Courthouse In Florida Has 35,000 Body Scans Of Citizens

Like it or not, advanced imaging technology (AIT)–capable of producing highly detailed pics of your naked body–is expanding rapidly throughout U.S. airports. Last month, there were at least 142 AIT units deployed in eleven airports, but by the end of the year that will jump to more than 450 nationwide, spread across at least forty airports (see full list below). The TSA has tried to downplay privacy issues by saying that the units won’t save images, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t. In fact, the U.S. Marshals Service in Florida says they’ve got over 35,000 AIT scans of people saved. They also say that an AIT unit tested in the Washington, D.C. federal courthouse was sent back to the manufacturer with images still stored on it.

The TSA on the other hand promises no images will be saved, transmitted, or printed, but CNET points out that the agency’s procurement specs (PDF) specifically request that some units possess the ability to export images and transfer them across high speed data networks.

I’m not trying to suggest some nefarious conspiracy by the government to create its own “Travelers Gone Wild” DVD franchise. But it does seem unlikely that the AIT unit that shoots a pic of your junk on your next trip will somehow be impervious to errors, oversights, or misbehavior, no matter what the TSA tells us.

Here are the airports where you get to experience being a virtual exhibitionist. Most in the second group will come online later this year; those marked with an asterisk already have at least one AIT unit but are marked to receive more.

  • Boston Logan International (BOS)
  • Charlotte Douglas International (CLT)
  • Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International (CVG)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FFL)
  • Kansas City International (MCI)
  • Los Angeles International (LAX)
  • Mineta San José International (SJC)
  • Oakland International (OAK)
  • Port Columbus International (CMH)
  • San Diego International (SAN)
  • Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)*
  • Bradley International Airport (BDL)
  • Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)*
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Fresno Air Terminal (FAT)
  • General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
  • Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR)
  • Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC)
  • Harrisburg International Airport (MDT)
  • Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND)*
  • Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)*
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • McCarran International Airport (LAS)*
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)*
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Nashville International Airport (BNA)
  • Palm Beach International Airport (PBI)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Richmond International Airport (RIC)*
  • Saipan International Airport (GSN)
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)*
  • San Antonio International Airport (SAT)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)*
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA)*

“Feds admit storing checkpoint body scan images” [CNET]
July 20th announcement of further AIT unit deployment in 28 more U.S. airports [Department of Homeland Security]
March 5th announcement of AIT unit deployment in 11 U.S. Airports [Department of Homeland Security]


Edit Your Comment

  1. HoJu says:

    Meh. Whatever. I’m comfortable in my body. I don’t care who sees my goods.

    • Underpants Gnome says:

      So am I, but the neighborhood association wanted a “”Traditional”” Christmas display….

      And wasn’t HoJu supposed to be Bart’s new name?

    • sth9669 says:

      yeah, I don’t really think the that’s relevant to the question at hand (ie, does the gov’t have the right to image me and potentially save it). . . I mean if someone’s a bondage fetishist and they like getting handcuffed, does that mean it’s cool for the cops to arrest them for no reason because they like being handcuffed and “treated rough”. No, the question is this: is/should this be allowed under our constitution or is our sacred document taking one for the team yet again?

    • NumberSix says:

      Agree totally.

    • trentblase says:

      Pics please

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I bet I’m more comfortable…

    • peebozi says:

      Cool, while your at it, do you have a daughter, niece or mother you’d like to show me (over 18 only please).

    • hansolo247 says:

      But I paid for these machines.

      THAT is the problem I have.

  2. dolemite says:

    Any of those images children? If so, we’ve got a lot of people in possession of child porn.

    • smo0 says:

      I hope we can use this to get them removed… it’s my understanding that flying as been much safer since 9/11 without these – so why all of the added security… what’s happened to warrant THIS now?

      • dolemite says:

        Yeah, I’m kind of tired of the government always using child porn and terrorism as excuses to monitor our emails, web usage, phone calls, etc. It’s about time it was used against them.

      • MuffinSangria says:

        Kickbacks, investments in the companies that make them, etc. Someone high up is making money off of these.

      • nbs2 says:

        Michael Chertoff happened.

        1) Declare we need fancy Nude-o-Scopes while working for DHS
        2) Create company that makes fancy Nude-o-Scopes
        3) Profit!!

        • Bob says:

          You forgot a few steps:

          1) Declare we need fancy Nude-o-Scopes(TM) while working for DHS
          2) Create company that makes fancy Nude-o-Scopes(TM)
          3) Create a shell private company
          4) Sell each and every Nude-o-Scope(TM) pics to a sleazy private company for…..
          5) Mucho Profit!!
          6) Then protect sleazy company from child pr0n laws.
          7) Head of DHS at that time is either arrested or runs for President (nothing in between)
          8) If the head of DHS wins the election he will be dictator for life.
          9) I will then apply for refugee status in Canada and get my work Visa.
          10) Then I will head to the Territories.

          • kennedar says:

            Sorry, we have these horrible things in our airports in Canada to. In fact, I believe if you fly into the States from Canada, you have to go through one now, although I could be wrong about that. I know that every airport here has them and has had them for a while!

      • RvLeshrac says:

        Flying hasn’t been *any* safer since 9/11. It wasn’t any safer *BEFORE* 9/11.

        The only thing that has changed is the *perception* of security, not the actual security. The TSA fails miserably *every single time* they’re tested.

    • Lollerface says:

      I could be wrong, but I don’t think nude photos of children are automatically porn. I think to qualify as child porn an image has to have a sexual slant to it.

      • OnePumpChump says:

        Can someone jack off to it? Porn.

        Yes, pretty much everything is porn.

        • JMILLER says:

          People jack off to poop and piss videos. When I was young I knew dudes who whacked off to bras and panties in a catalog. I guess life i sporn

      • hansolo247 says:

        Sexual slant…check. These pictures have it in spades.

        Would the feds prosecute a perv for sending this to other pervs?

        YES. It is porn.

      • Link_Shinigami says:

        Honestly? There is no minor nudes that can be called anything but in this day and age. Oddly enough there used to be under 18 nude models for art. Those days are gone, anything that shows anyone under 18 or so can be considered CP. What’s worse is, those pictures your parents have of you as a child covered in chicken pox? Get the right SOD and it’s CP. Draw a stick figure that is really small? Someone could argue it’s a child.

        Anything that is a child, whether drawn, photo’d in any situation (As I said, covered in chicken pox, bathing suit fell off, 5 yr old in the tub, etc) is being labeled now.

        Dolemite made a good point, because kids have to go through this, how the hell do we not know the guy watching isn’t some sicko? They say men watch men and woman watch woman, which is fine I guess (As long as they delete the scans, which they aren’t), but who the hell looks at the kids and how the hell is it justified?

        • Conformist138 says:

          In an art history class we were shown a photograph of two young (preteen) girls completely nude on a beach. It was well-composed, well-shot, clearly professional. The pose was friendly and casual, not “mature” and no overtly sexual body language. Just no clothing (or, no swimsuits, really). The photo was taken in France where nude beaches are (or were) common enough that no one there took any offense. The image was shown in the US and was considered child porn and (I think, been awhile) the photographer may have gotten into hot water. The telling part was when my prof showed us the same image again with black bars over the breasts and pubic areas. The point was, the first image was innocent. Sure, a sick person COULD see it and they then COULD get aroused, but that is 100% outside the image and completely on the sick person. The censorship actually drew attention to the fact that these girls were nude and could be seen sexually. Uncensored, the original feeling and intent, just of two girls enjoying their totally normal life and culture, was far more important.

          So, chicken or the egg, my friends. Did we really get rid of all the smut, or just remove the shades of gray in life? We seem to have decided to AGREE with perverts. We have decided that, yeah, any time you can see a child partially or entirely nude, it is reasonable to assume it is sexually exciting. That is truly sick, that people see a naked child think not “oh, the beauty and innocence of the very young…” but instead go for “oh, how inappropriate, what if someone starts masturbating to that?”

          Yeah, I liked the photo without the censor bars a lot better.

  3. c!tizen says:

    Dear god, an authoritative government entity lying to the people of the US? Well, I never….

    Look, here’s the deal… the TSA is run MOSTLY by uneducated, highly immature high school drop-outs. These are the types of people that get kicks out of stuff like this. They will save the images, no doubt. Mind you, these are the same people who make fun of co-workers for the way their “junk” is imaged on these scanners. If you think they’re not passing around and saving images of you or your family or friends or anyone going through this machine, enjoy your naivety.

    Some people don’t care, some people do, if you do then opt for the pat down and move on with life. I prefer not to fly at all, though I understand that circumstances dicate your mode of travel.

  4. smo0 says:

    Yeah, no – dont think so…. I don’t think I’ll be flying any time soon… or .. ever again actually.

  5. Magspie says:

    We really need to move back to the West coast so we don’t need to keep flying to visit family. I’m ready to stop flying altogether but the kids have to see their grandparents, and we just don’t have enough vacation time to drive cross country several times per year.

  6. APFPilot says:

    I was flying from IND the other day and noticed that the machine at my line didn’t have the mandidated sign explaining that it was optional and with sample images. I pointed that out to the screener who said it isn’t optional, only if the machine is broken. I called over the supervisor who corrected him and shut the machine down until she could get a sign.

    • Angus99 says:

      I am astounded you weren’t arrested and held as threat. I admire your guts, and tip my hat to you.

    • sth9669 says:

      Yeah, seriously, I’m surprised they didn’t just shoot first and ask questions later, since only a terrorist with a bomb strapped to their junk wouldn’t want to go through an imaging machine and have it saved, possibly forever. . .

      Stupid government goons. . .

    • mac-phisto says:

      thank you for doing the right thing. many in your shoes would never have even spoken up about it.

    • Etoiles says:

      They’re supposed to have signs?!

      At Providence (PVD) about 3 weeks ago, my husband opted for the pat-down — done in full public view in the middle of the room, basically. I’m really, REALLY glad that I ended up routed through the metal detector because I wouldn’t have been comfortable at all with a pat-down like the one he had, in the area where he had it. I’ve seen too many goobers enjoying the spectacle of female pat-downs in my travels through the last three or four years…

  7. MuffinSangria says:

    Seriously, why in the world is the ACLU not all over this.

    • ARP says:

      The ACLU wants terrorists to win, and apparently you do to. What have you got to hide if you haven’t committed any crime?*,2933,162941,00.html


    • pantheonoutcast says:

      At present, the *American* Civil Liberties Union seems to be preoccupied with protecting the “rights” of people who aren’t American.

      • athensguy says:

        Holy Crap!!! When did Mexico get severed from the North American continent?? I am unaware of what must have been the biggest earthquake in recent memory.

        Also, everybody in the United States is covered by the United States constitution.

        • pantheonoutcast says:

          You don’t know what the ACLU is, do you? Mexico is not part of America. Hence, they are not Americans. See, it’s a different country, but you might not know that if you’ve been listening to the wrong people.

          From the ACLU’s site:

          “The ACLU is *our nation’s* guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.”

          Since the people who are illegally in *our nation* are criminals, then it would be hypocritical of the ACLU to defend them, as that would not be protecting the Constitution or the laws of the US – it would be breaking them.

          • Conformist138 says:

            Um, no. Defending people is never against the law and is always in the interest of civil rights and liberties.

            Some rights are considered rights here, no matter what else you have done. We can’t round up illegals and put them in slave camps. Slavery is illegal here no matter what the citizenship status of the person. Free speech even, illegals can speak freely and we cannot jail them for an opinion we don’t like. These things aren’t just for those of us with the right papers, it’s for anyone who is on our soil. We just hold some rights to be, how is it… self-evident. People are people, so in OUR country, THEY still have certain rights.

          • Conformist138 says:

            Also, the ACLU is fighting against how AMERICANS are treating detainees on AMERICAN soil. American’s don’t get free passes to abuse detainees. The ACLU should defend Americans from rights abuses as well as make sure Americans are held to a standard where we cannot commit similar abuses against others. Fair is fair, can’t say it’s wrong to defend mentally ill people being held indefinitely in detention centers who are not being cared for humanely just because the ill person is Mexican and the employees are American. If it was the other way around and we were being held en masse and treated badly, you would be foaming at the mouth with a hand on the big red button. Just think how we react to one or two people held in bad prisons in other countries.

  8. benbell says:
  9. macinjosh says:

    Are you asked to do jumping jacks when going through these?

    • Angus99 says:

      No, just to turn your head and cough.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Nope, just the YMCA dance.

    • David in Brasil says:

      No, but when I come back to the States now, I always say in a very loud voice “Can y’all see me naked? – I trimmed up a little, just in case”. This goes over real well at 6:00 a.m. in Houston when I’m catching my connecting flight.

  10. Ahardy55 says:

    You are allowed to opt for a pat down if you don’t want to use the imaging system. So, un-needed x-ray or groped by a stranger….your call!

    • Zowzers says:

      problem is that you have to know that you are allowed to opt out prior to getting there, as there is no sign saying you are allowed to get a pat down instead.

  11. NarcolepticGirl says:

    I personally don’t care if there was a scan of my body along with thousands of others.
    There’s no information attached to it, right?

    Looks like my airport didn’t make the scan list. probably because it’s pretty small.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      Even if personal information was stored with the images – it’s pretty much the same if you were fingerprinted at a jail and released after questioning – I doubt they destroy that.

      • smo0 says:

        Yeah but there are laws to protect that information from being released including the mass amounts of backlash if that were to occur.
        It’s something that’s been regulated for DECADES… this is new… bad things happen with the “new toy.” Especially when you have a bunch of “dudes” running that machinery…..

        • Bob says:

          The steps would be this:

          1) The Nude-o-matic(tm) pics will be released on the internet illegally.
          2) DHS will try to cover up the problem
          3) Several Journalists will dump their story to Wikileaks before they are arrested, their PCs and notebook burned, and they are sent to Gitmo.
          4) Several DHS personnel, low level ones, will be arrested. They will be the scapegoats.
          5) The story ends by the internet never forgets and the pics remain out there forever.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Once you accept arbitrary strip searches (which like the recording of fingerprints should only be done after you are arrested), storage of your nude portrait isn’t indeed that much of an issue. Where can I find your web-cam stream?

  12. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    As someone who worked with a airport grade X-ray scanner, the units I worked with were pretty “dumb”, and while they did(optionally) contain a Zip Disk drive, access to where the drive was stored was pretty well locked up on the machine. Also, the software interface it ran was very user oriented, and didn’t give you many options, my guess is so that people didn’t mess with the software and cause it to need repairs.

    The thing is that since many people don’t fly often, if the pictures were leaked, I’m sure they would have some kind of watermark on them which could narrow down where they were taken, and if they are so detailed you could identify someone, you could narrow down who was working at the exact time the scan was taken.

    That said, I have no problem with these things as long as the TSA doesn’t charge me for pepto for the employees when I walk through.

  13. muadib says:

    Note to all airline companies: Find a way to kick out the TSA and its security theater and I will fly again. Until then, i will avoid flying like the plague and you will see $0 from me.

    • Sheogorath says:


      AMTRAK gets my business from now on.

      • JMILLER says:

        Wow, it must have been a nice trip to Hawaii and Europe. Oh so basically due to some “principle” that you will “show them” you don;t get to go to parts of the world that could educate you and show you beauty. Your choice, but your threats to not travel with them again are boring and make the airlines and everybody else yawn.

  14. will_o_wisp says:

    I saw it reported that TSA said the images COULD NOT be saved, not just that they wouldn’t be. So once again we are lied to for the sake of “security”. Quote: TSA Chief Gail Rossides says
    “These images cannot be stored. An officer cannot print off the image, so as soon as an analysis is made, that image is destroyed,” said Rossides.


    I am less concerned with the images and far more concerned with the lies.

    • verdegrrl says:

      Exactly! They just tell us whatever they think we want to hear, and then steamroll past those statements.

      There is now a push to install them at other points like sports events, trains, etc.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I’m guessing depending on the machine, the option to put in a storage drive is offered. I can say my Pontiac Sunbird couldn’t engage the turbocharger, but someone else could say they could engage theirs.

      When I worked scanning packages, I had about a 3-4 belt length image that was “stored” on screen that I could scroll back to. But as soon as that I went past 3-4 belt lengths, the older part of the image would get erased and replaced by newer stuff.

  15. theSuperman says:

    And to think I thought BP invented the “Junk Shot,” when in fact it was the TSA.

  16. will_o_wisp says:


  17. nbs2 says:

    Don’t forget – TSA promised these would be secondary screening devices, with an opt-out option available.

    Now, they are moving them to primary and making them mandatory.

    • Chris Walters says:

      They’re still not mandatory, as of the July 20th press release from the DHS:

      “In addition, AIT screening is optional to all passengers. Those who opt out may request alternative screening, to include a physical pat-down.”

      • nbs2 says:

        Sorry. That was meant to include a separator indicating that some have been moved to primary and locations are making them de facto mandatory (with TSA sabers rattling about making them de jure mandatory) by engaging in retaliatory tactics against op-outers.

        Of course, it would have been more succinct.

  18. azsumrg1rl says:

    You forgot Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX)*. []

    Sky Harbor had it as early as 2007, as it was one of the original 19 field test locations. []

  19. IThinkThereforeIAm says:

    I don’t give a hoot whether a government agency stores/distributes/laughs at my semi-naked pictures. How on earth could this be used to infringe on my privacy? I worry more about who and where my health, financial or any other “sensitive” information is stored/recorded or distributed, that could actually be used to harm me either physically or financially.

    What is really disturbing about this is that (along with many a “security measure” added to air travel), I do not think that it improves safety in proportion to its cost (money-, time- and convenience-wise). If the government smartypants could come up with a system that would 100% prevent people smuggling and using devices/materials to airplanes that can actually be used to blow up or hijack a plane, I’d say it’s worth it. But this… it’s just another measure to show that “we are doing something”…

  20. davere says:

    Not only did the TSA say that the images couldn’t be stored, they also said that the machines couldn’t be network. This made no sense to me since the machines transmit images to a computer in another location, and for that, they need some kind of network.

    From your article “the agency’s procurement specs (PDF) specifically request that some units possess the ability to export images and transfer them across high speed data networks.”

    So yeah, my suspicions were right.

    I wish politicians would spend some time fixing this joke of an agency.

  21. acarr260 says:

    Your list is far from complete. Fort Wayne has a scanner, and Detroit has multiple scanners in use – and those are just from recent personal experience.

  22. Lollerface says:

    I still think this has a huge potential for abuse. Celebrity collections, hot body collections, etc. Pictures will be leaked whether it’s through a networked unit or cell phone pics of the TSA monitor.

  23. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I wonder how far off it is until we get body scanners like in Total Recall. Not too many privacy concerns with those since all they show are guns and skeletons.

  24. areaman says:

    The TSA on the other hand promises no images will be saved, transmitted, or printed…

    They’re lying. It’s that simple.

  25. anime_runs_my_life says:

    SJC? Really? Must’ve not been working that day because I didn’t go through it. I had to go through the regular scanner, then go through a second check because the buttons on my jeans made the scanner go off. The TSA agents there aren’t the brightest bulb in the pack either.

  26. NashuaConsumerist says:

    Makes me want to tape ‘U R A PERVERT’ to my chest with tin foil so they get the message the next time I fly out of boston.

  27. BigHeadEd says:

    Now some schlep at the TSA knows what my poor wife has known for 25+ years.

    Seriously though, I went through one of these things a few weeks back and found the process to be inefficient as hell (“no sir, overlay your hands, don’t join them. Do you have a boarding pass in your pocket? It’s got to come out.” Etc.) On a positive note, at least they are training us the correct stance for submission to authority.

    If you have no problem with a complete stranger seeing essentially nude pictures of you, why not just strip naked in a room for them? Does not seeing the voyeur make the process any less disturbing?

    • JMILLER says:

      I have no issue with anybody seeing me naked. Why would I care? It is only an uptight person who would be offended. If it got me through security quicker, I would walk through with my dick out

  28. random123 says:

    Who cares??

  29. ngwoo says:

    Seeing me naked causes the other guy more grief than it causes me so whatever.

  30. eys says:

    I would like to point out that a celebrity’s body scan images had already allegedly been identified… The airport claimed it wasn’t possible to print the images and didn’t investigate. But I believe I read that pictures can be printed when the machines are in test mode.

  31. q`Tzal says:

    Despite what the TSA has said about not being able to copy, upload or otherwise transfer the images the TSA seems to be missing the point:
    What valid Transportation SECURITY reason is there for the images being stored any longer than the time it takes that person to get out of sight of the security checkpoint, duck in to a rest room, assemble their weapon and head on to the plane?
    Short of a court case that needs evidence that the person had a weapon, and quite honestly I expect a follow up frisking if the security puppets/goons think they see a weapon, what valid reason could there be for the images to be controlled as anything other than what they are: personal and private information?

  32. hansolo247 says:

    Get over it people.

    These companies contributed big bucks. The current toadies in DC promised them money in return. They passed the stimulus bill, and this was a notable item in it.

    They lied to get it passed…shocking. It is now passed, obligated, and will be paid for.

    Whoever voted YES on forcing you to go through this humiliation has got to go…and yes that means if they voted YES on the stimulus they voted YES on this.

    The contributions made by the companies that made these machines will tell you a good story, as well. Namely, it will list who does not have your interests at heart and is not a true representative of the people in their district (or the state, or the country).

  33. Erika'sPowerMinute says:

    Hrm. I went through one of these things just this morning at Corpus Christi International, which is a *really* podunk airport. I would have thought we’d be one of the last to have one. Another airport which was left off the list, I guess.

  34. SharkD says:

    Add RDU to the list… for some time, now.

    Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)*

  35. haymoose says:

    I am already participating in the national case study as a mobile phone using lab rat with long-term exposure results to be released at a much later date. Why I should be expected to expose my kids to this untested/uncertain scanning tech and risk the chance that some LCD TSA pervert will save the scans on my kids? You, have no right to question their policy or actions once you are scanned and God forbid you stop and ask about it while passing through.

    I’ll choose not to fly, I don’t want them patting my 4 year old down either.

    I cannot wait to read in ten years the reports of the TSA employees exposed daily to this technology. It is truly an epic fail that the money spent on this.

    Oh, and the “as long as it is not tied to my specific data/info” people out there;

    RFID Passports, each scan will eventually contain exactly that personally identified data. Why not save the scans so later the side-by-side historic/current scans can be compared by software so human error is not an issue?

    No matter what they want the best database possible so they can better serve you, the citizen.

  36. Keter says:

    Not flying until this stops. No way am I getting into one of those things, and no way am I letting anyone pat me down like a criminal. Innocent. Refuse to be presumed guilty. Profiling works. Use it.

  37. Jon7 says:

    Yay! Soon we’ll be like England and rewrite our child porn laws so the TSA can strip kids for fun… It amazes me that so few people care about freedom anymore.