Blog posts ‘nude body scanner pics’ online to highlight pressing dangers to privacy

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WASHINGTON - Gizmodo, the website that posted dozens of pictures of visitors to a Florida courthouse being x-rayed by the controversial new body scanners revealing their intimate body parts, has said that despite TSA’s claim of eliminating identifying features, there remains the danger of similar pictures being viewed by others in the near future.

According to the Daily Mail, the 100 images show visitors to a Florida courthouse standing inside the machine as it takes their photograph, their intimate body parts clearly visible.

They were posted by technology blog Gizmodo after it emerged that US Marshals at the court had saved 35,000 images in breach of official rules.

Gizmodo, which published the saved images, has admitted that they were not high quality but said the breach of security was significant. Under the Freedom of Information Act, it has put a selection of photographs online, taking care to mask the identities of all involved.

A website has now been reportedly set up urging a public show of defiance on the day before Thanksgiving by refusing to cooperate if asked to go through a scanner. nder regulations drawn up by the Transportation Security Administration and other government bodies, which use the scanners, images taken by them should be ‘automatically deleted from the system after it is cleared by the remotely located security officer’.

Images from the scans cannot be saved or printed, according to the TSA. Faces are blurred and agents who directly interact with passengers do not see the scans, the paper said.

More recent scanners reportedly have significantly sharper cameras, which means there would be more detail on their images.

The Gizmodo editors wrote on their blog: “We understand that it will be controversial to release these photographs but identifying features have been eliminated. And fortunately for those who walked through the scanner in Florida last year, this mismanaged machine used the less embarrassing imaging technique.”

“Yet the leaking of these photographs demonstrates the security limitations of not just this particular machine…but body scanners operated by federal employees in our courthouses and by TSA officers in airports across the country. That we can see these images today almost guarantees that others will be seeing similar images in the future. If you’re lucky, it might even be a picture of you or your family,” he added.

The row over airport scanners erupted last week when software developer John Tyner, secretly recorded himself telling a TSA security guard: ‘If you touch my junk I will have you arrested’ during an airport pat-down.

Pilots and passengers alike have voiced their suspicion that privacy is being ignored in the quest for greater ’security’. (ANI)

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