Body scanners will transmit and store passenger images

Posted by a staff writer

A document obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) using Freedom of Information Act laws, clearly demonstrates that scanners used at US airports will store and transmit passenger images.

According to the documents obtained by EPIC, here, the scanners have hard drives, USB ports and Ethernet connectivity and pose questions about privacy, according to the organization.

The machines have a range of privacy settings that can be chosen by the airport authorities, and run on Microsoft Windows XP.

EPIC says on its web site that the specifications contradict asurances made by the TSA. The privacy filters can be disabled and image files exported as human "strips".

The organization said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has withheld other documents it's seeking.

The TSA says on its website that "strict privacy safeguards" are built into the scanners. It says: "The state of the art technology cannot store, print, transmit or save images. In fact all machines are delivered to airports with these functions disabled."

Officers looking at the image are not allowed to take any photo enabled devices into the resolution room and "each image is automatically deleted from the system after it is cleared by the remotely located security officer".