Gadget blog Gizmodo.com has obtained access to 100 images captured by a whole body imaging machine that was installed at a Florida courthouse. We covered the incident back in August, but a Freedom of Information Act request has finally produced the actual photos.
When these machines were installed, we were all told that none of them would actually store photos. As images started leaking out, it became obvious that these claims were of course false. In the video clip created by Gizmodo, you see people occupying the scanner, along with his or her body scan.
There is some good news – as the images clearly show that they don’t reveal all that much. People hoping to see clear images of genitalia will be quite disappointed.
Still, it is quite alarming that the images were stored in the first place – though we do need to point out that this particular scanner was not operated by the TSA – it is a millimeter wave scanner, operated by the U.S. Marshals service. Even though the technology and operation is slightly different from the airport machines, the resulting images are very similar.
Of course it also means that despite all the reassurances, the machines are capable of storing photos, and I am confident that it is just a matter of time till an airport is involved in a similar privacy incident.
What do you think? Do these photos make you more or less afraid to use the whole body scanning machines?
Nigerian investigative reporters visited the airport during a slow period when security officials had time to spare. The journalists found some of them hanging around the scanner display. Since the scanner blurs the face in an attempt to give anonymity, the officers were hurrying over to the line to peek at the passengers before going back to the scanner to check out their favorites.
The scanner was installed after the failed attack by underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was from Lagos, yet technicians have revealed a full-body scan wouldn’t have caught him. An Israeli security expert who helped plan security at Israel’s super-strict Ben Gurion Airport says body scanners don’t work. Israeli airports don’t use the device.
Many Nigerians feel it is against their religion to expose themselves to a stranger, while others fear the effects of radiation. The investigative journalists witnessed passengers objecting to go through the scanner until security turned off one of the metal detectors, giving them the choice of using the full-body scanner or waiting in a longer line.
After the rest of the country, the large New York area airports are next in line to receive the infamous whole body imaging scanners. The Port Authority announced that La Guardia, JFK and Newark will receive 39 of the machines (24 for JFK, 14 for Newark and 1 for LaGuardia).
As of right now, the machines are still voluntary, and are only used when you have been selected for secondary screening. You are allowed to opt-out and request an old fashioned pat-down, but TSA agents often “forget” to point this out, as a manual screening takes more time.
The machines themselves are still quite controversial, and not without their problems – just ask Rolando Negrin, who beat up his supervisor after he was mocked for his “small manhood” during a TSA training session. Jo Margetson is probably not a big fan either, after a checkpoint operator complimented her on her “gigantic tits“. But more importantly, the safety aspects of these machines have not been fully tested.
The first batch of machines will be installed in New York next month.
Last week, we told you about Flying Pasties. They’re the 2mm thick pieces of rubber that profess to conceal your nether regions from security agents monitoring you while you pass through airport fully body scanners. For obvious reasons, we can’t film somebody walking through a full body scanner while wearing Flying Pasties. However, we can see how they look and feel.
I tried out Flying Pasties to see if they’re the newest must-have travel gear or just a gimmick. Should you order a set immediately? Watch the video to find out.