Sen. Schumer Proposes Law Against Saving Full-Body Scans

While the Transportation Safety Administration and the makers of the controversial full-body scanners swear up and down that the machines don’t save the rather revealing images they snap of screened travelers, New York Senator Chuck Schumer wants to go one step further and make it a crime to distribute or save the images.

Schumer has introduced legislation that would make illegal to store or distribute scanned images — including images snapped using personal cameras or hand-held devices. Violations would be punishable by up to one year in prison and $100,000 in fines.

“Anyone who would try to use these images for purposes other than security should be severely punished,” Schumer said.

The senator says he is not entirely opposed to the use of the full-body scanners, but that “You need to balance security and privacy.”

As you might remember from this summer, the U.S. Marshall’s Service in Florida announced it had 35,000 scanned images saved at a courthouse in Orlando.

Senate bill targets body scan image misuse []


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  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    I read the title as “Sen. Schumer Proposes Law Against Full-Body Scanners”

    Imagine my disappointment. :I

    • RevancheRM says:

      Same experience as me, with same disappointment. I used to enjoy my freedoms. When did I willingly gave them up?

    • spamtasticus says:

      For those of you who are following this TSA deal and or the whole receipt checker bit you should really see some all of the videos on this guys you tube channel:

      There are 3 series of videos interviewing 3 very important men.
      Bruce Shneier ( Technology Security Expert )
      John Gilmore ( Fought to challenge the requirement for ID when Flying ) ( Principal in the EFF )
      Terry Bressi ( Was wrongfully arrested by the DHS under the guise of border enforcement 40 miles from the border. He now runs checkpoint.usa )

      If you can’t stomach the whole channel. The most pertinent clip to this particular story is Shneier’s:

  2. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I have a better idea…

    …can we make it illegal to force citizens to engage in useless theater antics at the airport that in no way aids in their security?

    Because then we could disband the TSA, and all of America would be much happier and no less secure.

  3. milrtime83 says:

    Make it a crime to distribute?

    How long before that gets used against someone who is just trying to prove that they are saving the images?

    • DanRydell says:

      Unless that person is an idiot, that scenario would never happen.

    • jesirose says:


    • jsl4980 says:

      That’s a very good point – Schumer’s law seems like it can be used to punish any security researchers who try to find bugs and holes in the software. The electronic voting companies would love it if Schumer would write a law like this for them. Hopefully the law will include some exemption clause for security researchers who are looking for errors in the software and not the average TSA guy with a camera phone.

    • RobSmalls says:

      That was my very first thought; this will get used against whomever the first whistleblower may be.

  4. CelticWhisper says:

    By itself this bill is a good thing. I would love to see TSA screeners that try to save these images get strung up and hung out to dry.

    However, I fear that this would wind up being viewed as a compromise and used to justify the continued use of the nude-o-scopes. “Well it’s illegal to save the images so what are you afraid of?” Plus, while the punishment for getting caught is severe enough to give many TSA thugs second thoughts, these people have already shown that they’re willing to lie to cover for each other and I can easily see a supervisor overlooking an employee using a cell phone camera to save a picture of an attractive passenger as long as the supervisor gets a copy as well.

    Schumer has a noble goal in mind with this bill and deserves to be lauded for that, but I have to point out that I don’t think it’s enough. The scanners need to be decommissioned, deacquisitioned, and dismantled. Any use of them at all is going too far, and no law is going to prevent 100% of the potential abuse inherent in the system. Unless the law prescribes summary execution in front of (or even by) the violated passenger as the only available punishment. And there are many reasons why that’s a bad thing.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      “Unless the law prescribes summary execution in front of (or even by) the violated passenger as the only available punishment. And there are many reasons why that’s a bad thing.

      No kidding; you know how hard it is to get brain-matter out of a white silk shirt?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      100% my viewpoint as well. It’s putting a bandaid on a broken leg.

    • brianary says:

      No! I *want* to post my scan online, so people that say these scans “don’t show anything” will see how wrong they are! (Though I doubt they’d actually let me keep my own scan.)

      This bill is totally CYA for the TSA. If they can prevent informed discussion, they can continue to ram this crap down our throats.

  5. sir_eccles says:

    How many terrorists have the TSA actually stopped trying to board a plane?


    How many times has the TSA had to change their procedures because someone sneaked something past them?


    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Although I think you are correct, do you or anyone else have a link to cite the 0 catches you describe? I would love to have that confirmed in my mind.

      • The cake is a lie! says:

        If they had stopped anybody then it would be huge news. If you Google for anything on the TSA actually stopping crime, all you find is a thousand articles and sites about how horrible the TSA is an how their procedures are illegal. I can’t find one thing on the TSA actually stopping someone from getting on a plane with intent to do harm.

    • DanRydell says:

      [citation needed]

    • Phildogger says:

      Do you think that maybe these measures are the reason why no one is trying to sneak on to a plane with the intent to terrorize? I may not agree with all of these measures, but I surely will feel safer once on the plane.

      • kmw2 says:

        That’s clearly not true – incidents of people sneaking stuff onboard planes in ways the TSA hasn’t thought of yet are why we now remove shoes, short ourselves on shampoo, drink breast milk, and go through Nude-o-Matics or scheduled sexual assaults to get on a damn plane, and none of those people were caught until they actually lit their pants on fire.

      • Dre' says:

        I have a rock that keeps away tigers..

    • George4478 says:

      If you define “terrorist” as “person having 5 oz of liquid”, “person with nail clippers”, or “person who complains about the TSA” then they’ve stopped millions.

      It’s a great success story.

    • shadow67 says:

      even if you can find a link that says caught = 0, that basically will mean that bcos of the scanners no one is attempting it. So it seems to work…

  6. Mark702 says:

    Rep. Ron Paul introduced a bill last month about this, called the American Traveler Dignity Act.

    A quote on the bill: “From My legislation is simple. It establishes that airport security screeners are not immune from any US law regarding physical contact with another person, making images of another person, or causing physical harm through the use of radiation-emitting machinery on another person. It means they are subject to the same laws as the rest of us.”

    This bill by Schumer doesn’t go far enough as it only targets the scans, not the patdowns. The TSA morons need to be removed and have sniffer dogs brought in instead. They are both more effective and less invasive. Not to mention that airlines are one of the safest forms of travel. If you’re too scared to get on a plane without a patdown and cavity search, take a bus or car, though you’re more likely to die that way…

  7. myCatCracksMeUp says:

    I’m not going to be happy until these scans are no longer used. This new law, if it passes, would still not be enough to cause me fly again.

  8. DJ Charlie says:

    If this passes, how long before they pass a “TSA is not required to follow this law” act? Or will they just insert a clause saying “TSA is exempt”?

  9. Hoss says:

    That’s quite a heroic piece of law making there senator. Thanks for setting an example for the rest of the world that USA respects personal dignity.

  10. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    My question, though, if they’re using the scans and they “catch” someone with something illicit, wouldn’t the pictures from the scans be considered evidence of a crime?

  11. guroth says:

    This will just make it so that every day joe will get a conviction for possessing or redistributing leaked images, but nothing will ever happen to any TSA agents who actually save the images in the first place.

    1) TSA Agent leaks images
    2) Reporter gets a hold of images, makes a news story containing images
    3) Reporter gets a fine and possibly jail time
    4) ????
    5) Profit

  12. nottodaymam says:

    If you get caught on the other side of the scanner for having something you’re not supposed to(planted evidence) you won’t have the image to prove that you didn’t have it when you interred the scanner. I’m not saying that will happen(much) but could happen and its one of the pitfalls of having something like that. Reminds me of Traffic cams that gives you a ticket regardless of the circumstances just as long as you where in or some how didn’t fully stop when turning(motion detectors)

  13. NumberSix says:

    Well that ought-a do it. Nobody breaks the law!

  14. SabreDC says:

    There was a good suggestion in an op-ed in my paper this morning: remove all checkpoints altogether and replace them with a booth that all travelers enter one-by-one. No x-rays, no pat downs… but the booth detonates any explosives on you. Provide a reward to the first company to create the technology. Problem solved.

  15. Eli the Ice Man says:

    You mean the scanners that are completely incapable of saving images?


  16. Jasen says:

    Welcome to TSA’s extra-groping list, Mr Schumer.

  17. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    You can kind of tell how many people aren’t used to years/decades of Chuck Schumers Sunday press conferences so he can be ensured coverage because it’s a Sunday. It gives reporters a quick story for Sunday and/or Monday, as well.

  18. suez says:

    Of COURSE they save images, and will CONTINUE to save them. It’s called EVIDENCE IN COURT.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      The evidence in court is the actual thing they find. You seem to think they require a search warrant to search.

  19. yulingo says:

    We need a law for this?

  20. buddyedgewood says:

    Just what we need… another friggin law (that’s not enforced). Wasn’t Rome on this same course just prior to it’s fall?

  21. narcs says:

    just go through the scanner with boner.