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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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come on
By Fanatical Meat on 2/10/2011 10:13:17 AM , Rating: 1
listen the images from these look stupid anyways, however I do understand someone who flies frequently or is famous may not want to constantly go in these things for exposure or the image being leaked but anyone else is being stupid and we all need to stop talking about this because its making an issue out of something really minor.

RE: come on
By SiliconJon on 2/10/2011 10:30:32 AM , Rating: 2
Many of the images touted by "reporters" are years old, from antiquated equipment. Power and capability have vastly increased since then. We have not yet seen a single, full-quality raw image from these devices (be sure, their power output levels, and thus image quality, are adjustable). The closest we have seen to max-capability were some cellphone shots of one of the monitors in 2010, which was significantly more detailed than most of the pictures that cover these images, and even the pic on the monitor was not 1:1 as it was shrunk to fit the monitor.

RE: come on
By wookie1 on 2/10/2011 10:36:03 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think that those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to preserve your freedom, liberty, and right to privacy would agree. You give up so easily what they sacrificed everything for, and for no benefit. The TSA has never stopped any attacks, the airplane passengers appear to be the only effective defense.

Treating everyone who simply wants to travel like a prison inmate does not make us any safer. People have gotten through the porno-scanners with weapons undetected. It's also unlikely that they would have found the explosives the underwear bomber was carrying. But why not have some flunky look us over for his/her amusement or gratification.

I second the previous poster's question about why is this necessary when supposedly there is no way to save images? Of course, nobody believed that lie anyway. You know that the TSA would want to save images to cover their ass when someone got through the porno-scanner with weapons so that they could point out that it's not their fault, the weapons were'nt visible on the scan.

RE: come on
By The Raven on 2/10/2011 10:57:31 AM , Rating: 2
Well there is this thing called "The National Debt" and we don't have money for this nonsense, whether you mind the scan or not. The military is a huge chunk of that along with entitlement programs, etc. but every little thing counts and it is the attitude/mindset of the people who get these kind of things going that is the real crux. Get that in check and we might be able to get the social programs, etc. under control.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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