the summary or the article say the TSA are storing images. This story is about the Marshal Service storing images. These two groups are distinct from each other.

  • by pz ( 113803 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:27PM (#33139980) Journal

    Get some enterprising hacker to release those 30k pics. If some schoolkids visited the courthouse, we'll see which is stronger: "think of the children!" or "think of the terrists!"

    If some school kids visited the courthouse and the pictures were saved, remember that child pornography laws are so strict that it's nearly guilty until proven innocent. I'd hate to be an operator of one of those machines if there is even a single image of a minor. Even just one.

    Come to think of it, that would be a good way for the ACLU to dismantle the entire program.

  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:34PM (#33140128) Homepage Journal

    Since when did the Fourth Amendment provide exemptions for "the end justifies the means" situations?


    Or October 26, 2001, if you want to get technical about it.

  • by ImNotAtWork ( 1375933 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:45PM (#33140350)
    Wait you don't think they have a camera pointed exactly at this scanner with a timecode sync. It's trivial to rewind a set of video and find out exactly who you are. Don't think for a second they do not know who is who. Maybe not the drones manning the station but the analyst will definitely have a clue. Now think of a celebrity passing through one of these. All one of the drones needs to know is the time the celebrity crossed the scanner (Yes most use private charters but there is the occasional public figure (Kevin Smith anyone?))
  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:45PM (#33140352) Homepage

    I'm sure some of them will be of underage people. What do the feds do if you even LOOK at a child strangely these days? What's sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.

    If there's nothing to see here then let's have a website put up with scans of all the US senate (and their families).

  • Re:Alt-Print Screen (Score:3, Interesting)

    by trentblase ( 717954 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:46PM (#33140354)
    If these machines are running Windows, we have even bigger problems.
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:47PM (#33140386) Homepage Journal

    they cannot use software to make the display be like those displayed in Arnold's Running Man movie.

    It cannot be hard to remove the human part of the picture and leave the rest... and just "animate the human"

  • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:54PM (#33140520)

    The best fight would be fighting to not have them installed at all. If they are going to be installed, then don't fight storing images-- that just makes them *more* useless.

    A perfect example of the "enforcement need" slippery slope [].

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @01:56PM (#33140546) Homepage

    Kind of like when I was crossing from Canada back into the US once. We were traveling with my wife, kids, her brother and his wife. The border guard asked standard info: where we were going, where we were from, etc. Then he asked (in a very accusing tone) which one of us wasn't born in the US. We all kind of paused trying to think if we had said *anything* to lead him to that impression before answering (truthfully) that none of us were born outside the US. We got let on our way but it was still puzzling at the time.

  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @02:28PM (#33141250)

    I am neither defending the existence of Gitmo, or the shutting down of Gitmo. Only that the President said he would shut it down and did not do it.

    It is only an example, one of many, of the promises that were broken. The guiding principles that the President said he would lead by in his presidency that were abandoned once he took oath.

    Being neither Democrat or Republican, my main concerns were my rights, privacy, and anonymity. I never really had high hopes for Obama anyways giving my proclivity towards extreme cynicism about government (backed up by experience), but I understand others extreme dissapointment in Obama regarding issues surrounding our rights.

    The original poster was being sarcastic, but the truth is far more depressing. We had all hoped, even a little, that the new administration would put something right.

  • Re:Alt-Print Screen (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rakaur ( 984920 ) <.rakaur. .at.> on Thursday August 05, 2010 @09:27AM (#33149156) Homepage

    Are you even serious? It's not like the TSA is chock full of professionals, here. They're mall cops with less training, which is bad and worse. We know the computers are connected to the network because they have to be able to receive the images (they're "viewed at a remote location"). What makes you think the operators don't go play some Flash games during downtime? Or do the same things everyone does at work with their PC? I work on a government campus and the security/police force are caught doing naughty things with their computers all the time. Why would the TSA be any different?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 05, 2010 @10:47AM (#33149912)

    Pornography? Do you believe that with all the free porn available on the internet that there's a big market for shadowy outlines of naked bodies?

    Allow me to introduce you to Rule 34.

    Anyway, they aren’t “shadowy outlines”. They’re “millimeter-resolution scans”. It’s a 3D model of you, underneath your clothes, with high detail (we haven’t even seen the full-resolution versions, only some low-resolution images that they gave out in press releases).

    If they painted you silver, that’s about what you’d look like. While you might not consider someone wearing silver body-paint to be technically nude, I wouldn’t think most people would feel much difference between the two. And did I mention Rule 34?

VMS must die!