Judge Says No To FOIA Request For TSA Body Scan Images

from the suspect-reasoning dept

Julian Sanchez points us to the news that a district court judge has rejected an attempt by the privacy-rights group EPIC to force Homeland Security to release some 2,000 full body scans from the TSA's new airport scanners. EPIC has been suing to get the new scanners banned, saying that the machines violate both the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable searches) and the Administrative Procedures Act, which requires a public review of such plans before the government can implement them.

The group had filed a Freedom of Information Act for a variety of information about the scanners a while back, and while Homeland Security provided some documents, it withheld 2,000 test images that were done with volunteers. EPIC then went to court, but the judge claimed that the government has no obligation to hand over such info, and that providing such info could "provide terrorists and others with increased abilities to circumvent detection by TSA and carrying threatening contraband onboard..." In other words, the judge buys into the TSA's strategy of security by obscurity.

Frankly, if it's really true that releasing some images of what these scans look like make it possible for terrorists to beat these machines, then these machines are clearly useless. The TSA is delusional if it thinks that terrorists can't get their hands on these kinds of images. If the machine is so weak that having some images teaches you how to beat it, then the machine shouldn't be used in the first place.
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Filed Under: freedom of information, scanners, tsa
Companies: epic, tsa

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  1. icon
    ComputerAddict (profile), 14 Jan 2011 @ 6:34am

    They should just release the images

    But then again if they released the images they would probably have huge "redacted" areas where huge black boxes cover the entire person.

    then again if you request the information enough times maybe you could piece it all together and get a whole set.
    (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101209/18050412224/fbi-almost-entirely-arbitrary-redacting -info-freedom-information-requests.shtml)

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