Friday, January 14, 2011

FOIA Request for 2,000 Images is for Lab Images, Not Checkpoint Images

MMW ImageYou may have read recently in a number of news articles and blog posts where a Federal Judge ruled that TSA did not have to release 2,000 Advanced Imaging Technology images as a part of a FOIA request from the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

This has led some to believe the images are from the checkpoints. That’s not the case. The images are from a lab and for testing purposes only. The subjects are hired by the lab and compensated for the use of their images for this testing. The machines in our labs store images, and the machines at airports cannot. As you can understand, the machines in a lab setting must have the ability to print and store images so the machines can be tested and the results can be studied. Machines in airports do not need this functionality. Not only do the machines not store images, the person viewing the image is in a remote location and never actually sees you.

Soon, there won’t be individual images at all.

You might be interested in this post about new image-free technology, or Automated Target Detection (ATR). This is software that’s used with the AIT and displays no image at all if no threat is detected. Otherwise, a computer generated, generic human image is generated on a monitor attached to the AIT machine. It highlights areas on the image to show where anomalies may exist. It does not display the actual image of the passenger like the current technology does.


Blogger Bob 
TSA Blog Team

If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

116 comments:

RB said...

The STRIP SEARCH MACHINES in airports can store images. That requirement is in the contract specs.

All that is required to start storing images is a password and a flip of a switch, so stop with the lies about the STRIP SEARCH MACHINES not being able to store images.

Jim Huggins said...

And, exactly, how "soon" will this new technology be deployed?

Forgive the skepticism, but I seem to recall statements by TSA administrators claiming that there would be an end to the 3-1-1 liquid policy by the end of 2009. How's that one working out for you, TSA?

Anonymous said...

1) Right now, the scanners shown naked images of people, including children. Transmission of children's genitals is a violation of many child pornography statutes.

2) The updated imaging is not working well, as the failure rate of detection has been unacceptable with the software algorithms, according to the some comments I have read from TSA officials. So, this won't be a viable option to replace the illegal naked images as humans have a better chance of detecting issues, even though the TSA tests of just luggage scanning at security lines has failure rates of 50%+.

Anonymous said...

Week after week the TSA wastes our tax dollars with posts that do not address any of the American people's travel concerns. Your post about lab images, shoes, underwear are all designed to avoid the real questions that law abiding American business travelers repeatedly have but the TSA avoids. Your unwillingness to address any real concerns further fuels the assumption that the TSA is out of touch with the American people or, more likely, dismisses any average Americans concerns. The TSA is example one of government organizations that are not responsive to citizens.

Anonymous said...

Are you still standing by the lie that the nude scanner machines can't store images, when there have been many casers where images have not only been stored but distributed?

But then i suppose this is the PR department. Honesty isn't in the job description.

Anonymous said...

This post attempts to counter the claims by EPIC that airport body scanners are privacy intrusive. When you look at the evidence the TSA fails.
You state that 'the person viewing is in a remote location and never actually sees you.' The problem is they do not need to see you to know who you are. In the DHS brief against EPIC they state: 'there is NO possible way to LINK an image with a passenger'.
This is patently untrue for two reasons:
(1) The DHS and TSA state that 'to resolve an anomaly, the transportation security officer viewing the image COMMUNICATES to a transportation security officer at the checkpoint via RADIO ( there is two-way verbal communication ). If a celebrity goes through a body scanner with an 'anomaly' then their scanner image will be LINKED to their celebrity identity.
(2) The TSA state that 'it is recommended that individuals with a pacemaker carry a Pacemaker Identification Card ( ID ) when going through a body scan'. This information will directly LINK an image with a personal identity.
None of this contravenes your posting policy, so if you do not post this post it will be because you do not want people to know the unpalatable truth. Does anyone at the TSA want to deny any of this?

Lawrence J. Fyne said...

I'm a software engineering manager in the national security sector. I do know something about this technology. I have also spent a significant amount of time in offensive information operations. So, I think I can speak to your advanced imaging technology public outreach campaign with a unique skill set.

You have perpetuated several misleading facts about these devices and the software which controls them. I'm not sure if this is a deliberate act on the part of the TSA and its public figures (including the Administrator) to mislead the American Public and Congress; or, if it is a symptom of another issue: most TSA public figures simply don't know how these devices work.

I have observed a sustained campaign to parse words and phrases, obscure basic technical facts, and practice sophisticated "perception management" (PM) techniques in order to placate the public into ignoring some basic issues associated with this screening technology.

You (personally and the TSA in general) are very skilled at the PM technique of "omission." Simply stated, you aren't lying. You just aren't telling the whole truth. You are also very skilled in the PM technique of "deflection."

Whether or not you choose to publish my remarks is in your decision space. If this never appears, that action will speak volumes about your agency and about you as a public spokesman for that agency. I have saved my post for publication in other air travel-related websites. Enough said.

Let's address only a few of the key perception management issues:

1. You claim that the scanners in the field are incapable of storing and transmitting images. That statement simply is not true. (I will not venture into the potential reasons why you continue to perpetuate this falsehood.) I have read the procurement and operational specifications you posted in FedBizzOpps. There is a "shall" statement concerning this requirement. If you are not familiar with a "shall"statement in a specification, this is a mandatory requirement placed upon the contractor. The contractor must provide this capability in their hardware and software designs and they must be verified by the government -- that's you.

Whether or not you utilize this capability in the field is up to operations managers. The specs state that the ability to turn image storing on and off is password-protected. If you wanted to be completely honest with the public, you would say, "The body scanners have the capability to store and transmit images. However, we do not plan to store images at airports. The decision to activate the storage and transmission capability rests with who can activate this capability via a password. I (Administrator Pistole) trust me managers in the field to do the right thing." It's plainly documented in your public specs. Why are you not being upfront about it?

(Second part of my message posted separately. I exceeded the max character count.)

Lawrence Fyne said...

Second section of my post:

2. You state that you are developing new software to only show stick figures of passengers who have an "anomaly" (don't recall your exact term) on them. Taken out of context, you might convince the public that this is the entire truth -- another example of "omission." The fact is that you are simply developing a software patch to "post-process" the detailed image and essentially "dumb it down." You are simply adding an additional algorithm to the existing software. The body scanner systems simply cannot operate without the original software installed -- the software which produces storable & transmittable images. The post-processing algorithm can be turned off as quickly as the software to store and transmit images can be turned on. Once again, you are attempting to mislead the public by making them believe that the TSA will no longer take detailed body images of passengers, which some have equated with "strip searching." Your equipment simply can't operate without this capability because that's how it was designed in the first place.

Let me try an example that I hope your readers and you will understand. On every cable and satellite TV system (DirecTV or Verizon FiOS, for example), there is a "parental control" function in which an adult can block certain channels so their kids can't watch them. The software behind the simply remote control click is nearly identical to the software you are publicizing. Although you shut off "adult-only" channels in your house, the cable box retains the capability to provide those channels to your house. Your cable box would not work if that software was deleted. The same thing applies to your body scanners. You can "turn off" all the capability you want. But, the capability still remains in the software because your systems can't operate without it.

3. Your "capstone" example of omission is that these scanners STILL subject a passenger to industrially-administered doses of X-rays, which nave been conclusively shown to increase the risk of cancer.

If you succeed in convincing the American public that you have addressed their privacy concerns, than, all of your propaganda efforts will have been successful. i suspect that this is how you measure "success."

Anonymous said...

Prove it.

Otherwise this is just meaningless propaganda

Anonymous said...

Does this regard the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) lawsuit?

Anonymous said...

ANY machine with a HARD DRIVE saves
whatever has been input.
That's a fact Jack!

Anonymous said...

The Freedom of Information Act was specifically intended to allow the American people to know what OUR SERVANTS are doing with OUR Tax dollars and TO US.

The TSA's contention that the American people don't need to know what the TSA is doing is contrary to everything that law was written for and also against the very nature of Freedom in America.

Anonymous said...

The machines in our labs store images, and the machines at airports cannot.

Lies, lies, lies. This has been proven false numerous times. You're not even trying anymore.

The machines currently in use at airports supposedly have the saving/transmitting features available only to certain users while in 'test' mode which supposedly is only available to certain maintenance users, not the everyday screeners.

That's hardly the same thing as "The machines [quote]cannot[/quote] save images".

After we're used to being scanned, will the next generation of scanning machines (sold by a company Pistole has stock in, no doubt) still have these features disabled??

Can we trust you that they are turned off now? (The Govt. has a habit of lying to people. The TSA as well.)

There are breaches in computer security at large corporations almost daily. Someone walks away from a terminal while still logged in. Someone leaves a laptop with sensitive data in their car, where it gets stolen. Some idiot plugs a Wireless Access Point to the corporate network. Etc. So, what's to stop a screener from looking over the shoulder of a maintenance guy or supervisor and 'shoulder-surfing' the Test Mode password? What's to stop the screener from snapping a few pics with a camera? Or putting a splitter on the monitor cable and recording the images?

Machines in airports do not need this functionality.

Then why did the TSA specifically request these features?

RB said...

Austinites Refute TSA Propaganda About ABIA Naked Body Scanners


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TbN2knnSl4

....................

The tide of opposition is growing TSA.

The Citizens of the United States reject the lawless acts committed by TSA and its employees.

Anonymous said...

RB said...
The STRIP SEARCH MACHINES in airports can store images. That requirement is in the contract specs.

All that is required to start storing images is a password and a flip of a switch, so stop with the lies about the STRIP SEARCH MACHINES not being able to store images.

RB.... Id really like to know where you get your "information" on these machines, I have tested and used these machnes dozens of times and know for a fact that unless the storing capabillities are left in the machine as it was manufactured it will not store images. It dosent matter how many times you enter the password for the administrative image storing tool on the pro vision, you could stand there and enter it until your blue in the face it will not work. Take it from someone who has test the technology and knows about it.

Adrian said...

Why no comment on the widely publicized article from the Journal of Transportation Security that describes how a substantial amount of PETN can be brought through the whole-body imaging scanners without detection?

Why are we wasting so much money on these privacy-invading machines that do not improve security? When will the investigation into the conflict of interest between TSA and the manufacturers of these machines begin?

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "ANY machine with a HARD DRIVE saves whatever has been input. That's a fact Jack!"

Sorry, but that's just flat-out nonsense. Your computer has a hard-drive, yet it doesn't store everything that's ever been input on the computer. It only stores things that it's directed to store. Even things like swap/hibernation data qualify under that standard, even if you aren't the one that decides and directs that the data be stored.

It's true that once something has been written to a hard drive, it might be possible to recover it even after deleting it, unless measures are taken to make such recovery exceedingly unlikely.

But your statement is simply incorrect. Please don't perpetuate urban legends.

Anonymous said...

My family will not fly while these totalitarian measures are mandated at airports. This is a clear and simple 4th amendment rights violation.

Would you allow your wife, kids or teenagers to undergo virtual strip searches and enhanced patdowns?

Naked body scanners MAY NOT be safe for children, pregnant women and certain immune-impaired people.

Nobody knows for sure.

Remember that 30-40% of people going through naked scanners STILL GET THE "ENHANCED" PATDOWN, and another few percent get it "RANDOMLY"

Would you take your family through this?

I see airlines losing massive amounts of business.

Anonymous said...

"Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness."

-Gandhi

Anonymous said...

AIT is designed to be an easier way of meeting the detection capability of a strip-search. Which is why it was first used on prison inmates in lieu of a physical strip-search. It doesn't only show objects. It shows strikingly detailed images of a persons naked body so explicit the images need to be viewed in a separate location and the image viewer is not allowed to see the passenger being screened because it would be considered violation of privacy.

Anonymous said...

I have been in medicine for 40 years and can assure you that the scans being used are dangerous to your health. Remember, these are the people that said asbestos was OK for use.

In the medical world we avoid any radiation exposure and only reluctantly subject someone to any form of x-ray. The radiation that is being used here was used by the dermatologist until it was found to cause cancer.

Anonymous said...

Janet Napolitano, John Pistole and many of our legislators can’t understand why frequent fliers are concerned about the cancer risk from the x-ray scanners?

Maybe somebody needs to tell them that intentional radiation exposure to large population groups will create a public health hazard. Especially when the dose has been miscalculated and we don’t yet know how much, but it’s higher than advertised. SOME people will die as a result. There IS NO QUESTION.

Maybe somebody needs to tell them they don’t want their ourselves, our kids/wives/girlfriends exposed naked to some stranger or group of strangers in the back room, and maybe stored or transmitted (we aren’t allowed to know)

Maybe somebody needs to tell them that a growing number of people fear the TSA more than they fear terrorists.

Maybe someone should tell them that airport strip searches and massive pat-downs are a form of terrorism?

This is over-the-top hysteria to a infinitesimally small threat, that they are highly UNLIKELY to prevent.

Americans are being deceived by THEIR government.

What happened to America? How did it become a nation of Wimps?

Anonymous said...

'Soon, there won't be individual images at all'... TSA. This is in reference to Automated Target Detection (ATR).
This is not necessarily true. Just as the body scanners CAN have their ability to store and transmit images disabled, so equally can a software upgrade like ATR be easily disabled ( switched-off). So the TSA may say to the public it is using privacy protective ATR, but it will then just switch off the software upgrade without the public ever knowing.

Anonymous said...

"If a celebrity goes through a body scanner with an 'anomaly' then their scanner image will be LINKED to their celebrity identity"
--How on earth do you think it would attatch an identity to someone that can't even see the person? I mean the person screening the "celebrity" would know who it was...but really..the image viewer doesnt see this person. Same goes for your pacemaker guy/girl...and TSA doesnt require or ask anyone to carry their card to say what they have by the way.
-Plus, the screeners see SO MANY people go through the machine that every image is the same after a while.
Stop being ignorant folks.

Anonymous said...

Here are my questions:

"We have seen images from backscatter x-ray imagers that have produced near photo quality images of the people scanned and those images clearly show genitalia in graphic detail, are those images as detailed, less detailed or more detailed than the images that the TSA agent sees on the screen?"


"And if the images that the TSA agents see are as detailed or more detailed, why should we not consider those images child pornograhpy?"

Ayn R. Key said...

Bob, this would be a GREAT subject for you to use to address the discrepancies between "it is policy" and "this is what happens on the front line".

If you have the courage to address the topic of the difference between the way things should be and the way they are ...

Anonymous said...

So, Is the TSA under the impression that our bodies don't belong to us so long as you're not looking at our face?

Sorority Luchesi said...

Although I am a bit leery about the privacy of these things, I am going to give the benefit of the doubt and say that it may be possible that these people are right and that these machines cannot store images. It is possible to design technology that way.

And as for the ATR technology being researched, I am hoping that will come soon and perhaps bring some peace of mind and put people at ease. I have a feeling that this technology is going to come sooner because of all the hoopla about these scanners.
People feel that these machines are intrusive yet people want security so I think that the TSA is trying to be able to do that. But I guess some people just cannot be pleased

BTW, I agree with you avxo.

chris bray said...

I agree with the commenter here who says that you're not even trying anymore. For the ten thousandth time, to say that the machines at checkpoints are set to a mode that doesn't permit storage of images is not to say that they "cannot" store images. It's a simple matter to speak accurately, here -- it speaks volumes that you consistently won't.

Marshall's SO said...

Anonymous, although he/she doesn't realize it, hit on a huge problem with AIT:

"Plus, the screeners see SO MANY people go through the machine that every image is the same after a while."

This is one reason why WBI is useless - the voyeurs stop seeing after a short period of time.

Just as with baggage screening, they look at so much they stop seeing anything.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
'How on earth do you think it would attach an identity to someone that can't even see the person? I mean the person screening the 'celebrity' would know who it was... but really the image viewer doesn't see this person'.
You obviously did not bother to read my post properly. I stated that the TSA use TWO-WAY RADIOS to talk to each other. Between them the scanner operative in the remote room and the scanner operative machine side will be able to IDENTIFY the person being scanned, and link their naked scan image to that identity. I am not saying it WILL happen, I am saying it COULD happen. The TSA promise 100% anonymity - this is NOT necessarily true, that is what I am saying.
With regard to Pacemaker Idenification Cards, passengers are indeed REQUESTED, and not REQUIRED, to carry this identification. Some will carry this information without realising that this information COULD be linked to their scanner image.
Scanner images WILL sometimes be LINKED to individual identities - that is a certainty.

MarkVII said...

One point here on the checkpoint communicating with the person viewing the images via radio -- are these radios encrypted? If not, a third party could listen in on the conversation, then so much for privacy.

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Anonymous said...

What is the failure rate of the nude-o-scopes? That is, when a tester with a concealed weapon or bomb goes through the checkpoints at the airport, how often are they detected?

Has the TSA begun these kinds of tests? If not, why not?

You are still fundamentally failing at catching guns and bombs in carry-on luggage. There is no reason to believe that your screeners will be any more successful with the nude-o-scopes.

Items are still routinely stolen from checked baggage, which proves that the baggage handling areas are insecure. Aircraft regularly take off with baggage belonging to passengers who are not on the plane.

Access to supposedly "secured" areas at airports is wide-open, as shown by the recent YouTube videos from SFO, allowing workers unscreened access to aircraft and luggage. Why try to sneak through security when you can get someone to plant a bomb on a plane or leave weapons in a plane to be retrieved during flight?

The nude-o-scopes are more window dressing while real, dangerous security holes are ignored.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"If a celebrity goes through a body scanner with an 'anomaly' then their scanner image will be LINKED to their celebrity identity"
--How on earth do you think it would attatch an identity to someone that can't even see the person? I mean the person screening the "celebrity" would know who it was...but really..the image viewer doesnt see this person.
January 15, 2011 8:24 PM


I guess you missed the sentance before the one you quoted:

The DHS and TSA state that 'to resolve an anomaly, the transportation security officer viewing the image COMMUNICATES to a transportation security officer at the checkpoint via RADIO ( there is two-way verbal communication ).

The scenario goes like this:

The screener at the AIT, Joe, sees celebrity about to go through AIT. Joe calls Screener in the back, Bob, on radio and requests (probably using a code word or phrase) a copy of the next persons's scan. Bob saves a pic, either through the system, or by using a cellphone camera. Joe saves a pic using a concealed camera. Bob hands off his pic after work, and now Joe has a pic of the celebrity as seen naked through the scan, and one of the live celebrity.

Anonymous said...

I have repeatedly asked questions related to the issue of the TSA scanners creating and then having TSA agents view naked images of CHILDREN. AND THE TSA CONSISTENTLY CENSORS THIS SUBJECT.

WHY WILL THE TSA NOT ALLOW THE DISCUSSION OF NUDE IMAGES OF CHILDREN THAT ARE BEING CREATED AND VIEWED BY TSA AGENTS?

IS YOUR REFUSAL TO ALLOW THIS DISCUSSION NOT DEFACTO PROOF THAT WHAT IS BEING DONE IS NOT ONLY WRONG BY CRIMINAL?

Will you have the intellectual honesty to not censor this subject once again?

Anonymous said...

Another good try at USSR-style propaganda! The Soviets should have learned from you -- TSA is really in a class by itself!

Yeah, there is no groping at the checkpoints, the machines do not store images, the new technology is coming ... and pigs can fly too! Stop wasting our money, TSA is a shame of this country and will make us bankrupt if we do not stop it!

Anonymous said...

Your biggest problem is that TSA has no credibility, so nothing you say here can change that perception. Fair or not, this is a reality TSA has to face, and the only way to deal with it is to be more transparent instead of hiding behind the "sensitive information" cloak. Remember, we pay your salary, and we are not happy with what we are getting for our money ... so, good bye TSA!

RB said...

chris bray said...
I agree with the commenter here who says that you're not even trying anymore. For the ten thousandth time, to say that the machines at checkpoints are set to a mode that doesn't permit storage of images is not to say that they "cannot" store images. It's a simple matter to speak accurately, here -- it speaks volumes that you consistently won't.

January 16, 2011 4:59 AM

..................
People of poor character and little self esteem will hide behind the skirts of their employee and act like they have no personal accountability or responsibility for their actions.

That is exactly what is going on with this blog.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"I see airlines losing massive amounts of business."

airlines are posting huge profits.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Bob for putting that image in the story. We can never have too many reminders about how invasive the virtual strip search machines are.

The text of the Fourth Amendment explicitly reminds us that privacy cannot be traded off for security. The reason why the government is enjoined from arbitrary and excessive search and seizure is so that you may have security in your persons, papers and effects.

Privacy is security. If you have no privacy, then you are not secure. It really is that simple.

Mind you, it never occurred to the Founding Fathers that security in your genitals would be important.

Anonymous said...

" Automated Target Detection (ATR)."

Great attention to detail, Bob. Nice to know that our Constitutional liberties are being trashed by people who don't even proofread their work.

I believe the term is "Automatic Target Recognition."

Concerned Observer said...

I'm relieved to know that you're not handing checkpoint imaged over. That would be another breach of privacy.

In any case, what I would really like to do is ask a reasonable, legitimate question. Would the lab images be significantly different than checkpoint images as far as detail (for example, might I be able to see a navel piercing in one but not the other?) and if so, why?

Anonymous said...

Setting aside the legitimate medical questions, and the legitimate questions about the ability to store images, why have these machines been deployed without such software in place already? Given that the TSA must have know that the "stick figure" software was on the horizon, the fact that you felt the need to rush to deploy these machines is especially distasteful.

There is no imminent crisis threatening air travel that you could not have waited until this software was ready to deploy these machines.

You can't fix a violation of the
4th amendment in the next release.

Anonymous said...

As a doctor, I assure you that none of my family will ever go through the backscatter machines. We know, with scientific certainty, that exposure to even low levels of X-ray radiation not only can, but will cause DNA damage and cancer/possibly developmental and birth defects. Any government studies will no doubt be classified and not available under FOIA, but open publications in professional journals already tell the story. So, stop not only wasting our money but also harming us. Nazi Germany did not attempt such mass experiments on the concentration camp inmates, and TSA's attempt to do that nearly 70 years later is simply unthinkable. You are destroying the nation from within not even realizing it!

Mr Goo said...

Again the TSA forgets what is supposed to be protecting.

If we were all absolutely physically safe, but our privacy or other liberties violated, the TSA has failed.

It isn't that they could have done better or they should find a way but they failed as is a terrorist got on the plane and 9/11 happened all over again.

The job the the TSA (and the government in general) is to protect our liberties. The TSA needs to figure out how to do that.

Anonymous said...

I see that the TSA is still censoring discussion of the NAKED IMAGES OF CHILDREN BEING CREATED AND VIEWED BY TSA AGENTS.

I am getting more disgusted by the TSA and the people moderating these blogs every day.

At the airports AMERICAN CITIZENS are subjected to digital strip searches and physical searches that are tantamount to sexual abuse. We are supposed to allow our most sensitive and secure areas our bodies to be completely stripped of privacy, but then the TSA refuses to allow a discussion of that practice on children.

Your true nature is showing and it is deplorable.

Anonymous said...

So let's see if we understand the TSA's position, ok?

The TSA believes that they should be able to see every square inch of our naked bodies, and they should be able to touch ANYWHERE ON OUR BODIES INCLUDING OUR GENITALS..........BUT!......... the American people do NOT have the right to see the images that the scanners are actually able to produce, is that the TSA's position?

It is like our nation is in the middle of a horrific national nightmare and the TSA is playing the part of Freddy Kruger.

kimm said...

I just watchd a program the other day talking about and demonstraiting dogs that can sniff out drugs, bomb making equipment and bombs, weapons ad a multitude of other things. Basically, everything you're supposidly worried about, these dogs can catch.

This is so much less intrusive, and I believe more accurate than any strip search machine. A dog probably WOULD have caught the underwear bomber, shoe bomber, etc.

However homeland "security theatre" refuses to go this route, instead opting for strong arming and humiliating each and every person going on an airplane. This isn't security, it is a power trip.

Some people don't like dogs? Tough! You don't seem to have a problem with the multitude who don't like the virtual strip search and molesations. What's the matter? Why is homeland security theatre afraid of a proven method that will work? Is is because there is little to no intrusion on the general public?

I HAVE to fly in a few weeks, and I'm sure once again I'll be humiliated due to my handicap. Thank You So Much!

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the TSA would use the millimeter wave images and not the backscatter images in this article. Is that because the backscatter images are SO MUCH MORE GRAPHIC and EXPLICT in detail?

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/images/2010/11/467636.jpg

Can there be any doubt that the image on that site would be considered child pornography if it was taken of a child?

Bob said...

Quote:

"One point here on the checkpoint communicating with the person viewing the images via radio -- are these radios encrypted? If not, a third party could listen in on the conversation, then so much for privacy."

Uh, what do you think they SAY over the radios ("wow, that one's a hottie, given the size of the bazongas on the scanner image!")? You kidding, right? You don't think they've figured out a way to keep track of images scanned without revealing ID (i.e. passenger #2)?

PS if you're thinking of it, I wouldn't advise hanging around airports with a walkie-talkie: it's likely to get you arrested for loitering (not by TSA, but by gun-toting Police officers).


@@@@


All TSA critics are quick to point out how the SCOTUS hasn't found the TSA searches to be constitutional, but the fact they forget is the SCOTUS hasn't found them to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL, either.

Until they do, realize that MANY lower courts (District, Circuit, etc) HAVE reaffirmed such administrative searches to be complaint with the 4th. FWIW, the Supreme Court is not likely to reverse lower court decisions without a compelling reason.

So unless you wear a black robe (and are able to convince the other judges who sit on the SCOTUS to agree), please quit speaking for the Supreme Court!

You cannot be taken seriously if you keep insisting on declaring rulings about Constitutionality, just because you don't want it to be (based on your vast experiences on the bench, no doubt).

TSA, consider this an atta-boy from one of the silent majority who appreciate the difficult work you do, realizing the difficulty of maintaining professionalism in spite of the whackos and detractors so prevalent in society today.

Anonymous said...

I don't really care what kind of images this stupid machine produces.

I'm more concerned about the health risks. I will not allow my children or myself to be scanned by these machines. I will also demand that the TSO conducting the invasive and inappropriate patdown use NEW gloves that are taken directly out of the box in FRONT OF ME.

I simply don't trust the intelligence of the TSOs, their training or the judgment of their superiors.

We have two more flights in our future. These are necessary to complete our international adoption.

After that, we quit traveling by air. We're done until the TSA learns some manners, reads the constitution and gains some common sense.

By the way, we flew four or five times per year. As a family. That doesn't count our travel for work.

We will no longer fly. I will NOT put up you. Period.

Our Senator and Congressmen have heard from us. So have the airlines. And the hotels.

I urge others to do the same. Tell the merchants that you won't be doing business with them. And then tell them why.

Anonymous said...

The TSA body search policy is illogical and inconsistant. TSA states that the current invasive body searches are needed to protect security, but the TSA currently does not extend the same body searches to children, nor does TSA conduct searches of body cavities. Nor does TSA conduct security searches in shopping malls and other crowded places besides airports. Until the TSA gets consistent and logical in search policy TSA should not go over the line to searches which contact private parts of individuals. TSA should stop euphemistically calling its procedure merely an "enhanced pat-down." What the TSA is doing is no warm and fuzzy pat-down; it is an invasive body search, which constitutes a felony sexual offence, ordinarily punishable by imprisonment, and violates individuals constitutional rights against unreasonable search. TSA should stop calling its invasive body search merely "an inconvemience," or "unconfortable." It is much worse than that.

Anonymous said...

Holding out for new ATR technology is certainly not the way to go. If backscatter machines give off radiation how much do you think the ATR machines are going to have to use to make you a stick person like hospital xrays. What we need is metal detectors with bomb sniffing dogs. Quick lines so people are not missing flights. You are also taking out the human element. Namely the TSA.

Earl Pitts said...

@Anon: "airlines are posting huge profits."

Airlines also had a lot of these tickets purchased before these measures went into effect.

What'll be interesting to see is what happens in the subsequent months, and how much of any loss is blamed on the economy and rising fuel prices.

Earl

SSSS for some reason said...

This begs the question, asked several time before, about the storing of images and 'finding an anomaly.'

Someone steps into the machine, it makes whatever kind of ping noise to indicate there is something to see, the passenger, sorry, you call them customers, steps out of the machine, then what? Can the customer contest the image? Can the customer at this point see the image? If you have to involve local law officials, how can you prove what you saw on the screen?

Or, to put it in even simpler terms, if the machines don't save the images how can you prove, or disprove, a TSA Agent saying they saw something? What is to stop the Agent from saying 'got one' randomly just to break the boredom of the day. Besides policy, I mean? If the image isn't stored there is no way to confirm or deny the Agents claim of getting a positive hit?

Anonymous said...

The TSA just wants us to sit down and shut up. No matter what they say, we are supposed to believe it.

Think it's any coincidence that the the comments are always running 10 to 1 that we don't believe the TSA?

News flash: the American people are not the problem.

Concerned Observer said...

Why can't the TSA release a backscatter image with no contraband in it? Potential terrorists would not then know how contraband shows up on the image and therefore the images would not endanger the security process.

Unless the images aren't kid-friendly, as they've been characterized to be...

Also, in support of RB, you should at least change "can't" to "don't" when referring to the machines' ability to store images. They have been required to have the ability to store images but this is stated to have been disabled.

*You're not saving images, but I am.

Anonymous said...

The images don't matter as the machines are easily defeated.

Americans are harassed, children are touched, potheads loose their dope, and the lobbyists keep on making money.

Wilyum said...

So far, as I have observed over the last few years, all would-be terrorists have been caught in the air by attentive passengers. They were passed through security by TSA. We have been lucky.

My question is this: If I get on an airliner that I believe to be secure because of TSA, understanding that all passengers have been "screened", and a passenger manages to blow up the plane, can I sue TSA and bring charges for negligence, endangerment and for creating a false sense of security? Actually, my family would have to bring the suit. I imagine I wouldn't be around.

Anonymous said...

SSSS for some reason said...
Or, to put it in even simpler terms, if the machines don't save the images how can you prove, or disprove, a TSA Agent saying they saw something?

Why do you think they need to prove anything? If the person watches the scanner screen says they see something then you get a physical pat down. If the pat down finds something you get arrested. They don't need to depend on scanner image to prove anything.

Anonymous said...

Bob said...
'Uh, what do you think they SAY over the radio's ( 'wow, that one's a hottie, given the size of the bazongas on the scanner image!). You don't think they've figured out a way to keep track of images scanned without revealing ID'.

Let me put it simply.
Mr filmstar enters a body scanner. Security officer machine-side radios through to the security officer viewing the scan to tell him WHO he is LOOKING AT and to ask if Mr filmstar has a small winkle. Security officer viewing the scan confirms that Mr filmstar has a VERY small winkle - hello internet here we come. That IS a breach of privacy.
But then Bob, you will argue that TSA staff wouldn't do that. Really? If a system allows for 'unprofessional' behaviour then that, given what human nature is, is exactly what will happen.
And what has keeping 'TRACK' of images (why are images being tracked?) got to do with revealing ID?

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "Why do you think they need to prove anything? If the person watches the scanner screen says they see something then you get a physical pat down. If the pat down finds something you get arrested. They don't need to depend on scanner image to prove anything."

That's not necessarily true.

First, if current policy is to only conduct the "enhanced pat-downs" if an anomaly is detected, someone who is subjected to such a patdown that reveals nothing could sue, and being able to point to an anomaly on the scan could be the deciding factor for the Court. We are a very litigious society after all, and so this isn't a far-fetched scenario.

More importantly, if someone does manage to sneak something through the TSA - something which according to news reports is a whole lot easier than it should be - the ability to go back and review scans could be beneficial to this investigating the incident.

Let me make it clear: I don't support retention of the images by TSA, DHS or other government departments, although with proper safeguards, time controls and exceedingly strict rules limiting access I might be willing to reconsider my position on the propriety of scan result retention.

But to assert, as you do, that stored copies of the scans are not helpful as means of proof is - at best - moronic.

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "If the pat down finds something you get arrested."

And please stop being ridiculous. The notion that you will be arrested if something is found in a pat-down is laughable.

A pat-down may find any number of things that are perfectly legitimate, legal and permissible: from nipple-rings to colostomy bags.

And besides, even if prohibited items are found, that doesn't necessarily mean that you will be arrested.

RB said...

Wilyum said...
So far, as I have observed over the last few years, all would-be terrorists have been caught in the air by attentive passengers. They were passed through security by TSA. We have been lucky.

My question is this: If I get on an airliner that I believe to be secure because of TSA, understanding that all passengers have been "screened", and a passenger manages to blow up the plane, can I sue TSA and bring charges for negligence, endangerment and for creating a false sense of security? Actually, my family would have to bring the suit. I imagine I wouldn't be around.

January 18, 2011 4:23 PM

.......................
There is no reason to believe your safe and every reason to know you are definitely not safe.

TSA does screen passengers. What TSA doesn't screen is the scary part.

TSA employees are not screened 100% of the time.

Airport vendor employees are not screened 100% of the time.

Airport airline employees such as the baggage handlers, fuelers, plane directors and all the rest are not screened 100% of the time.

All of these people can bring anything they like into the secure area. The can put stuff in your checked luggage or if you have some nice things just take them home for themselves.

For all practical purposes you are not one bit safer today than on 9/11.

TSA has spent a mountain of money and accomplished nothing!h

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Why do you think they need to prove anything? If the person watches the scanner screen says they see something then you get a physical pat down. If the pat down finds something you get arrested. They don't need to depend on scanner image to prove anything.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Without the image "describing the place to be searched", there is no probable cause.

Or are you one of those "Youse 'Probable' guilty, 'cause' I say so" types?

David said...

"The TSA body search policy is illogical and inconsistant."

Glad to hear you say that, because one element of effective security screening is for it to APPEAR to be random (even if it's not).

e.g. if a criminal knows that a Police officer walks on his beat as a set schedule, day after day, it's pretty logical he'd plan his robbery when the cop is NOT there.


"Nor does TSA conduct security searches in shopping malls and other crowded places besides airports."

Uh, no they don't.

PS you DO know what the 'T' in 'TSA' stands for, right? Their responsibility does NOT extend to providing security "at malls or crowded places", just at transportation corridors (like airports).


"Until the TSA gets consistent and logical in search policy TSA should not go over the line to searches which contact private parts of individuals."

Maybe those who post in blog comments should similarly be held to a similar standard, capable of consistently expressing logical thoughts (rather than ignorance)?

"What the TSA is doing is no warm and fuzzy pat-down; it is an invasive body search, which constitutes a felony sexual offence, ordinarily punishable by imprisonment, and violates individuals constitutional rights against unreasonable search."

As pointed out above, unless you're a Justice of the SCOTUS, you're not exactly in a position to label anything as constitutional or not.

PS you must be a lot of fun at the doctor's office, accusing them of felony sexual assault after your physical, LOL!

I mean, you DO know that some people in society are actually trained (and licensed by the State) to touch your hallowed person, right (with doctors, LEOs, COs, TSA, being the most obvious examples)?

Anonymous said...

"What we need is metal detectors with bomb sniffing dogs."

As much of a lather some have worked themselves into, over what they refer to as "virtual strip searches", do you REALLY think the TSA is likely to deploy German Shepards? Giving critics reason to whine about how fascist the TSA has become, "siccing their attack dogs on hapless passengers"? Not likely.

Also, in support of RB, you should at least change "can't" to "don't" when referring to the machines' ability to store images.

R u kidding?

Hopefully you'll agree with me that pigs CAN'T fly. Therefore, it is unnecessary to tell them, "don't fly!" because they CAN'T.

If the person watches the scanner screen says they see something then you get a physical pat down. If the pat down finds something you get arrested. They don't need to depend on scanner image to prove anything.

True, although it might be advisable to produce images to justify why an administrative search transitioned into a criminal investigation (for prosecution under criminal charges. One case that demonstrates the proper escalation of invasiveness of methods used, based on prior screening results, is U.S. vs Aukai).

I dare say that the statement of "images are not stored" is properly interpreted as they're not written to a storage device (hard drive, burned to CD-R, USB flash drive, etc).

It does NOT imply that they aren't temporarily loaded into volatile memory (RAM) which would be maintained until the device is powered off, or memory is purged (perhaps periodically, like daily). It also doesn't mean that TSA couldn't simply take a photo of the screen of a true positive, if a record was needed.

But for screening purposes, there's absolutely no need to keep ALL the images (i.e. those that don't indicate evidence of hidden weapons or contraband), even if only on the basis of the greater costs for storage of anything but the positive images.

Such a practice would add unjustifiable expenses to the screening process (and extremely likely to be ruled as inadmissible evidence, from an legal standpoint, if for whatever reason it should be introduced as evidence in a later case).

Anonymous said...

If these images aren't of the public, but test images, why is the TSA fighting this request so hard? Why won't the TSA let the public see their actual lab-created images?

Just once, i'd like to see some actual honesty and forthrightness out of the people who work for the TSA.

Anonymous said...

avxo said...
That's not necessarily true.
First, if current policy is to only conduct the "enhanced pat-downs" if an anomaly is detected, someone who is subjected to such a patdown that reveals nothing could sue, and being able to point to an anomaly on the scan could be the deciding factor for the Court. We are a very litigious society after all, and so this isn't a far-fetched scenario.

My understanding is that the current TSA policy is that they can do a pat-down on anyone for any reason. I'm not saying I agree with this policy, but I believe that's how they operate.

Anonymous said...

avxo said...
And please stop being ridiculous. The notion that you will be arrested if something is found in a pat-down is laughable.

Give me a break - I thought that people would be able to figure out that "finding something" referred to a weapon and not a harmless object.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

If the images requested by EPIC through the FOIA were only "lab images," why didn't the TSA release them? It sounds like the TSA wants to control the number of strip search scanner images available for viewing by the public. I believe it is because they are too explicit and revealing, which would cause further calls for removing this offensive technology from our airports.

As mentioned in comments above, any feature that can be turned on, like blurring the face or adding the ATR plug-in, can be turned off. Saying, "We tell agents not to do that," does not mean anything because there are so many agents making up their own interpretations of what they "can" or "cannot" do.

Since a certain percentage, say 10%, of any group is going to be liars, thieves, and just generally bad, that means over 6000 agents, managers, administrators who may have access to strip search scanners, not to mention the genitals of millions of American citizens.

Finally, the scanners at the airports CAN store images, per TSA specifications. Please correct your post to reflect the truth.

Anonymous said...

TSA says...."The machines in our labs store images, and the machines at airports cannot."

I say. This is a LIE. It's outrageous that people who are writing lies to us are being paid by our tax dollars to deceive us. What has our nation become?

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "Without the image "describing the place to be searched", there is no probable cause.

Or are you one of those "Youse 'Probable' guilty, 'cause' I say so" types?
"

This has been brought up a million times on here and, more importantly, quite a few times in Courts. Bottom line: Administrative searches in general, such as those conducted by TSA, pass Constitutional muster.

Mike Toreno said...

"As much of a lather some have worked themselves into, over what they refer to as "virtual strip searches", do you REALLY think the TSA is likely to deploy German Shepards? Giving critics reason to whine about how fascist the TSA has become, "siccing their attack dogs on hapless passengers"? Not likely."

Use Pomeranians then. The issue is the dog's smelling ability, not its size and ability to intimidate.

The real problem with using dogs has to do with the problems involved in training the TSA screening clerks to handle the dogs.

Anonymous said...

The images would show what can and cannot be seen. They are not going to release them simply because it would make it even easier then it already is to get past the machines.

It has been explained as clear as day in the Journal of Transportation Security article how to bypass them. But if the TSA releases the images it will be a clear indication of their ineffectiveness. Which would undermine the TSA's legal justification for deploying them.

There is a lot of money and political careers riding on these things. Remember they were sold as bomb detectors, now they are anomaly detectors.

Concerned Observer said...

Anonymouse said:
Also, in support of RB, you should at least change "can't" to "don't" when referring to the machines' ability to store images.

R u kidding?

Hopefully you'll agree with me that pigs CAN'T fly. Therefore, it is unnecessary to tell them, "don't fly!" because they CAN'T.
---
I agree that pigs can't fly, but the truth is, the machines can store images, but only when in test mode. The fact that BB won't change one measly word to be more truthful makes me wonder what other information he has presented is untruthful.

Just check the EPIC site... or even just this PDF. http://epic.org/privacy/airtravel/backscatter/TSA_Reply_House.pdf

*screenshot saved

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez – “If these images aren't of the public, but test images, why is the TSA fighting this request so hard? Why won't the TSA let the public see their actual lab-created images?

Just once, i'd like to see some actual honesty and forthrightness out of the people who work for the TSA.”

Anon, the images that are in that group are used for training, testing and research. It is a logical step to protect those images since anyone could use them to learn the abilities of the machine, and work to find ways to circumvent the screening with them. We have released images of what the imagery is like here on this blog, and there have been some media releases that show the imagery as well.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
Anon, the images that are in that group are used for training, testing and research. It is a logical step to protect those images since anyone could use them to learn the abilities of the machine, and work to find ways to circumvent the screening with them. We have released images of what the imagery is like here on this blog, and there have been some media releases that show the imagery as well.

1) First you say the images must be secret because they can be used to 'learn the abilities of the machine', then you admit you (and the press) have released some of the images. What stops the already released images from being used to 'learn the abilities of the machine'??

2) The cat is already out of the bag- there was a paper published a few months ago about how stuff can be smuggled past these type of scanners (I will forebear going into details to be safe.) Great job, TSA- keeping secret things that are already public knowledge.

Anonymous said...

West said: "We have released images of what the imagery is like here on this blog"

You released images. Pure propaganda.

Bob has admitted these are NOT the images you see.

Please try to find the honesty to stop passing off what you have published as the images the machines create when in operation by you.

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said:
"Anon, the images that are in that group are used for training, testing and research. It is a logical step to protect those images since anyone could use them to learn the abilities of the machine, and work to find ways to circumvent the screening with them. We have released images of what the imagery is like here on this blog, and there have been some media releases that show the imagery as well. "

Sorry but this is ridiculous. By your own admission, there are images out in public so someone who wanted to know the capabilities of the machine already have them.

My guess is that the images show significant shortcomings for the machines.

The FOIA request will be upheld. Move along, nothing to see here except TSA incompetence.

RB said...

Just once, i'd like to see some actual honesty and forthrightness out of the people who work for the TSA.

January 19, 2011 4:54 PM

.............
You will be worm food before that happens.

RB said...

Anon, the images that are in that group are used for training, testing and research. It is a logical step to protect those images since anyone could use them to learn the abilities of the machine, and work to find ways to circumvent the screening with them. We have released images of what the imagery is like here on this blog, and there have been some media releases that show the imagery as well.

West
TSA Blog Team

January 20, 2011 12:50 PM

.............
Are these WBI images posted on the TSA Blog exactly the same size and resolution that the WBI machine operator views?

Anonymous said...

West,

The alleged terrorists that the TSA keeps bringing up to justify its existence is not the real reason the TSA is keep all 2000 of the lab images away from the public's eye. It's a smoke screen that many of us see through because

1. Terrorist groups already know a lot more about how security and procedures work than the general public.

2. The TSA wants to continue getting funded.

3. The vendors of the strip search scanners want to continue making millions of dollars from the American public.

Treating all lawful American citizens as suspected terrorists and violating our privacy and rights does not keep info out of real terrorists' hands and is just plain wrong.

Anonymous said...

It is a logical step to protect "those images since anyone could use them to learn the abilities of the machine, and work to find ways to circumvent the screening with them. We have released images of what the imagery is like here on this blog, and there have been some media releases that show the imagery as well.

-----------------------------------

If the released images are "like" the real images, then the cat is already out of the bag.

If the released images are not "like" the real images, then the TSA lied to the public.

Which is it?

Anonymous said...

"We have released images of what the imagery is like here on this blog, and there have been some media releases that show the imagery as well."

However, "Blogger Bob" has admitted after a year of questioning that none of the images you have released are of the same size or resolution as those seen by the operators of your strip-search technology. I know it's very hard for you to not be dishonest, West, but at least pretend to try, ok?

Anonymous said...

The TSA blog is a disgrace.
I asked again how the TSA can GUARANTEE passenger privacy in a body scanner when the scanner viewer and the scanner operative machine side communicate VERBALLY with each other about the passenger being scanned!
You refuse to post this issue. It does not breach the blog guidelines. What a disgrace.
Will you post this? Let's see.

Lawrence Fine said...

Bob,

Why did you choose not to post my two-part posting? It was very much on-topic and didn't violate any of your criteria. I'll give you a day or two (max) and then I will post it elsewhere and it will have very long legs. Post it here and you will have a lot less 'splaining to do.

Anonymous said...

That's a perfect racket, really. Anything the TSA finds embarrassing and doesn't want to let the public know? Well, obviously, that information would help terrorists so it has to remain secret.

I should try that some time. "No, sweetie, I can't tell you where I was yesterday, because that information would help terrorists."

Gunner said...

At Charlotte I get "selected" to go through the nude-o-scope, and as I was tired after a long week, I chose to risk my health rather than start a fight.

Besides, I figure that those blue shirts working the machine will have leukemia in just a few short years.

I went into the machine -- please note that one cannot see their possessions while staring at the wall of hte machine -- waited a few moments and stepped out on the little shoe print images.

There was an anomoly. I had forgotten to take off my cheap, mostly plastic watch. The gentleman on my side of the radio was soft-spoken and polite (gee, that only hurt for a minute) and patted down my right arm. I apologizxed for forgetting to remove my watch, he said it was no problem, I gathered up my belongings and was on my way.

So, I'll pass along kudos for the courtesy of the radio guy, and the fact that he restricted his secondary search to the arm in question.

I'll raise concerns about my inability to see my possessions (I was travelling wtih two fairly expensive laptops and was distressed to have them out of my sight).

Now, the rest of the story...

I pointedly ignored the BDO that was engaging passengers in small talk as then entered the security line. i believe in my heart that I was selected for the nude-o-scope for that reason. It was not random. The nude-o-scope was being shared by two lines and the lady there was making a point of announcing that she was selecting from both lines, yet whenI stepped up to load my crap in the bins for x-ray, she was on me like glue.

I also question why the TSA has to raise money by selling advertising on the bottom of the bins. Tacky, tacky, tacky. Although it does help me choose where NOT to shop in the future.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
It is a logical step to protect "those images since anyone could use them to learn the abilities of the machine, and work to find ways to circumvent the screening with them. We have released images of what the imagery is like here on this blog, and there have been some media releases that show the imagery as well.

-----------------------------------

If the released images are "like" the real images, then the cat is already out of the bag.

If the released images are not "like" the real images, then the TSA lied to the public.

Which is it?

__________________________________

Is that a trick question? WE KNOW THAT THE TSA HAS BEEN LYING TO US REPEATEDLY FOR A VERY LONG TIME NOW.

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
Anon sez – “If these images aren't of the public, but test images, why is the TSA fighting this request so hard? Why won't the TSA let the public see their actual lab-created images?

Just once, i'd like to see some actual honesty and forthrightness out of the people who work for the TSA.”

Anon, the images that are in that group are used for training, testing and research. It is a logical step to protect those images since anyone could use them to learn the abilities of the machine, and work to find ways to circumvent the screening with them. We have released images of what the imagery is like here on this blog, and there have been some media releases that show the imagery as well.

West
TSA Blog Team

____________________________

So, if the images are already in the public domain, why not simply release the additional images instead of hiding them. After all, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, right? You know, the dishonesty and hypocrisy that the TSA moderators on this site display are disgusting and their actions are un-American.

If terrorist are intent on attacking airports or airplanes, they could simply get jobs as airport workers and walk through security unchecked like the rest of them. We are having our rights and dignity stripped from us by a government out of control that is enriching their cronies (Chertoff) at our expense.

Anonymous said...

gunner said:
"Besides, I figure that those blue shirts working the machine will have leukemia in just a few short years."

totally uncalled for and heartless, they are Americans that are trying to make ends meet just like everyone else.

Anonymous said...

gunner said:
"I also question why the TSA has to raise money by selling advertising on the bottom of the bins. Tacky, tacky, tacky. Although it does help me choose where NOT to shop in the future."

not tsa doing it its the local port authority

Anonymous said...

This post attempts to counter the claims by EPIC that airport body scanners are privacy intrusive. When you look at the evidence the TSA fails.
You state that 'the person viewing is in a remote location and never actually sees you.' The problem is they do not need to see you to know who you are. In the DHS brief against EPIC they state: 'there is NO possible way to LINK an image with a passenger'.
This is patently untrue for two reasons:
(1) The DHS and TSA state that 'to resolve an anomaly, the transportation security officer viewing the image COMMUNICATES to a transportation security officer at the checkpoint via RADIO ( there is two-way verbal communication ). If a celebrity goes through a body scanner with an 'anomaly' then their scanner image will be LINKED to their celebrity identity.
(2) The TSA state that 'it is recommended that individuals with a pacemaker carry a Pacemaker Identification Card ( ID ) when going through a body scan'. This information will directly LINK an image with a personal identity.
None of this contravenes your posting policy, so if you do not post this post it will be because you do not want people to know the unpalatable truth. Does anyone at the TSA want to deny any of this?

January 14, 2011 7:06 PM

I'll address this...
1. If a celebrity goes through the person in the remote room is not going to know. All they will see is an image. The images, exacty like the images that have been posted and in front of the machines. If you have any common sense and two eyes you can see there is no obvious way to tell.
2. Honestly I don't know what to say to this. It does not make sense and I don't understand the argument. If a person chooses to carry the card how is the machine or person looking at the image going to know or even care about what is on that card?

Anonymous said...

With regard to the IDENTIFICATION of a passenger in a body scanner, annoymous said...
'I'll address this'.

Well, you clearly do not address this. If you had bothered to read what I said you would realise that a scanner operative machine side CAN VERBALLY inform the scanner operative viewing the naked image who the passenger is ( via two-way radio )- the anonymous image becomes identifiable.
With regard to a passenger carrying medical ID, this has their name and addresss on it. This information CAN be verbally relayed from scanner operative machine side to scanner operative viewing the image. Between them the two scanner operatives can link the naked image to a clear and real identity, i.e a recognisable person.
This is where privacy is not being protected.
Why is this so difficult to understand?
Will someone from the TSA attempt to address or resolve this issue?
This is a perfectly reasonable concern/request.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... [January 21, 2011 7:46 PM]
If a celebrity goes through the person in the remote room is not going to know. All they will see is an image. The images, exacty like the images that have been posted and in front of the machines. If you have any common sense and two eyes you can see there is no obvious way to tell.

1) If you think about it for a second, you will realize the guy in the back knowing it is a celebrity might just have something to do with the TWO WAY RADIO COMMUNICATION they have with the screener at the machine, who is certainly aware it's a celebrity.

2) The images that have been released, and the ones posted by the machines (if they indeed are) are LOW QUALITY, LOW RESOLUTION copies. They are certainly NOT "exacty like" whatthe guy in back sees.

Anonymous said...

All TSA checkpoints are videotaped from different angles. Each camera has a time stamp on it.

Since the scanners can store images, per the released FOIA documents, it is a simple task to match up the time stamp on the video with the time stamp on the scanner image.

Secondly since there is real time two way communication between the TSO at the checkpoint, and the TSO in the remote room. It is a simple affair for one to radio to the other "Here comes J-Lo!"

The argument with the pacemaker is this - If someone approaches a security checkpoint with a card that says "I am Bob Smith and have the following condition." It is again a simple matter of matching up that person with the scanner image. Pacemakers leave visible lumps just below the skin, and some have external wires. Both of these are easily picked up by the whole body scanner. So even if there were no timestamps on the video, one could easily say with certainty that person X with a pacemaker just went through the scanner.

The only way for the system to be anonymous is if the two way radio communication were removed, along with all video timestamps.

Anonymous said...

The TSA is creating and viewing nude images of children. In the best and most powerful nation in the history of the world, is this what we have become? Are we so afraid of a danger that is stastically less than the yearly danger of BEESTINGS that we will allow our government to force families to allow their children to be digitally strip searched? We were once the most free people on Earth, we are losing our freedom more and more every day.

MarkVII said...

Regarding the radio link between the checkpoint and the viewer of the imagery, I would like to know:

Is the radio link encrypted?

I had previously posed this as a rhetorical question, and would now like a definitive answer from the Blog Team. I think this is a significant privacy issue (not to mention a potential security issue).

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Anonymous said...

Let's list how body scanners CAN violate passenger privacy:

(1) The two-way verbal radio communication between scanner viewer and scanner operative enables, via linkage of naked image to passenger in the body scanner, passengers to be identified.
(2) Passenger carrying medical ID will have their naked image linked to their identity.
(3) Any celebrity with an embarrassing prosthesis ( mastectomy prosthesis ) will be 'outed' by the two-way radio communication. This information then enters the public realm.
(4) Any passenger with a mastectomy prosthesis travelling through their small local airport may well actually know the security operatives working there and will be embarrasingly 'outed' as a 'prosthetic'.
None of this violates your blog guidelines.

Gunner said...

gunner said:
"Besides, I figure that those blue shirts working the machine will have leukemia in just a few short years."

anonymous whined:
totally uncalled for and heartless, they are Americans that are trying to make ends meet just like everyone else.

----

No, totally uncalled for and heartless describes your employers policies and procedures. If the machines are THAT safe, then why aren't employees allowed to wear dosimeters?

Anonymous said...

Here's a simple solution for the nude cam operator: put them on camera.

Point a camera at them, from the side, so there's no way to see the screen. Then play that video on monitors prominently located and visible from the line of passengers.

If the operator is doing anything wrong, such as pulling out their cell phone to take a picture of a good image, thousands will see it.

What say you, TSA? Why can't we watch the watchmen?

Karl said...

Is ATR in development for the backscatter machines? AFAIK only L3 (the millimeter wave vendor) is offering ATR capabilities, which makes the decision to purchase the more dangerous backscatter machines even more absurd.

8675309 said...

"Holding out for new ATR technology is certainly not the way to go. If backscatter machines give off radiation how much do you think the ATR machines are going to have to use to make you a stick person like hospital xrays. What we need is metal detectors with bomb sniffing dogs..."

While it's never been proven that AIT technology is dangerous, 4.7 million Americans are injured by dogs each year and 26 are killed (source wikipedia).

My point is, that people will whine about any and every technique that is used to screen them but the truth is that there has never been a hijacking or explosion of a TSA screened flight. All the shoe bombers, underwear bombers, and international hijackings departed from non-TSA airports.

I'd rather TSA look at my junk instead of touch my junk, so don't take the machines away.

Anonymous said...

I was walking through the DC airport and the "remote location" of the screener is right next to the machines. Now, the person is boxed into a little office -- the only problem was the door was wide open (A/C problems?) and so anybody walking by could see both the LCD screens with images AND the person at the checkpoint.

I would like to report this incident.

Anonymous said...

Why do we have this blog if you cannot even be bothered to post people's comments or posts?

Anonymous said...

I don't think TSA would want to save images of x-rays. What use would that give them. Thats like going to the dr, taking an xray of an arm for example and knowing just by looking at the xray, who that arm belongs to. You cant. These arent really photos people. They can put up an xray image of me and put it on a billboard for all I care, no one is going to know its me!

Anonymous said...

8675309 said...
While it's never been proven that AIT technology is dangerous, 4.7 million Americans are injured by dogs each year and 26 are killed (source wikipedia).


Every doctor on the planet is advising people not to step into the backscatter machines. Radiation is not good. They give it to cancer patients as a last resort and even then you can not have the treatments in more than one spot. The technology is to new to be proven. You want to believe what a government agency is telling you go for it. There is no proof these machines are safe. Are you willing to put your kids in them? Are you willing to let some 55 year old man oogle at your 13 year old girl? What is wrong with you people. What happen to true Americans? Where are the men who used to take care of their families. The men who would never allow their families to be frisked and put into machines like this. You people make me want to puke. I would rather be blown up in an airplane than to live in a world where this normal behavior.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Your refusal to post my response to

"I would like to report this incident"

Simply proves my response was spot on.

Thank you once again for showing your personal disdain for the traveling public.

Earl Pitts said...

@8675309: "My point is, that people will whine about any and every technique that is used to screen them but the truth is that there has never been a hijacking or explosion of a TSA screened flight."

It could also be because of my magic rock. It keeps terrorists off of planes originating in the US. How do I know it works? Have you seen any terrorists on those flights?

Given the high failure rates cited by the GAO and the porous security in nonpassenger areas, the only reason there hasn't been an attack is that they haven't really been trying. To date, TSA hasn't stopped a single terrorist or else they would be crowing about it and making sure EVERYONE knew that THEY stopped at terrorist.

"All the shoe bombers, underwear bombers, and international hijackings departed from non-TSA airports."

All on US bound flights that had to be screened to TSA standards or else they wouldn't be permitted to enter US airspace. Still think TSA has nothing to do with those? Think again.

Earl

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post! I've been very interested in this topic recently and searching for reading on it. I enjoyed your thoughts. I stumbled upon another blog like I stumbled upon yours. I really enjoyed her take on it: http://www.tchuddle.com/2011/01/a-nation-of-wimps-addendum/

Thanks for your post! I'd like to see more.

-Derek

RB said...

Since TSA has announced that a transition to ATR images are coming will TSA release WBI images as they were seen by TSA employees in the same size, resolution and without any shielding?

Whats to hide now except the TSA lies that the WBI images were safe for the cover of Reader's digest?

Anonymous said...

MarkVII asked…
Regarding the radio link between the checkpoint and the viewer of the imagery, I would like to know:

Is the radio link encrypted?
----------------------------------
Its not a radio link Mark, it’s a hard-wire, point to point (not a network). And yes, its encrypted.

Jeff Buske said...

DHS/TSA has created publicity and credibility issues with it's obsession with secrecy. ATI gives transparency of the peoples clothing but, while workings of government are obscured?
At the end of the day the purpose of government is to protect peoples rights.

Life: Means not being irradiated for "security" and dying from cancer years later.

Liberty: Right to Travel unmolested.

Privacy: Guess the founders remembered our private papers and our genitals are not considered effects.

Here is what we know:

1) MM-wave machines generate detailed images (above) of the body.

2)Backscatter x-ray generate extremely detailed images, due to nature of x-rays. AIT will resolve 40 gage wire, this is why FOIA image release is being resisted.

3) AIT purchase spec. requires local storage of last 5 images and 4X zoom tool function.

4) Machines are required to have network functionality. The claim images are not stored locally is probably true but, does not prelude images stored to a remote network hard drive.

5) Rapiscan medium (60KVp) x-rays do penetrate, dose constrained in the skin. Skin cells frequently divide making more prone to cancer.

6) Casual inspection of public backscatter images reveals "bone shadows" of lower leg. The "non-penetrating" x-rays are absorbed by your bones appear dark.

7) AS-E body scanners use hard x-rays (120KV) are VERY penetrating like medical CT or chest x-rays.

8) Read US Pat 5,313,511 AS-E AIT machines can and likely are taking both backscatter and TRANSMISSION AKA forward scatter (like chest x-ray).

9) Young children, expecting mothers, elderly and, people with the BARC1 gene should avoid x-ray exposure.

10) The images stored our unstored are in conflict with child pornography laws in many jurisdictions.

11) Frequent flyers and security personnel are also at risk, from AIT and luggage x-ray leakage.

12) Security are is radioactive from un-shield open AIT and leaking luggage equipment.

13) Displaying a public stick person does not reduce your exposure or eliminate the stored detailed image used to generate the outline image.


We at Rocky Flats Gear USA mfg of x-ray protective undergarments feel the use of radiation for general security is dangerous to public health. We hope sanity and a true concern for public health will return to USA.

Anonymous said...

So if contraband is detected going through an advanced imaging machine, wouldn't the government want a way to secure that image for prosecution? I find it hard to believe they do not have a way to preserve images for this type of situation

Mike Geary said...

In North America, civil lawsuits, as well as criminal code changes against strip searches have usually been successful when a person is strip-searched by someone of the opposite sex, especially in cases where a woman has been strip-searched by a male guard or guards. The more disputed legal cases have often involved the presence of persons of the other gender during a strip search. Some of these cases have been less successful because of the legal technicality of who was actually performing the strip search, i.e. if multiple guards are present, the search is often (legally) said to be being performed by the person or persons giving the orders or instructions to the person or persons being searched.

Another legal issue is that of blanket strip searches, such as in jails where arrestees are routinely strip-searched prior to having been found guilty of any crime in a court of law. Courts have often held that blanket strip searches are acceptable only for persons found guilty of a crime. For arrestees pending trial, there must be a reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is in possession of weapons or other contraband before a strip search can be conducted. The same often holds true for other situations such as airport security personnel and customs officers, but the dispute often hinges on what constitutes reasonable suspicion.