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Friday, January 14, 2011

Judge Says TSA Doesn't Have to Turn Over Body Scan Images to Civil Liberties Group

Posted By on Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 12:09 PM

click to enlarge TSA Doesn't Want to Reveal What It's Revealing
  • TSA Doesn't Want to Reveal What It's Revealing

As it turns out, when Big Brother is watching he doesn't have to reveal what he sees.

In the latest chapter of TSA v. The rest of America, a federal judge ruled that the Transportation Security Administration doesn't have to turn over the 2,000 images of passengers to a civil liberties group that was demanding to review the full body images.

In 2009, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group that monitors federal activities, submitted requests to view contracts between the TSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Whole Body Imagining, the company that makes the scanners. The group filed its request using the Freedom of Information Act.


Members also wanted all complaints related to the technology and unfiltered or unobscured body images that were recorded using the scanner technology, according to the lawsuit.

The Department of Homeland Security handed over all requested documents, except the training documents and 2,000 images of body scans taken of passengers prior to boarding their flights.

The agency withheld the specific images that its uses to train employees on how to spot threatening objects on a passenger. The images were also created for the purpose of testing out vendors, to determine which body imaging scanners would pick up on these threats.

The Department of Homeland Security claims it has already turned over a limited number of photos, and any more would threaten security, according to the lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina, agreed, saying "their disclosure would reveal the rule or practice itself."

It would probably reveal much more than that.

Hat tip: Courthouse News

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Bio:
Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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