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More Concerns Surface About Airport Body Scanners

By Peg Rusconi, WBZ-TV
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An airport backscatter body scanner is demonstrated (credit: AP)

An airport backscatter body scanner is demonstrated (credit: AP)

BOSTON (CBS) — If you fly out of Logan Airport, chances are you’ll be asked to walk through one of the 17 full body scanners at security checkpoints.   Travelers seem to fall into two camps.

Said Neal Thornberry, en route to North Carolina, “I’ve gone through a couple, don’t feel comfortable.”  On the other hand, Seattle-bound Linda Harris said, “Our safety is primary.  If that means scanning our body and looking at private parts, fine.”

Gizmodo.com has obtained 100 of 35,000 images from a scanner at an Orlando Courthouse where U-S Marshals who weren’t supposed to store images did.

Asked if scanners at Logan Airport might store images, the TSA’s George Naccara adamantly said no.

“Different system, different software,” said Naccara.  Naccara said the scanners at Logan Airport arrive without storage capability.  “I cannot save, TSA cannot save images.  The software change is made at the factory and I cannot override that.”

Travelers can opt out of the full body scan and undergo a metal detector and pat-down instead.  Privacy advocates object to both processes.

“Of course understand everyone wants to be safe when they fly, but we question whether this is really the best way to do that,” said Laura Rotolo of the American Civil Liberties Union.    

The anatomically explicit images created by the scanner can’t be seen by anyone who can see the actual person at the checkpoint. They’re viewed in a remote room.

Naccara says soon, they won’t be seen by anyone at all as better technology allows for a much more simplistic image.

“A stick figure.  That’s our goal.  In fact we could be the first airport that gets it.”   Possibly, he said, within six months.

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