Doug Bedell — August 17, 2010, 4:16 pm

Folks On TSA’s Body Scanners Might Be Upset

Okay, so who’s using what body scanner where? It’s a marker for our times, but also a bit disquieting, that some of the body scanners of the type, at least, being installed at U.S. airports can “store, print or transmit images” of the people they screen.

NextGov has a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) saying that  some of the units at TSA’s Transportation Security Lab can retain images, but only for training and testing purposes. Body scanners at airports cannot “store, print or transmit images,” he said.

We would hope not. It will be vexing enough to get travelers accustomed to, and tolerant of, the new scanners without having to picture them as collecting prurient photos that who knows who may someday see. That’s the concern that prompted the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) to launch a couple of lawsuits against the machines, aimed at obtaining an “emergency” stay against their use.

These are tough issues, which get down, like many, to trust. But EPIC already has 100 images of “undressed” individuals from similar scanning devices used at federal courthouses. Not a happy omen, it appears.

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