As if carry-on fees and contaminated food weren't enough to worry about, now the Feds are storing travelers' body scans.
For years, the Transportation Security Administration insisted it would never do such a thing. According to CNET, which broke the story, the TSA even said last summer the "scanned images cannot be stored or recorded."
Well, so much for that. Despite being denounced by privacy advocates, including child advocates and pornography opponents, the TSA is changing its tune, saying "they require all checkpoint scanners used at airports to have the ability to save and share images," NewsOxy.com reports.
So far, a whopping 35,000 images have been stored. And according to Spreadit.org, the U.S. Marshals Service recently gathered tens of thousands of images just from one Orlando, Fla. courthouse, where scanners were placed at the entrance.
The USMS specifically addressed the ensuing media backlash in an Aug. 5 statement, asserting the images obtained were in no way graphic, but rather "pixilated, chalky and blurred." They also claimed no one in Orlando had phoned a complaint, however the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a lawsuit against the TSA July 2, asking them to suspend the use of full-body scanners entirely and citing their use as a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, the Privacy Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Fourth Ammendment. But judge the images for yourself, would you complain?
Despite the hullabaloo, the full-body scanners aren't leaving anytime soon. In July, The New York Times reported "142 body scanners were in use at 41 airports and 450 more were set to be installed by the end of the year."
So travelers, get ready to truly get physical. Or invest in some Flying Pasties.
Check out MainStreet's coverage on body scanner safety.