Feds Admit Storing Checkpoint Body Scan Images

TSA's X-ray backscatter scanning with "Privacy Filter" (Credit: TSA.gov)

TSA's X-ray backscatter scanning with "privacy filter"

Declan McCullagh reports on cnet News’ Privacy Inc:

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.”

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.

Read More: cnet News’ Privacy Inc

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  • emperorreagan

    Feds admit to storing scanned images of children to share with all the pedophiles at the Department of Defense, so they will no longer have to visit shady corners of the internet to find such images and risk getting caught.

  • kleetas

    WHY bother scanning people at airports!All the weaponry smuggling takes place by the airports baggage handlers!Scanners are for bored porn junkies that operate,fund 95% of ALL internet transmissions;;;

  • Haystack

    I hate TSA so much.

    Every single time I fly, the same thing happens. I get pulled aside. My pants zipper sets off the metal detector wand, and the screener has to pat my crotch.

    I’d like to be able to go on a simple plane trip without experiencing anything that I’ll have to recall under hypnotherapy later in life, thank you.

  • Haystack

    I hate TSA so much.

    Every single time I fly, the same thing happens. I get pulled aside. My pants zipper sets off the metal detector wand, and the screener has to pat my crotch.

    I'd like to be able to go on a simple plane trip without experiencing anything that I'll have to recall under hypnotherapy later in life, thank you.

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