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Airport travelers can be reassured, a new bill will make it more likely that the federal employee leering at their naked body won't share that image with his friends.  (Source: Corbis)

The federal government is spending billions in taxpayer money on the scanners, but they've been shown to be no more accurate than metal detectors at detecting dangerous materials like explosives.  (Source: Zimbio)
New law may placate some people's concerns about scanners, but does it go far enough

Every day thousands of Americans are leered at “in the buff” by U.S. Transportation Safety Administration employees.  This uncomfortable -- to some -- situation is justified in the name of national security.  Unfortunately, independent testing has shown the scanners to have trouble detecting some of the most dangerous types of materials -- low-density chemical products like explosives or plastic guns.

In a measure to placate a disgruntled public, the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate has moved to make it illegal to share images taken in the scans.  Under the pending provision in the Security Screening Confidential Data Privacy Act, sharing such an image could land you in jail for a year or net you a $100,000 USD fine.

Supposedly the scanners don't have the capability to save or transfer pictures.  Recent documents from cases involving the U.S. Federal Marshals reveal, though, that the scanners not only have these capabilities, but they are regularly used.

The bill is sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (NY-D) [profile] and Ben Nelson (Nebr.-D) [profile] and co-sponsored by Senators Daniel Akaka (Haw.-D) [profile], Sheldon Whitehouse (Conn.-D) [profile], Jeanne Shaheen (NH-D) [profile], Jon Tester (Mont.-D) [profile], and Robert Menendez (NJ-D) [profile].  None of the Senate's 49 Republicans and neither of its 2 Independents sponsored the bill.

The new guidelines for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration are expected to pass through Congress relatively smoothly.  However, Democratic U.S. President Barack Obama, like the Republican President George W. Bush before him, will likely continue to push to expand the deployment and funding for the invasive body scans.

At the end of the day the question was, and still is -- how far is the U.S. prepared to go in the name of security?  With suicide bombers in places like Saudi Arabia trying increasingly unorthodox like inserting bombs in their rectal cavities [1] [2], one has to wonder exactly how intimately the federal government is willing to intimately poke, prod, and image its citizens in the name of the "War on Terror" -- and how much taxpayer money the government is willing to spend to do so.



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RE: Umm....
By mdogs444 on 2/10/2011 9:31:49 AM , Rating: 5
While I agree, the bigger question is why is this even necessary? The DHS originally told us that the pictures are not even saved to a disk in the first place - so if they cannot be saved, how can they be shared?

I don't think creating legislation to make it criminal is the answer, when all they are really doing is covering up for the branches of federal government that have been caught lying with their foot in their mouth.

Perhaps they should be charging the officials who lied to the public with criminal offenses.


RE: Umm....
By FITCamaro on 2/10/2011 10:17:09 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed.


RE: Umm....
By ipay on 2/10/2011 12:48:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
so if they cannot be saved, how can they be shared?

Remember that lady that was charged by RIAA for singing in her store?

This is similar, in that workers that watch the images can't say nothing about the person to colleagues.
So things like "that woman has really nice round boobies" is now a fast jail ticket.


RE: Umm....
By Solandri on 2/10/2011 2:49:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't think creating legislation to make it criminal is the answer, when all they are really doing is covering up for the branches of federal government that have been caught lying with their foot in their mouth.

It occurs to me that there could be more to it than that. This doesn't just make images distributed by perverted DHS employees illegal. It also makes it illegal to use the images on any website attempting to demonstrate to the public why these scanners are an invasion of privacy. Now you have to settle for "a nearly photo-realistic B&W image of you naked" text description instead of picture demonstrating it.

Maybe you can skirt the law by putting a mosaic over the people's faces and genitals?


RE: Umm....
By catavalon21 on 2/10/2011 7:29:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The DHS originally told us that the pictures are not even saved to a disk in the first place - so if they cannot be saved, how can they be shared?


And we actually believed them? My guess is they are indeed able to be retrieved later ... evidence, and all...much easier to design it in from the start than to wish it was there later.


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