Naked Body Scanners: Monumental Cover Up Exposed
Feds admit they lied over storing images, why trust them over safety, functionality and efficiency of radiation-firing machines?
Thursday, Aug 5th, 2010
At the height of the furor over airport body scanners earlier this year, the TSA publicly stated that it was not possible to store, record, transmit or print out the images that show in detail the naked bodies of men, women and children that have passed through them. At the time we presented evidence to the contrary. Now it has been conclusively proven that the TSA and other federal agencies using the scanners flat out lied to an unwitting public.
Declan McCullagh of CNET reports that “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.”
The proof comes in the form of a letter (PDF), obtained by The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), in which William Bordley, an associate general counsel with the Marshals Service, admits that “approximately 35,314 images…have been stored on the Brijot Gen2 machine” used in the Orlando, Fla. federal courthouse.
EPIC says it has also obtained more than 100 images of electronically stripped individuals from the scanning devices used at federal courthouses. The disclosures come as part of a settlement of an EPIC Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Marshals Service.
Brijot, the manufacturer of the body scanning equipment in question, also admits that its machine can store up to 40,000 images and records.
EPIC, has filed two further lawsuits against the Department of Homeland Security over the scanners, claiming that the DHS has refused to release at least 2,000 images it has stored from scanners currently in use in U.S. airports.
EPIC’s lawsuit argues that the body scanners violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits “unreasonable” searches, as well as the Privacy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, referencing religious laws about modesty.
The group points to a further document (PDF) it has obtained from DHS showing that the machines used by the department’s TSA are not only able to record and store naked body images, but that they are mandated to do so.
The TSA has now admitted that this is the case, but claims that it is for training and testing purposes only, maintaining that the body scanners used at airports cannot “store, print or transmit images”.
“In complying with our Freedom of Information Act request, the Marshals Service has helped the public more fully understand the capabilities of these devices,” EPIC President Marc Rotenberg said in a statement. “But the DHS continues to conceal the truth from American air travelers who could be subject to similar intrusive recorded searches in U.S. airports.”