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TSA Buying New Imaging Machines, Says Privacy Protected

Photo: Chad McDermott

The Transportation Security Administration announced Wednesday it is spending $44.8 million to purchase new imaging machines it claims will eliminate passenger-specific images and enhance privacy.

TSA ordered 300 of the millimeter wave Advanced Imaging Technology machines for deployment at airports across the country.

TSA said it began installing software on AIT machines in July to eliminate passenger-specific images, replacing them with a more generic image to help identify threats.

“Advanced imaging technology is one of the best layers of security we have to address the threats of today and tomorrow,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole. “We remain committed to deploying this integral counterterrorism tool in order to ensure the highest level of security for the traveling public.”

Full-body scanners have long been controversial, raising concerns the scanners invade privacy of air travelers.

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One comment

  1. The scanners already had this software and were using it in Europe over a year ago, so why has it taken so long to use it here? These are the same machines with a software overlay to hide the image shown to the public. The Rapi-Scan x-ray units will still produce a realistic naked image and pose a cancer risk. The EPIC lawsuit revealed that TSA has stored these images and TSA acknowledged this. So there are thousands of nude images of passengers being stored in computers without their knowledge.

    When the scanners were put into service in November TSA contended that the images were cartoonish and according to Blogger Bob at TSA could be on the cover of Readers Digest or shown to children. In August Denver TSA area director Pat Ahlstrom, said of the scans up until now “They were graphic, no doubt about it,” So the TSA story about these being “chalk outlines” was clearly a lie being used to pacify travelers and conceal the fact they were in fact being strip searched.

    Even the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has challenged the validity of the TSA results and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory disputed TSA’s claim that they deemed these safe. NIST indicated that operators could be harmed and recommended that anyone working near the scanners wear a dosimeter. When AFGE requested that screeners be allowed to wear dosimeters TSA refused the request.

    There will still be naked images in the system and they will still be susceptible to leaks onto the internet. TSA is trying to score some PR points before they have to seek public comment on the scanners as ordered in the EPIC case ruling.

    TSA has repeatedly lied about every aspect of the screening process and this is no exception. It is long past time to dismantle this agency and prosecute those responsible for this travesty.

    TSA Crimes & Abuses

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