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Government Privacy Transportation Your Rights Online

US Marshals Saved 35,000 Full Body Scans 712

PatPending writes "A Gizmodo investigation has revealed 100 of the photographs saved by the Gen 2 millimeter-wave scanner from Brijot Imaging Systems, Inc., obtained by a FOIA request after it was recently revealed that US Marshals operating the machine in the Orlando, Florida courthouse had improperly — perhaps illegally — saved [35,000] images [low resolution] of the scans of public servants and private citizens."
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US Marshals Saved 35,000 Full Body Scans

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  • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @02:35PM (#34245362)

    You're absolutely correct, but at the same time, let's not forget that such abuses occur because those in power deliberately lie to the people. That is what the Gizmodo article proves--that the public is intentionally told falsehoods so that the government can continue their abuse. It isn't the individual screener or machine that is the root of corruption. Rather, the corruption is systematic, in the form of a security agency that tells people that their privacy is assured when it is not. They do this because it makes their task more expedient, and gives the impression of effectiveness. Much the same can be said of the deliberate provocation of fear as a means of gaining more power and control.

    I repeat: the corruption is systematic. Yes, you can remove the opportunity to exploit weaknesses and the lack of accountability, but this is a piecemeal approach to fixing the larger underlying problem, which is that we have a system that is accountable to no one, that is fundamentally disinterested in serving its stated purpose, and exists for the sole purpose of allowing those in power to concentrate their influence through the use of scare tactics and lies. In other words, we wouldn't need to stop individual enforcement officers from violating people's privacy, and we wouldn't need the regulations to do so, if we didn't need to subject people to these scans in the first place. This technology didn't always exist, yet people weren't being blown out of the skies every day for the lack of it. There's an unspoken, and therefore largely unchallenged, assumption that this kind of screening is necessary--which on the face of it is an absurd claim, for if it were, the only rational way to use it would be to apply it to everybody. And I need not state the myriad ways in which someone with half a brain would still find it trivial to circumvent it.

    What is needed is a drastic change, one in which the people reassert their control over the government that purports to serve them. I doubt this will happen, but nevertheless it is the only viable solution.

  • by mark72005 ( 1233572 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @02:39PM (#34245430)
    The government used funds from the 2009 stimulus bill to buy these "backscatter" scanners.


    And say what you will, but it wasn't until this crop of scanners came around that this administration created the existing policies on opt-outs.

    I flew many times post 9/11, and the worst I ever got was my bags opened or run over with the wand.
  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @02:43PM (#34245478) Homepage Journal

    There is no greater threat now than has existed in the past.

    Oh, yes there is -- the threat is from our own government, and the threat is to our freedom. When they say "they hate us for our freedom" they must be talking about themselves, because ever since 911 gave them an excuse our freedoms have been rapidly vanishing.

  • by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @02:43PM (#34245480)

    Next Wednesday: http://www.optoutday.com/ [optoutday.com]

  • by tophermeyer ( 1573841 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @02:52PM (#34245630)

    for example, the requirement to notify the government 72 hours in advance when you travel domestically [tsa.gov]

    Keep in mind though that his only applies to airlines. There is no government intrusion for people packing up their own private vehicle and driving across the country (almost none anyway).

    I don't support the intrusion on privacy in general, but I also acknowledge that when electing to use nationally critical infrastructure for travel I must submit to some kind of vetting before I'm allowed on it. The current state of security theater has gone too far, but I don't think we can ever rightfully expect to completely eliminate security screening.

  • Re:That's nothing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Remus Shepherd ( 32833 ) <remus@panix.com> on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:04PM (#34245808) Homepage

    They are charging and fining anyone who submits to examination and then backs out. This is to keep terrorists from exploring the limits of the system by bringing contraband to the examination and then backing away at the last minute so they're not caught. It is an extremely ham-fisted way of preventing a social engineering attack, but it should suffice.

    In the US, once you enter in an agreement with any corporation you lose some rights. What the TSA is doing now is no worse than what many software companies do with their EULAs, it's just more obvious because it's physical.

    I'm just waiting for a website to collect body scan pictures and post them with the travellers' names. Is the domain tsa-leaks.com taken? Aunt Mildred might put up with having one official in the airport look through her blouse, but put those pictures up on the internet and there will be fury.

  • Re:That's nothing (Score:5, Informative)

    by sycorob ( 180615 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:08PM (#34245880)

    The video was taken down from YouTube, but this guy has it for now:
    http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1258192/pg1 [godlikeproductions.com]

    That was the most heart-wrenching thing I've seen in a long time. The girl wasn't being bad or anything, she was just freaking out that this strange woman was poking her all over.

    I'm driving for Christmas this year (12 hours) rather than fly. I want to visit an old friend of the family that lives in Alabama, and I'm in Chicago. I really hope they stop this BS before then. I'm just glad I don't have kids yet, I would probably assault a TSA agent if they did this to my child. You guys would write me in prison, right?

  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:19PM (#34246036) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps you're too young to remember or just trying to bash Obama, but I seem to recall during the Bush administration that the telcos were all coerced to enable illegal blanket wiretaps on US citizens without warrants. These airport x-ray devices weren't invented, developed, and deployed in just two years. The rollout was initiated during the Bush administration. It was he who authorized the creation of an entire additional government department, the Department of Homeland Security. Talk about increasing government spending unnecessarily by duplicating efforts... Why won't the tea-partiers call it like it is?

  • by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:22PM (#34246080)

    Trains don't fall from the sky. They run on electric power. Carry many more people than planes. Stops right in the middle of downtown, origin and destination, no trip to and from the airport needed. Sometimes you can just get on, no papers or checking at all, and buy the ticket later on board. Sometimes there is a restaurant car, or a bar car. You can see the scenery, it is less than a yard away from your window. You have long seats, tables, lots of space, walk around the cars. You can get off at the next town, walk around, and take the next train. There are almost never any accidents. Did I say it's electric?

    Unfortunately, in the USA, trains go from where you aren't to where you don't want to be. They are diesel-electric. They are limited to around 90mph under best conditions. The tracks are frequently shared with freight traffic, which has right of way, so passenger trains are frequently side-tracked for long delays. 2000 miles at 90mph is over 20 hours. More like 36 hours with delays, sidetracking and stops. The 250 mile trip across Missouri takes 6-8 hours -- you could drive it faster. Everything in the restaurant is pre-prepared and warmed in a microwave.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:43PM (#34246438)

    These "enhanced" pat downs are offensive and illegal and until someone is willing to stand up and take the damn thing to court the DHS and TSA is going to continue molesting children.

    You're in luck, because EPIC [epic.org] has already filed suit. You might want to donate to them; I just did.

  • Re:uhuh (Score:2, Informative)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:51PM (#34246576) Journal

    There was never any suggestion that TWA was brought down by something on board (other than the fuel tanks)

    Yes there was. Terrorism was not ruled out until the NTSB was able to raise and examine the wreckage. Everybody thought it was terrorism when it first happened.

  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @03:54PM (#34246608) Homepage

    What I would personally like to see is someone with a young child, preferably female that instructs their child to start screaming if anyone touches their genitals.

    link [sfgate.com]... have you called your airline contacts and congresscritters? I sure have.

  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @04:36PM (#34247336)

    This is a scam.

    These scanners were promoted by Michael Cherfoff, Head of Homeland Security under W.

    Now he is CEO of the Chertoff Group [chertoffgroup.com], and is lobbying [wcvarones.com] for Rapiscan [rapiscansystems.com], which makes these very machines at issue here. How convenient.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @08:55PM (#34250382)

    As does George Soros, a longtime friend of democrats including Obama:

  • Re:That's nothing (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 16, 2010 @11:39PM (#34251282)
    Certain rights are inalienable. For instance, Amendment IV of the Bill of Rights, which prohibits agents of the government from conducting unlawful searches, is inalienable - we cannot contract it away.
  • Re:That's nothing (Score:3, Informative)

    by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @04:51AM (#34252278) Homepage

    Replying to myself -- Hate to say it, but the TSA chief in San Diego held a press conference Monday to confirm that the fine (now $11K) is still on the table and they've opened an investigation on this guy:

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/nov/15/tsa-probe-scan-resistor/ [signonsandiego.com]

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford