TSA Scanner and then some

Oh well …

We were told that the TSA Body scanners are not able to store or print the sensitive pictures that the airport security takes from you.

It is apparently not so.

Gizmodo has published a video with images of several – low-quality – images made at an Orlando courthouse and obtained under a freedom of information act request.

A quote from the Gizmodo article:

“The TSA and other government agencies have repeatedly touted the quality of “Advanced Imaging Technology” while simultaneously assuring customers that operators “cannot store, print, transmit or save the image, and the image.” According to the TSA—and of course other agencies—images from the scanners are “automatically deleted from the system after it is cleared by the remotely located security officer”. (end quote)

I’m confused here. In order to “delete” an image, doesn’t it have to be stored somewhere – at least temporary?

It is not that the scanners cannot save the images permanently. They actually can. TSA says, however, that the archiving capability is disabled by the manufacturer before delivery and cannot be re-activated by the TSA agents.


Why then do the machines have the archiving capabilities to begin with?

And wouldn’t it be tempting for a hacker to enable the saving capability again?

The scanner from the Orlando courthouse, by the way, was sent back to the manufacturer, intact with images and all. 35,000 of them.

As Gizmodo says: “We look forward to seeing your next vacation photos.”

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