100 Body TSA Scanner Images Leaked

The TSA says it doesn't store the body images its agents scan. But the images leak out anyway.

Joel Johnson and Gizmodo have obtained a hundred improperly stored body scan images through a Freedom of Information Act request. And, of course, they promptly published them.

The scans were made by U.S. Marshals in Orlando and were apparently improperly stored. Though this particular machine does not offer the cringe-inducing resolution that some others do, it highlights a major problem with the machines more generally: these photos will leak out. Or, as Johnson puts it, "That we can see these images today almost guarantees that others will be seeing similar images in the future."

It's not just airports using the scanners. It's courthouses around the country. U.S. Marshals in Orlando stored 35,000 images from the Gen 2 millimeter wave scanner, made by Brijot Imaging Systems, Inc.

Based on each organization’s specific policies and procedures, GEN 2 offers the ability to turn on or off its recording features. In recording mode, up to 40,000 events can be recorded and stored by date and time, along with a snapshot image of the subject that shows the detection boxes, as well as the correlating millimeter wave images, for easy recall of event details. The system also offers the ability to manually initiate a video capturing session, used independently from the detection engine, such as to record the search of a specific individual for future reference.


Colorado has had one at the Douglas County Courthouse in Castle Rock since 2008. They don't tell you what it is, just to get on the pad inside it and raise your hands. I remember the D.C. federal courthouse had one during the Scooter Libby trial.

Pretty soon they will in all public places, including train and bus stations.

Denver International Airport is getting five more, for a total of six, this fall. Here's the TSA's page on "Advanced Imaging Technology"

These machines don't just detect explosives. They detect other things, like drugs. What an end run around the 4th Amendment, particularly if you are not traveling but just going about your business.

More on the types of scanners here.

Full body scanners are just the tip of the iceberg. Here's a new concept that received government certification a year ago:

Top Eye View, Inc.
December 17, 2009 – Top Eye View, Inc. provides the BLN-III “Eye in the Sky”. The Technology is an unmanned tethered blimp designed to operate at low altitudes and provide aerial surveillance. It is equipped with cameras possessing pan, zoom, and tilt capabilities as well as the ability to transmit images and video feed to specified operation centers. This Designation and Certification will expire on August 31, 2014.

And of course, the Government wants all the walls torn down, so law enforcement can share the images amongst themselves. Also approved in 2009:

Xpect Software, LLC
December 11, 2009 – Xpect Software, LLC provides DFuze®. The Technology is a framework by which anti-terrorism operatives collect, catalogue, link images, and share information relating to explosive incidents. The Technology also includes all technical manuals, warranty and maintenance services, and training services, as well as the qualifications of the personnel used for these services. This Designation and Certification will expire on January 31, 2015.

Not one of these machines will stop a terrorist attack. They will, however, blast our already shrunken privacy rights to smithereens.

< Great Britain's Payout to Guantanamo Detainees | Politics and Palins Run Dancing With the Stars Into the Ground >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    After Christmas, I only fly for work (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by roy on Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 11:29:30 PM EST
    Already bought tickets for one last flight home.  After that, if I'm gonna be in porn, I'm getting paid.

    I Think These Were Released on Purpose (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 01:51:42 PM EST
    Look at the quality.

    First who could possibly object, you can't tell the difference between and male or female, much less see any parts.

    Second, if this is the security they are implementing, let me be the first in saying that level of scanning is pathetic.  Black and white blobs that don't seem to correlate to anything identifiable.

    I have seen pics of scanners that are 1000 times cleaner, enough to see male/female parts in detail, which is the root of all the outrage.  I find it far too coincidental that the first 'accidental' capture of images released to the public are super grainy and consist mainly of middle aged and out of shape men.

    One last note, even if this technology is set aside, which I doubt, it still exists.  Which means it will soon be in the hands of civilians and more than likely, portable.  Like night vision, once a military leap of technology, now available for $50 at any sporting goods store.

    My point, what is outrageous behavior at the airport today, will soon be the perv*rts new gadget that will invariably end up lining websites that currently feature hidden camera shot.

    The quality is adjustable (none / 0) (#55)
    by kindGSL on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 03:08:12 PM EST
    I have been reading up on it, the operator can turn up the picture quality by turning up the power and your X-ray dose.  Do not believe ANY of the lies about it.

    Here is a bit of info I found today, but for some reason the forces who prevent people like me from posting on the internet are not letting me post on FDL today. That always makes me suspicious.

    Airport screening staff should wear radiation measurement badges


    The last time I flew (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by CST on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 02:13:06 PM EST
    I went through one of these.  My sceptical side was written all over my face reading the sign because the security person asked me if I "had a problem" with it, in a "didn't want to hear any $hit" kind of tone.

    I decided against giving him a piece of my mind and went through the machine.  I got the feeling they would not be pleased with anyone requesting a pat down.  As in "feel free to take this option but we will give you hell if you do".

    Don't worry (4.25 / 4) (#2)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 09:54:12 PM EST

    You can easily avoid the scanner by taking the sexual assault option.

    You're find with being irradiated (none / 0) (#9)
    by Harry Saxon on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 07:41:23 AM EST
    and the image obtained from it being in the hands of folks who don't have to account to anyone for keeping in on a hard drive somewhere?

    This is security theater, folks, and I predict that none of it will stop the next plane attack.


    We aren't citizens anymore, we're subjects (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 07:43:14 AM EST
    100% (none / 0) (#11)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 07:49:10 AM EST
    You are 100% right on.

    The money quote (none / 0) (#1)
    by Coldblue on Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 09:25:48 PM EST
    from Janet Napolitano on passenger pushback

    "If people don't want to play that role, if they want to travel by some other means, of course that is their right. This is the United States,"

    This is supposed to be a Democratic administration, isn't it?

    "Play that role" (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 10:05:34 PM EST
    Interesting phrase in this context.

    Play what role?

    That of a victim?  A sheeple?  A patsy?  A PORN STAR?

    lol - really?


    I think we need to trot out Janet and (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 10:52:42 PM EST
    friends out and have them start being treated like the average Joe/Jane. Maybe then they can teach us some "role playing"?

    Someone said that Janet refused (none / 0) (#40)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 04:26:51 PM EST
    to undergo the scanner during the demo that they had before the roll out.  She made her staff do it instead.  Sooooo...  Hmmm...

    No way... (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 05:36:05 PM EST
    that's as bad as the newly elected anti-healthcare rep guy crying for his government healthcare for a measley 28 day gap.  

    It's good to be inner party members.

    Different rules different fools...wonder if Boehner is having second thoughts about giving up the speakers complimentary jet service.


    she knows what it does (none / 0) (#57)
    by kindGSL on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 03:12:29 PM EST
    She isn't willing to do it herself because once she does, they will have a picture of her naked.  I would not do it either. No woman in her right mind would.

    So what is the United States? (none / 0) (#12)
    by observed on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 08:12:04 AM EST
    Seems like she's saying it's a police state, and stuff it if you don't like it.

    "play that role" (none / 0) (#20)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 11:47:40 AM EST
    even Janet Napolitano admits that it's nothing but security theater

    Please don't use the p word here (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 12:45:34 AM EST
    It generates a ton of spam and brings out the software censors at law firms and TL will be blocked. Use asterisks if you must. Thanks.

    If you tries to pass... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 09:29:02 AM EST
    through security in your birthday suit, you'd get locked up for that too.  We literally can't do anything but baaaa like sheep if we wanna fly.

    It's gonna take hundreds of thousands of people like the guy in San Diego refusing the pron scan and the molestation, risking the legal trouble, to change the way we roll at the airport...it is the only way.  When air traffic grinds to a halt dealing with all the freedom fighters holding up the security line, then things will change for the better. Our leaders and the PSA (Perverted Security Admin.) don't give a sh*t.

    We could fly in speedos and bikinis (none / 0) (#14)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 09:40:35 AM EST
    Nothing to see here folks, just keep moving along.

    Won't work... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 10:05:33 AM EST
    ya could hide something in a speedo.

    It's gotta be the full monty, to be safe...and even then our more portly breathren will have to have their rolls and folds checked...not sure what you can do about the an*l cavity besides the rubber glove treatment, and fingers don't go deep enough...we'll need the prostate exam cameras for a proper search.  

    Then there is surgically implanted contraband to worry about...and jeez if ya can swallow rubbers full of heroin, ya can swallow rubbers full of explosives.

    And we're out of coffee....EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!


    The decline of civil liberty. (none / 0) (#16)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 10:45:13 AM EST
    I remember walking to the tarmac to get on a plane. Heck, I remember flying commercially while carrying knives. Not pocket knives, but sheath knives. Not a word was said. And this was before entering the military.

    There's got to be some point where this Captain Insano fear and desparate need to protect from the bogeyman must end.

    Losing a little bit of freedom for a little bit of safety is a fool's trade. there is no perfect security. There is always risk. It seems as if the Cheney Zero percent option is still in effect.

    The point that illustrates... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 10:48:43 AM EST
    the utter ridiculousness of it all is any whackjob could strap themselves up and set it off in the terminal right before the security gate and take out a couple hundred people.

    Do you get blown any less to bits on the ground than in the air?  Someone explain to me wtf is the difference.


    no difference at all (none / 0) (#21)
    by Dadler on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 11:50:33 AM EST
    hell, if they had any brains, they'd do that. forget the fear of flying, it would become a fear of going to the airport at all.  plus, as those mumbai motherphuckers proved, a bunch of heavily armed psychopaths can kill plenty of folks, and instill plenty of terror, just walking around and shooting everyone they see.  not that our own brand of american psycho hasn't done this more than a few times.

    we ain't just sheep, my man, we're the wool that we pull over our own eyes, too.

    you keepin' up with the blog, bro? just curious if it's still a good read to you. getting close to the finish, at least of the first draft.

    peace, dog.


    Yeah man... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 12:01:54 PM EST
    I've been slightly remiss, waiting for some home hermitude time to catch up on the edition you posted last week...but I've enjoyed every minute.  

    I want a signed collectors edition of the book gratis once published, Mr. Full Tilt Moneybags:)


    You Forgot the Big One (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 01:31:03 PM EST
    You could smoke on flights up until ~1990.

    I can remember going to basic training with a bunch of scared boys my age, we smoked like there was no tomorrow in the back of the 747.

    A mere 20 years later and you can't even bring shampoo or a nail clipper, we've come a long way baby.

    I would take an airline with pre 9/11 security in a second.  To me it's the difference between a 2010 Volvo and 1976 Riviera, one is a hell of a lot safer, but the overall odds of dieing are nearly zero.


    Smoking on planes was no (none / 0) (#46)
    by observed on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 06:02:40 PM EST
    liberty---it was imposed torture on the rest of us.

    That Wasn't the Point (none / 0) (#48)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 11:08:58 AM EST
    The point was people didn't freak out over really risky on flight behavior.

    Now it's a Nation of scared of their own shadows.

    There are somewhere around 35,000 flights a day in the US.  

    Take the three planes that went down and divide by the number of flights say in the past ten years.  The odds of being on a flight that is brought down by a terrorist is roughly 1 in 42.5 million in the past ten years.

    I'll take my odds, give me an airport terminal with pre 9/11 security and I will take my chances any day of the week.


    I don't think (none / 0) (#53)
    by jbindc on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 02:57:02 PM EST
    Smoking on a flight is in the same category of "risky" as someone bringing on knives or guns or such.

    Yep yep... (none / 0) (#54)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 03:02:21 PM EST
    allowing smoking on flights is a lot less risky than allowing guns and knives...it be damn hard to burn a pilot to death with a Marlboro and take the controls unless its one helluva long flight.

    Unless of course, (none / 0) (#56)
    by jbindc on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 03:11:22 PM EST
    You are talking about the feeling of wanting to commit murder if you are the person stuck in an enclosed metal tube with poor ventilation with smokers.

    I would understand that feeling.  :)


    Actually smoking on planes (none / 0) (#61)
    by observed on Fri Nov 19, 2010 at 05:22:05 AM EST
    killed more people than knives.

    Both parties do it. We might like to think one party is better at than the other,and in some areas they may be, but in practice that doesn't look like the case. No party in power is going to give up the power they have, ever.

    The government always sides with the government.

    The government will always give itself more power, not less, because it can.


    Are the Obama daughters (none / 0) (#18)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 11:28:07 AM EST
    subjected to the pervoscan when they fly? No? So why is it imposed on MY grandaughter?

    Cuz your suspect! (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 11:41:49 AM EST
    Tell me about it Ben, my sweet little nieces are flying out Sunday...if their Dad wasn't gonna be there I'd have to be.  Instead I'll be on standby with bail money if it gets ugly.

    And the youngest has a metal rod in her due to scoliosis...can't imagine what she's gonna be in for if she sets off some bells and whistles.


    My mom's new husband is African-American... (none / 0) (#22)
    by Dadler on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 11:56:10 AM EST
    ...and his name is Musheer Ahmad. They travel by air a lot and you can imagine the crap he, and they, have to go through every time. He is a patient man.

    What About (none / 0) (#27)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 01:34:10 PM EST
    Solo teens, are they seriously going to pay down 12 year olds without a parent present ?

    at first, the under 12 regs sounded good (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by nycstray on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 01:44:44 PM EST
    but now that I think about it, maturing teens are still subjected to it. Oy.

    Why not... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 01:41:31 PM EST
    kids have gotten strip-searched at school without their parents present to find contraband ibuprofen Scott...common decency is dead as far as the authoritarians are concerned.

    Good news for pedophiles though...another line of work for 'em that makes great cover for their sick ways.


    For once all the (none / 0) (#31)
    by vml68 on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 01:49:18 PM EST
    NJ lawmakers are on the right side!

    I didn't believe it... (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 02:06:21 PM EST
    till I saw it was the state legislators united...I knew Sen. "Bedwetter" Lautenberg of NJ couldn't be on the right side of this one, he's the clown who called for the manhunt for the romantic at Newark Airport.

    Well Kdog (none / 0) (#36)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 02:27:58 PM EST
    These are two totally different events, one was some overzealous school lackey.  Who if I am not mistaken, was fired.

    The other is done by federal employees as part of their standard operating procedures.


    True, very different circumstances... (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 05:42:30 PM EST
    but comparable...a zero-tolerance quest leading to common sense & decency erosion, and the manhandling of kids in inappropriate ways under the color of authority.

    It's the same sickness...


    There is an appropriate way for our (none / 0) (#24)
    by observed on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 12:50:52 PM EST
    national leaders to deal with the public's concern, which is for Obama and Napoleanitano
    to be publicly shown getting their groins groped,
    and to show them passing through the screener, showing the public exactly what the TSA employee sees.
    I am not joking, btw.
    Either this procedure is good enough for them, or it's got to go.

    Is that really how the scan images look? (none / 0) (#30)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 01:46:44 PM EST
    I thought they were a lot more detailed than that. And I didn't know there was also a regular photo being taken at the same time.

    A partial answer... (none / 0) (#33)
    by vml68 on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 01:52:18 PM EST
    this particular machine does not offer the cringe-inducing resolution that some others do

    Ah, thank you. (none / 0) (#34)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 02:00:54 PM EST
    Joshua watched a little boy (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 02:56:10 PM EST
    get patted down on CNN.  Not only do they want nude photos of all of us, but just because you submitted to the photograph doesn't mean you won't get the sexually violating pat.  You can still be pulled out and physically fondled.  He said he doesn't want to fly anymore.

    I am sure it is fun for the kids to (none / 0) (#39)
    by vml68 on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 03:08:49 PM EST
    watch mom and dad being patted down too... :-(!

    Not all of us, Tracy (none / 0) (#52)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 02:36:54 PM EST
    I was recently at the airport, and this group of TSA agents carefully chose the young, attractive women for the line going through the scanner. The others all just went through metal detectors.

    That is disgusting! (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 04:33:01 PM EST
    Just flat out disgusting

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 07:38:38 PM EST
    If I lived in that city, I'd be standing on the other side of the glass secretly filming those creeps for the evening news.

    I'm Going to Insist on an Aggressive Pat Down (none / 0) (#38)
    by kaleidescope on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 03:05:27 PM EST
    I'll try very hard to have an erection when they do it.  There must be a subset of people who will get off on being patted down.  I encourage everyone to moan and groan when they get patted down.  Is there a penalty for simulating an orgasm?

    Only if you're eating at (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 04:28:20 PM EST
    a deli in New York ;-)

    Ha! I'll have what kaleidescope's having! (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 04:44:15 PM EST
    That's brilliant protest theater... (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 05:44:30 PM EST
    they couldn't possibly threaten a 10k fine for enjoying it, could they?

    No Fine But (none / 0) (#49)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 11:29:01 AM EST
    I can imagine them deciding to show the wannna pervert the extent of their authority, aka the airport prostate exam.

    I can also some of those clowns just waiting for the opportunity to show some wise guy who's the boss of the airport.


    Good point sir... (none / 0) (#51)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 02:20:59 PM EST
    ya can't beat City Hall, and ya certainly can't beat this TSA on steroids.

    If only I could get an erection damn it (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 18, 2010 at 04:33:57 PM EST
    For once, I have penis envy

    I want to give them the finger in my (none / 0) (#47)
    by ruffian on Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 08:50:37 PM EST
    scan picture. Is that legal?

    Forget anarchy in the UK (none / 0) (#62)
    by Ikonoko on Mon Nov 22, 2010 at 02:50:45 AM EST
    How about some anarchy in the US? Those unmanned tethered "eyes in the skies" could only have their tethers severed creating that area to be cleared temporally.