New High-Def TSA Security Scanners Miff Travelers and Keep Body Scan Images

By November 17, 2010 1 comment
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The Transportation Safety Administration has received much scrutiny over their new security scanners. Now installed at airports, the full body imaging systems, either the x-ray backscatter or the Gen 2 millimeter wave scanner has been in the news recently due to the reactions from citizens who have been asked to be examined by the machine. Thanks to the Internet, we know that passengers are refusing these screening methods, and that body scans have been publicly leaked.

The Transportation Safety Administration has received much scrutiny over their new security scanners. Now installed at airports, the full body imaging systems, either the x-ray backscatter or the Gen 2 millimeter wave scanner has been in the news recently due to the reactions from citizens who have been asked to be examined by the machine. The Internet has provided the forum for this subject on two separate events.

On Sunday, November 13th, John Tyner “opted-out” of the higher resolution x-ray backscatter scan at the San Diego International Airport, an option available to squeamish travelers, but the alternative is a very thorough pat-down that includes all external areas of the body. Tyner refused to submit to the pat-down as well.

Since he recorded this exchange with the TSA, and posted the video online, he has been mentioned by the news and has won an Internet following. But this event may be dwarfed by a Gizmodo post today, which published one hundred leaked body scan images that originated from a Gen 2 in Orlando, Florida.

The TSA promotes the new millimeter wave and x-ray backscatter scanners as essential improvements that can detect more prohibited items. But the trade-off shifts to personal privacy - in addition to rendering possible concealed weapons, the new x-ray machine can create a detailed image of a traveler’s naked body. While policy demands automatic and immediate deletion of these images, the Gizmodo post shows how this data can become available. Gizmodo seems to think if these machines continue to operate, image leakage is not only possible, but inevitable.

It is clearly stated in TSA literature that these machines cannot store, save or transmit these images. When delivered, the machines have these features disabled, according to the screening information video. But there is clearly a discrepancy when images of screened travellers show up on the Internet. Either the TSA claims are incorrect, or re-enabling these features is possible after the machines are installed.

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Submitted by Armstrong - on November 28, 2013 at 11:18 am

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