Group concerned airport security scanners capture nearly naked images

8:44 AM, Aug 6, 2010   |    comments
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NBC -- Full body scanners they are controversial pieces of equipment used at airports and federal courthouses across the country.

Privacy groups say they reveal too much, a nearly naked image.

Now one privacy group says the government can and has been recording images from the body scanners.

It takes just seconds. You walk through, hold up your hands, pause, and you're out. A TSA employee in another closed off room looks at a small screen to see if you have a weapon or explosives.

Airline passenger Pam Bedgood says "I think that we need to do anything we can to prevent injuries to passengers on flights."

Some travelers support the effort, even if the images being viewed by TSA workers are revealing, practically a naked image. Now the Electronic Privacy Information Center says the body scanners can do more than just show the images, they can also record.

Ginger McCall of the Electronic Privacy Information Center says "one of the requirements that TSA had for the machines, was that they be able to store and transmit images."

The privacy group filed a Freedom Of Information lawsuit, and found the U.S. Marshal Service has recorded thousands of images of people walking into the federal courthouse in Orlando. Through the lawsuit they obtained these images. The U.S. Marshal says the images are more blurry that the scanning devices at the airport.

Eric Thompson of the U.S. Marshal Service says "there are no pictures of half naked people, fully naked people."

But travelers we spoke to didn't like the idea that the images can be stored.

TSA says they are not recording pictures of the scans.

Sari Koshetz of the TSA says "as we have said frim the beginning, TSA has not, will not, and the machines cannot store images of passengers at airports."

But the Electronic Privacy Information Center says if TSA isn't recording the images, why do their machines have that capability?

Ginger McCall says "do you think there is a danger if these images are recorded could show up on the internet or other places? Definitely, especially since these machines were designed to have the capability to transfer images to a USB key and think about how easy it would be to smuggle a USB key into one of these viewing booths."


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