Going through airport security is about to get a bit different for some passengers: the Transportation Security Administration can now require some travelers to go through body scanners even if the person asks to get a full-body pat-down instead.
Just last month we reported on a petition from Jim Cato of the Harper Institute, urging the White House to put the heat on the Transportation Security Administration for its delay in holding hearings on nude body scanners, and now it seems the courts have listened.
The day is finally here. No, not the day before Thanksgiving. Something far more important than spending time with your family, National Opt-Out Day. People who are doing it plan to, when asked to step through the body imaging machine, opt-out and get the enhanced pat-down instead. Are you gonna do it, or do you think it’s stupid – or worse? Take our poll!
Adam Savage of Mythbusters carries around a bunch of weird crap, so he’s always careful to check his laptop bag and person to make sure he’s not going to have any of his valuable nonsense confiscated by the TSA. Except one day last May…
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.
Last week Meg McLain’s story lit up the internet. She says she was cuffed, her ticket was ripped up, and she was kicked out of the airport after she refused the body scanner and tried to ask questions about the pat-down. The TSA took it seriously enough to quickly post security footage of the incident on their blog. I reached Meg by phone to find out more about what happened, and, especially, why she refused the body scanner in the first place. Here is the interview, which has been condensed and edited.
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.