Take a Picture—It'll Last Longer


Since it announced plans to use body scanners at airports throughout the country, the Transportation Security Administration has reassured travelers wary of "virtual strip searches" that the humiliation would be fleeting. Last summer, for instance, it insisted that "scanned images cannot be stored or recorded." But that isn't true, as Declan McCullagh reports at CNET News:

The U.S. Marshals Service admitted this week that it had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse.

This follows an earlier disclosure by the TSA that it requires all airport body scanners it purchases to be able to store and transmit images for "testing, training, and evaluation purposes." The agency says, however, that those capabilities are not normally activated when the devices are installed at airports….

These "devices are designed and deployed in a way that allows the images to be routinely stored and recorded, which is exactly what the Marshals Service is doing," EPIC executive director Marc Rotenberg told CNET. "We think it's significant."

William Bordley, an associate general counsel with the Marshals Service, acknowledged in the letter that "approximately 35,314 images…have been stored on the Brijot Gen2 machine" used in the Orlando, Fla. federal courthouse. In addition, Bordley wrote, a Millivision machine was tested in the Washington, D.C. federal courthouse but it was sent back to the manufacturer, which now apparently possesses the image database.

[Thanks to Tricky Vic for the tip.]

NEXT: This Week in Innocence

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  1. I want a big, clear copy of that pic.

    For training purposes, of course.

    1. I think you could put funnier things down your pants than a gun.

      1. It’s rather dishonest for H&R to select this image as an accurate representation of actual scanner imagery, which becomes evident when you take the time to download it, import it into Photoshop and invert the negative to reveal a color photo of a trim and fit blond.

        1. Is this a joke that is too subtle for me to get? It’s well-known that if you invert the images from these scanners, you get nearly photo-real images.

          1. It isn’t a real TSA scanner image. That’s the joke.

            1. Damn, apparently the image shown on this post, and originally shown at Drudge months ago, is completely fake. Someone found the original photo at a stock photo site and took a screen grab for proof.

              Looks like the x-ray-ish effects were added later.


              Still, it is quite rewarding to invert and see the original…

            2. More fun: spot the original here:


              1. Real, fake…what the hell, as long as the propaganda is effective.

    2. I don’t even know why they’re bothering; their scanners are clearly broken. In the first picture, the girl’s arms at at her side. In the other two, they’re spread out. Fuckin’ thing sucks.

  2. …or put a handgun up in there…nicely done!

  3. I vote hot. Where’s the button?

  4. I think this is the government’s way to get us to support high speed rail. Make the experience of air travel so unpleasant that only people who have to cross an ocean will be willing to put up with it.

    1. Oh, and of course when people stop flying and the airlines go under, the government will say they are too big to fail and take them over.

    2. This has the potential to reinvigorate the passenger ship industry as well.

      1. Transocianic momorails!!!!!!!

        1. Or an Anglo-American Chunnel. It could stop at Bermuda on the way across.

    3. And it’s only a matter of time before TSA decides that to Keep America Safe(tm) that rail passengers must undergo the same screening as air passengers.

      1. Can’t have people hijacking trains and flying them into skyscrapers.


        Don’t know what happened afterwards.

    4. One you have ridden real HSR, you would know that it IS superior to flying for trips under ~300 miles, unless your destination is the airport (in which case, breakeven is probably closer to 200 miles).

      HSR avoids lots of hassels, drops you off closer to where you want to be (unless it is the airport), is easier to book, has a better on-time rate, and is infinitely more comfortable.

      1. …and would cost upwards of a Trillion dollars, half of which will just be kickbacks to the right Senators in the form of the least disease-ridden prostitutes, just to get started. Moreover, it still won’t get people to 90% of flyover country (the only part of the country affordable enough to visit anymore). When our bloated inefficient moronic government implements this successfully (used objectively here), call me from the year 2345 with your time phone to gloat.

  5. … is she a real blonde?

    1. Who cares. She’s hot.

      1. She might be a butterface though. But she at least has a very cute body.

        1. I thought she had a nice looking skull!

          1. True. I would hit it, butter face or not.

            1. If you’re the kind of mothafucka who’s predisposed to smiling and shit, you best kick that shit doggystyle.

        2. I was just admiring the shape of her skull.

    2. Why does the scanner lower her arms like that? That’s a weird effect.


  6. First, the substantive response:

    TSA has a response to this that makes some sense:…..oring.html

    Non substantive: I’d hit it.

    1. From the TSA:
      “An article from cnet has been making the rounds today about the US Marshal Service (NOT Federal Air Marshal Service) storing Advanced Imaging Technology images at a Florida courthouse checkpoint (Not a TSA checkpoint). This has led many to ask if TSA is doing the same.

      As we’ve stated from the beginning, TSA has not, will not and the machines cannot store images of passengers at airports. The equipment sent by the manufacturer to airports cannot store, transmit or print images and operators at airports do not have the capability to activate any such function.”

      Again, I would hit that

      1. Oh, well if they say so, then that’s A-OK.

      2. Bullshit. They can store and transmit images on any of those machines. They have writable harddrives and network connections for firmware updates.

    2. As we’ve stated from the beginning, TSA has not, will not and the machines cannot store images of passengers at airports.

      However, at the manufacturer’s facility, TSA has, will and the machines can store images of passengers.

    3. These procurement specs FOIAed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center are said to put the lie to TSA’s claim, although I haven’t waded through them myself.

  7. Has anyone wrapped aluminum foil around their waist before going through one of these things?

    FWIW I think you can still demand a pat down. But I do not know how much longer our masters will allow this.

    1. I feel really empowered knowing I have the right to tell the TSA, “Screw your scanners, I want the pat down!”

      1. Lower, … a little to the left, oooh, ahh! Don’t stop, don’t stop, DON’T STOP!

        1. Release the second chakra!!!

    2. I’d really like to know (no fooling) if you could paint some heinous insult on your body with metallic paint that could be seen in the scan.

      1. I was thinking something similar, but with those vinyl letter stickers on an undershirt. Something like “get a real job, pervert”. Or maybe a downward arrow with “Nice, isn’t it?”

      2. Maybe if you used a sunscreen with a high zinc oxide content it would show up. Easier to wash off, too.

      3. You probably could, but then you’d better be ready for the UFIA.

    3. Hmmm do I feel like molestation or eye-rape today? Choices, Choices. It was easier buying that damn coffee from Starbucks.

  8. So, the TSA was lying to us when they told us these wouldn’t be stored?

    Color me shocked. I do believe the commentariat was nearly unanimous in its skepticism and scorn the first time they said that.

    I see little reason, having had my scorn and skepticism justified, to abandon it now when the TSA puts on a new display of waffling and handwaving.

    1. Uh, RC, read Abdul’s post above. The stored images were on a scanner installed at a US Courthouse in Florida, operated by the US Marshal Service. USMS is a DOJ agency. TSA is a DHS agency.

      Not that I believe TSA about the capabilities of their machines, but I think it’s important to give them the benefit of doubt until we have evidence to the contrary.

      1. “I think it’s important to give them the benefit of doubt”

        1. I can fix that.

          “Specifically, the body scanners will have two modes of operation. In screening mode, which is the presumed mode for airport operation, the scanners will not be capable of storing and exporting images. In test mode, which is for training and evaluation purposes, the scanner can both store and export pictures.”


          So TSA scanners can in fact store photos.

          It not just an issue of which mode, but the overall functionality.

          1. Yeah. That references the procurement docs I linked to above.

      2. Why? They been caught lying time and time again. Their credibility is shot.

      3. “”but I think it’s important to give them the benefit of doubt until we have evidence to the contrary.””

        Evidence to the contrary has been presented.

  9. Now, *that’s* a merkin!

  10. Cue my complete lack of surprise at being lied to by the government in general and the worthless shitbags at the TSA in particular.

  11. Dude, that’ll be great wanking material for the five people in the universe who have yet to discover that there’s free porn on the internet!

    1. Just wait, inevitably there’ll be a case where some doofus has hundreds of body scans on his home computer. TSA will respond: “That’s a policy violation and we’re investigating it”

      1. I think it would be an SEC employee that had the scans on his computer.

    2. There’s free porn on the internet?

      1. That’s what I’m told. I mean, I wouldn’t know myself…

      2. There is now.

  12. People servile enough to meekly submit to strip searches at airports deserve to have their genital shots sold for profit.

    1. So you’ve got to be at a meeting on Monday morning at an important client’s offices in Indianapolis at 10:30 a.m. It’s 5:30 a.m. and you’re in D.C. at the airport. As you go through security, they wave you over to the body scanner.

      You tell them to fuck off?

      Then you no get on de plane.

      You gonna walk to Indy? Or just call you client and tell them sorry, I’m not meek enough to submit to the body scan.

      I’ve been through those things at least three times. I just feel sorry for the poor TSA sap that has to look at the glowing image of my arse. Other than that, meh. Nobody wants to look at my increasingly flabby and pasty body.

      The only way to not “submit” is to cease air travel completely. Which, for some of us, in some circumstances, simply is not an option, much as I would like it to be so. Air travel sucks a major one even without all the security to go through.

      1. Thing is, after you run for the Senate, somehow your scans get leaked and nobody wants to vote for you anymore.

      2. You (currently) may refuse the scan and take the pat-down. I do.
        Is it less a violation of privacy? No. But it fucks with them a bit. And if everyone would do it, it would possibly cause them to scrap the whole thing.

      3. You seem to be representing that you have no choice but to submit if you want to get on that plane. But that, of course, is obviously false.

        If you want to obey orders and allow them to photograph your genitals, it’s your right to submit to that probe. But don’t try and pass off astonishing passivity as anything other than your personal response to government functionaries to whom you grant authority to treat you that way.

  13. Almost makes you want to get a prince albert. Just to get a free tug from TSA member every time you fly…

    1. I got an apadravya. Getting through airport security is still fun. I set off the metal detectors every time and then some poor schmuck has to check my junk. It is a hoot.

      1. You so don’t want to do a Google image search on “apadravya.” Well…maybe you do…

  14. Anyone who’d even *glanced* at a computer in the last 10 years knows that their claim that the images can’t be saved was utter bullshit.

    Also, the color inversion/scheme on what the TSA sees on their screens is completely arbitrary. I am *sure* that the guys in the back rooms watching the feeds have their screens’ inversion permanantly in the “off” position.

    Take that jpg and do a simple “invert” in photoshop, and you get this:…..87b7_o.jpg

    1. God bless you.

    2. There’s still a gun up her butt, though.

      1. Usually that costs extra.

      2. You say that like it’s a bad thing.

        She’s got a smokin’ bod. Who the hell wouldn’t hit that?

      3. I suppose that’s one way to make perfectly clear that anal sex won’t be an option…

        1. Though I should add that it seems to be a somewhat self-defeating method.

    3. Cool.

    4. Ahh. The never ending quest for boobs, that starts at birth and ends at death.

    5. So, not a real blond then.

    6. If I remember right, the reason that works so well is that the process you used (in reverse) was how the image was created originally. This isn’t a real backscatter image; the guy who made it used a stock nude photo. I seem to recall some sort of scandal about that.

      1. Yep, unfortunately, it is fake.

        Fap Find the original here:

    7. Tits are so nice I had to make ’em twice.

  15. We’ll see how this works after the first 39K a year TSA screener gets offered $1 million bucks for some celebrity’s scans.

  16. My lifelong search for a woman who can weave her ass hair into a gun seemed crazy until now.

  17. I like the cut of your jib, Irresponsible Hater. As well as your knowledgeable and totally responsible use of Photoshop.

  18. Thanks Hater!

  19. So it seems that to Lobster Girl, we now can add TSA Scanner Girl.

    1. Scanner Girl is OK (I mean I’d hit it, if I could get a chit from the SO), but she’s not a patch on Lobster Girl.

  20. Alt-text fail

    1. Jacob was speechless.

  21. What happens when they discover your metallic butt plug? Do you say it’s part of your religion?

  22. Caption contest:

    “…I fell on it!”

  23. No place for hidin’ baby
    No place to run
    You pull the trigger of my
    Love gun, love gun
    Love gun, love gun

  24. Since you can clearly detect nipples, how would a scan of a minor not be child pornography?

    1. I get what you’re asking, but please don’t help perpetuate the idea that any picture of a nekkid kid is porn.

      1. Just ask the US Attorney; anything that a pediphile might want to look at is child pornography for purposes of charging someone with crime.

        1. Shit. Better throw away my Sears catalog.

  25. This is the age of collect and store. If a crime happens, you have information you can review as to how they did something. You can bet that the same applies here. When these things are mandatory and someone sneaks something in, you can bet they will want to review the scans.

    1. Yep, now the spank-bank no longer needs to be in the domain of the mind for the fortunate TSA employees. I can’t wait till they catch these fucks jerkin’ it in the bathroom to grainy x-ray photos.

  26. Because the gubmint says it’s not, kinnath.

    1. I am waiting for the pay-per-view Death Match that will occur when (not if) a US Attorney with a little extra political ambition goes after some TSA agent that could not resist the chance at a quick payday.

    2. Perhaps a bit tardy, but…

      It’s good to see you back, Xeones.

  27. FUBAR, truly FUBAR

  28. The government only collects data for good purposes.

  29. For what it’s worth, those scanner photos are fake. Not that real ones are much less pornographic.

  30. Apparently the TSA has a blogger named Blogger Bob, and he’s quite the investigative reporter. I like that he thinks this is somehow acceptable. That’s some good work, Bob.

  31. I am suprised Reason picked this up. I understood exactly what the TSA intended. I don’t know why people would allude to the TSA having authority over a courthouse scanner? Airports “shouldn’t” be saving the images. It didn’t come across my mind to assume that at a courthouse.

  32. Anyway, let’s ask the President if he’ll allow his two girls to be scanned. That’ll settle this issue once and for all. We promise not to distribute the pictures to Pakistani porn sites. Honest.


    See what a whole body scan of me looks like!

    1. You are worse than Eminem.

      Here is your song:

  34. Ok I’ll say it, fake or not the concept behind the picture is pure bullshit… any monkey with a metal detecter would have discovered the pistol

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