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Full-Body Scanners May Be Storing Naked Photos of You

August 4, 2010 at 12:31 PM | by | ()

Full-body Scanning continues to be the hottest travel topic of 2010, and the debate over their level of privacy (or rather, lack of) is about to flare up yet again. You see, a Florida courthouse that uses a full-body scanner at their entrance has admitted that their machine has saved over 35,314 full-body scan images, using the machine's built-in ability to record up to 40,000 such scans.

Although no airport security has confessed to this happening to their machines, the scanner in question is a millimeter wave radiometer manufactured by Brijot, which could also be in your local airport. Find out more on millimeter wave scanners here, in our guide to the types of full-body scanners.

When you walk through a full-body scanner at an airport, you do so with the understanding that the resulting nakedish image of you is only to be seen by a single TSA worker in private, and then deleted permanently (assuming you aren't harboring any contraband or weapons). But what you don't know, and what we're finding out, is that these machines are totally capable of saving all those files. CNET reports:

A 70-page document (PDF) showing the TSA's procurement specifications, classified as 'sensitive security information,' says that in some modes the scanner must 'allow exporting of image data in real time' and provide a mechanism for 'high-speed transfer of image data' over the network. (It also says that image filters will 'protect the identity, modesty, and privacy of the passenger.'

Now with the findings at the Florida courthouse, we're back to square one. How can travelers be sure that their full-body scans aren't being made fun or or kept? And how can celebrities be sure that their scans won't be leaked and sold on eBay or aired on TMZ? The short answer is sadly the only answer right now: they can't.

[Photo: ideaion]

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