These 100 Body Scan Images Should Not Exist

The TSA and other agencies have repeatedly told the public that the body scanner devices automatically delete the images after they’re reviewed. But in August, it came out that US Marshals at a federal courthouse operating the Gen 2 millimeter wave scanner were storing the images. Now you can see what they saw, as Gizmodo has acquired 100 of the 35,000 images through a FOIA request.

The scanner devices are shipped with the ability to offload images for “testing” purposes, but it’s not supposed to be activated. Clearly it’s not that hard to figure out how to set it up, and having the capability lays the groundwork for potential future breaches of citizen privacy.

One Hundred Naked Citizens: One Hundred Leaked Body Scans [Gizmodo]

Courthouse In Florida Has 35,000 Body Scans Of Citizens


Edit Your Comment

  1. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    Trust me, I’m from the gubmint!

  2. FrugalFreak says:

    Are we suprised?

  3. the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

    Hmmm… Kind of gives justification to peoples’ concerns about being scanned at the airport, doesn’t it? I guess all those people saying you should just do what the TSA says because they’re not gonna do something like this can now suck it.

  4. suez says:

    I wonder if the Supreme Court would consider these pornographic?

  5. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    It’s another reason to opt for the pat down. I don’t trust them not to store the image with identifying information.

    • JoeDawson says:

      yes, i shall certainly opt for someone to TOUCH my junk, rather than just see it. Good Call there!

      • Duffin (Ain't This Kitty Cute?) says:

        At least the touching lasts for a few seconds, while they could easily keep that image of you and it may end up posted on the internet somewhere.

      • Chaosium says:

        There’s also the large, uncalibrated, underreported doses of radiation, which i prefer to eschew.

      • foofad says:

        Do you like your DNA the way it is? I know I do, and I certainly don’t want a tasty blast of radiation unzipping my double helix and having its way with my sequences if you get my drift.

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          Then don’t fly. You know how much radiation you get being up in that metal x-ray tube? Look it up.

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      The next time I fly, I’m opting out of the scanner and going for the full-body pat-down. When they start feeling my goodies, I’m either going to go into When-Harry-Met-Sally-mode or fart. I haven’t yet decided which will get me less jail time.

  6. benbell says:

    Did you see the size of that guys… uhh… white blob?

  7. full.tang.halo says:

    Lawsuits in 3…2…1…

    • hansolo247 says:

      In case you don’t know…


      • hansolo247 says:

        Well, at least the ones where you can sue them for cash. About the only thing you can sue the government for is a Constitutional question.

  8. obits3 says:

    “Now just turn a little to the left. There we go…”

    • sonneillon says:

      And a jump to the riiiiight.
      Put your hands on your hips.

      I couldn’t help myself.

      • Quixiotic... Yea it's a typo (╯°□°)╯彡┻━┻ says:

        Just a jump to the left
        then a step to the riiiiiiiiight
        Put your hands on your hips
        and bring your knees in tight
        it’s the pelvic thrust, that means your going insaaaaaane…
        Lets do the time warp again!

  9. Azzizzi says:

    This definitely sheds a new light on the subject.

  10. Roadkill says:

    Those are some seriously hot pictures.

  11. savvy9999 says:

    Reminds me of the relaxation of eavesdropping/interception rules put in place by the hastily-assembled (yet constantly reaffirmed, because of bedwetter politicians not named Feingold) PATRIOT ACT.

    FBI and/or any other agency under the sun abusing it? Wha? Never!? Oops…

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      The Patriot Act, banned nail clippers and searches of granny’s shoes were only the first couple of notches on the take away your rights/police state dial. Just like these not supposed to be released scans.

      Even more scary is that I thought these weren’t supposed to be saved or able to be transferred or downloaded. So how were these leaked if there was supposedly no compilation/pool of these to pull from?

      Proof of the type of information by inserted into YOUR file???

  12. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    But in August, it came out that US Marshalls at a federal courthouse operating the Gen 2 millimeter wave scanner were storing the images.

    I prefer to have my scans stored at TJ Maxx, to be honest. Specifically, the one in Akeny, Iowa.

  13. MonkeyMonk says:

    It seems more like a reverse silhouette of somebody rather than a nude image. I didn’t see anything here that should make anybody uncomfortable.

    • bullwinkle12 says:

      These are not the same scanners as the ones in airports. Those are hi-res. Read the article.

      • MonkeyMonk says:

        I did. I’m only commenting on the 100 images that were released and how they looked. I find it very hard to be outraged by this. If people seriously object to the practice than they can take the bus.

        I do think the TSA should be transparent about any retention claims and potential health risks though.

        • JixiLou says:

          If you’re so afraid of flying without turning passengers into prison inmates- YOU should just take the bus.

          See, it works both ways.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      perhaps not you, but different people have different views on images of the body. someone from a deeply conservative religion would probably be very upset by this.
      i’m not a fan for health reasons – there’s not enough safety data to ease my mind. but i can see how other people would be more upset about privacy and the semblance to nudity.

      • JoeDawson says:

        How would someone from such a culture feel about a stranger touching their nether regions?

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          i thought that too but i figured that was a comment for another article. i have a mormon friend who would rather walk somewhere than fly right now just so she doesn’t have to face either situation.
          i’m automatically on the pat down list as a medical device wearer and i’m not planning to fly if at all avoidable as long as the current pat down/groping is in place

    • FreshPorcupineSalad says:

      RTFA, they removed the naughty bits.

    • Dieflatermous says:

      These are not the same types of scanner. Here’s how they really look:

    • cloudedknife says:

      it shouldn’t matter whether they’re revealing or not.

      We are told the images are never stored
      We are told the images are not transferrable (wouldn’t they need to be stored first for that to happen?)
      We are told the machines have the ability to store and transfer images but that feature isn’t shipped activated.

      The issue isn’t whether they can see my 3inch dick or not when I go through the scanner. Well actually that is an issue because it has nothing to do with them actually finding dangerous things (which I would hide in my ass and wouldn’t show on the backscatter). No; what the issue here is about is the fact that there are 35,000 images directly refuting the claim that our government isn’t violating our privacy rights.

      • Griking says:

        It seems like every pic has a foreign object in them. IMO if you attempt to bring a weapon onto a plane then you lose your right to whine that they saved a picture of it.

        • swanksta says:

          I somehow doubt all these people had weapons on them when entering a court house.geez where did people like you grow up russia?

        • NewsMuncher says:

          The scanner seemed to be identifying buttons, cufflinks, belt buckles, pens, coins, and perhaps even wrinkles in the tucked in shirts as foreign objects.

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      Well, fortunately, you don’t decide this for everyone.

  14. MerlynNY says:

    Lets see.. get radiated and have your photos saved by the government even through they say they are not, or get a pat down. I’ll go for the pat down.

    • benbell says:

      I’m not sure if that is even a choice at federal courthouses.

    • KillerBee says:

      And have your genitals groped by a complete stranger. I’m not sure which is worse.

      • Rachacha says:

        I am waiting for the first lawsuit to come from inappropriate touching, especially when it involves a young child being patted down in the name of security. Headline Reads: “TSA sued over claims of pedophelia”

      • NewsMuncher says:

        But at least you know what they are doing and are more in control. You can glare at them, and if they do something illegal/improper, you can also remove yourself from the situation. You might not fly that day, but at least you have control.

    • your new nemesis says:

      I’ll go for the pat down also; if it’s going to be uncomfortable for me, I want it uncomfortable for them as well.

    • dangermike says:

      FWIW, throwing around the term ‘irradiated’ implies the presence of ionizing radiation. This is certainly not the case with 2 mm waves. While it is technically accurate to call the 2mm wave “radiation” (they consist of photons and as such are technically electromagnetic radiation) it is not of the type associated with xray devices or nuclear weapons. The 2mm wavelength is a little longer (less energetic) than infrared light, which is in turn less energetic than visible light. It is not until you get to UVB and UVC radiation that you start seeing detrimental effects on biology. The worst these scanners might do is induce cataracts with frequent use since they can warm bodily tissue and eyes don’t really have any good way to to remove excess heat. Just keep your eyes closed and they really won’t be much worse than standing around a campfire. But they’re not going to go knocking electrons around and as such won’t cause the horrible things that we associate with radioactive substances.

  15. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Well, must remember to step into the TSA line instead of the US Marshalls line when entering the airport.

    So since these images were from units being tested out, and eventually sent back to the manufacturer, and also apparently had a camera set up to sync with the scans, does that mean that units permanently installed are OK?

    • Dieflatermous says:

      35,000 is not “Testing”.

      • Evil Closet Monkey says:

        1000+ people entering a *Federal* courthouse in Flordia per day, for a month, easily reaches 35,000. A month long “test” is a perfectly reasonable assumption.

        No, I don’t know how many people do actually enter the Federal courthouse per day where this was installed. Nor do I know how long the test actually lasted. But to just assume that 35,000 images is “not testing” is shortsighted.

        Increase the “test” time to a 3-month period, also very reasonable for a test period in a government scope, and the numbers become even easier to achieve.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        17.5 scanner images and 17.5 regular images over a 30 day period? Have you ever been to a courthouse? There’s usually at least 100+ jurors for different cases. Easy to understand the math.

    • polizzi82 says:


  16. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    If you’re confused about the fact the images aren’t revealing – this happened to be a different imaging machine. Other ones, which can show genetalia, are out there and have the same vulnerabilities to image retention.

  17. dush says:

    These blobs don’t seem that invasive. They should just use these instead of the xray/radiation ones.
    They shouldn’t be lying to the public about the capability to save the pictures though.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      See above – these are slightly older technology – the more revealing ones are out there still.

  18. fs2k2isfun says:

    This is not from the same models of scanners the TSA uses. The ones that are used by the TSA have a higher resolution and are much more graphic.

  19. Dieflatermous says:

    The number of images is wrong, it’s not 100, it’s 35,000.

  20. Hoot says:

    Is it just me or do they look kind of slimming? The larger people looked at least 50 pounds lighter as white blobs!

  21. Hoot says:

    Is it just me or do they look kind of slimming? The larger people looked at least 50 pounds lighter as white blobs!

  22. guaporico says:

    Are these accurate? Is this what is actually generated from these machines? Everyone has stated how intrusive and detailed these machines are. If these are the type of images generated, then I really don’t consider them intrusive at all.

    • Dieflatermous says:

      These aren’t the backscatter imagers, they’re a different type of machine. They’ve also admitted to keeping the backscatter images and that every single machine must be capable of retaining images.

    • Lprd says:

      These are from a millimeter wave scanner not an x-ray backscatter scanner. Different technologies but the concern for both types regarding the storage of scans is the same. The x-ray backscatter scanners that the TSA employs has the added bonus of irradiating you. Sweet.

  23. TheMonkeyKing says:

    Another beef I have is that these pictures are supposed to be deleted. How can it be used as evidence then if they decide to have a more intensive search?

    I can see this being tossed in court as well.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      It’s not like these would ever enter a court of law. Probable cause happens at the time, not after the fact.

  24. The Moar You Know says:

    Really, what did any of you expect? OF COURSE these images will be stored, distributed, and eventually will be associated with specific names.

    After all, the credit card companies can’t stop identity theft, nor can hospitals, or any of the big institutions of our society – no matter how often they promise to, the info always gets out.

    This is absolutely no different.

  25. evnmorlo says:

    I don’t see how storing the images makes the searches any worse. Even if cameras are forbidden in the club you still are a stripper. Not storing the images just reduces the security justification, because when a plane is destroyed you’ll want to have nice body shots of the suspects and review whether the operator missed something or if nothing was visible with the machine

  26. catskyfire says:

    These look like test images to me. Wearing watches? Belts? Shoes? A cell phone? Unless, if pulled for screening, you’ve got time to put everything you removed for the metal detector back on.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      They are test images.

      You’ve been RTFA’d!

      • jtheletter says:

        Please quote the portion of TFA where it says these are test images? It does NOT explicitly state that anywhere on the gizmodo page and a search for the word ‘test’ turns up zero instances in the article text.
        It does however say this: “saved images of the scans of public servants and private citizens.” Which to me indicates that even if these were test images from the perspective of the federal marshals the test SUBJECTS were not aware that it was a test, nor were they made aware that their images were being stored by these machines.

        So regardless of the intent to use these as test data, they were presented to the people being scanned as a full scale security deployment – which would include public statements that such security scanners do not store images. OK, your turn.

    • jtheletter says:

      This is being used at a federal courthouse, not an airport. They most likely have different scanning procedures and don’t require you to practically strip like the TSA does. I mean come on, that’s direct from the summary, did you stop reading at the headline?

  27. NashuaConsumerist says:

    alright, I have a question. If I were to write “FU TSA” in strips of thick duct tape on my chest, would they show up on the scanner when I went through an airport?

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      LOL – I’d love to hear about someone trying that and it working.

      I don’t know about Duct tape (the kind you don’t use on ducts), but I bet the metallic type type (that you do use on ducts) would show up.

      • NashuaConsumerist says:

        I figured that would show up, but I wouldn’t want to set off a metal detector. I’d like to try it with something non-metallic so only Mr. Peep-Show operator can see it….

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Clearly you’ll be suspected of smuggling stuff under the tape. Be prepared to get pulled into the “special room” and have macadamia nut fragments, sorry, “crack”, planted in your luggage.

  28. Bob Lu says:

    I haven’t read the Gizmodo article yet but I think this image doesn’t look like the airport body scan we know of?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Really? This is too easy.

      RTFA, it’s there.

      You’ve been RTFA’d!

    • minjche says:

      That’s correct. These are images from a millimeter-wave scanner, not from the newer xray-backscatter scanners. The backscatter machines have a higher resolution.

  29. mikedt says:

    common sense would seem to indicate that they aren’t deleted automatically because they’d want to use them for prosecution evidence later on. Therefore there has to be a save option, which means it would be abused by the guys running the scanners.

  30. swimman1 says:

    Do you really believe the gov’t when they say these images are immediately deleted? Give me a break. These images are archived for an unknown length of time. What happens if an airline goes down due to terrorism? You better believe big brother is going to review the security tapes and body scans of those who were in the airport prior to the flight to see if anything was missed – that is just common sense.

    Common sense also tells me to believe very little of what the public is fed via the gov’t. These body scans are physically harming the public (mark my word – 15-20 years down the road it will be known that these machines were harming people) and the new pat down procedure is akin to sexual assault. Then again, if I’m feeling a little risque, maybe I’ll request a pat down by a member of the opposite sex!

    • outlulz says:

      Well if a plane went down from a terrorist that got through security fine, what good would going through the images again do? And you would have to go through every image taken of every passenger from the time of the first flight in the morning until the time the specific flight took off, since you can go to the airport as early as you want. So it’s not common sense to save all those pictures to go through again at a later date.

      • swimman1 says:

        It certainly is common sense and is being done. What good would going through the images do? Well, you’re obviously not in law enforcement – otherwise you would have an idea. When there is a bank robbery, why does law enforcement obtain security camera footage from cameras that are in the vicinity of the crime? I’ll let that question be rhetorical for you. How were the 911 hijackers initially identified? Let me answer this one for you. They were identified by going through the recorded and archived camera footage at the security checkpoints. Open your eyes and think the process through. Some people have a knack for common sense, and others, well, they continue to amaze me every day.

        • outlulz says:

          We aren’t talking about security footage. We’re talking about full body image scans. Did you already forget that with your immense common sense? If the body scan showed nothing the first time, what are they going to show the second time you look at them? The third time? The fourth time? A picture of a terrorist’s penis isn’t going to change into a picture of a bomb no matter how many times you look at it.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      images immediately deleted-pffftttt.

      Your CIA file just got that much bigger.

      And 20 years from now when “the threat” is over or the process and antiquated/not used anymore these declassified scans/files will be available under the freedom of information act or subpoena for a lawsuit or non security related investigation.

  31. jim says:

    TSA as an organization should be disbanded. period. if homeland security was never created we would not be having these deficit issues.

  32. Sunflower1970 says:

    These blasted things also can show when a woman is wearing a sanitary napkin. Yeah. I want the whole freakin’ world to know I’m bleeding. Oh, time for a pat down! You never know what I’m hiding in there:

  33. peebozi says:

    Sorry, the article is wrong. the government already said this can’t happen so any images you see is your liberal, unpatriotic, terrorist-sympathizing mind playing tricks on you.

    “heil, Show me your cards!”

  34. peebozi says:

    Practicing muslims are allowed to opt-out of the scanner and pat down due to religious objections.

  35. Narmical says:

    We should all just start walking around nekid. That will get rid of the scanners.

  36. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:


    “in some communities we’d be married now” is the post-grope statement.

  37. outlulz says:

    “A Gizmodo investigation has revealed 100 of the photographs saved by the Gen 2 millimeter wave scanner from Brijot Imaging Systems, Inc., obtained by a FOIA request after it was recently revealed that U.S. Marshals operating the machine in the Orlando, Florida courthouse had improperly-perhaps illegally-saved images of the scans of public servants and private citizens.”

    The actions of inept employees does not reflect the stance of the employer. It’s the employer’s fault for not monitoring and hiring people that can’t follow regulations, but I’m getting sick of the conspiracy nuts saying that the government has given itself the right to rape you or jerk off to your pictures.

  38. MustardTiger says:

    They should just put a beach frame around it and let us keep em’.

  39. Thebestdudeeverr says:

    Foil covered underwear?

    ZING! New business idea!

  40. RogueGeek says:

    Take a look at time 0:11 & 0:34 you can see that the scanner is imaging (exposing to radiation) people who are outside of the scanner. This is a concern because it can image people who have not given consent to be scanned as well as expose people outside of the machine. The security personnel are going to get quite a large dose of radiation if these things are that poorly shielded.

    Who wants to join me in welcoming our new mutant US Marshall/TSA overlords?

  41. bluline says:

    Of course they lied. That’s what government agencies do. Did anyone ever believe otherwise?

  42. Chaosium says:

    The Rapeyscan machine images are MUCH more detailed.

  43. Southern says:

    From the original article, here’s an image of what the scanner is CAPABLE of: