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Bollywood Confidential

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A rumor is going around that Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan had an Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) image of himself leaked by UK Security officers at Heathrow. This rumor, though juicy, is unfounded.

TSA reached out to the UK's Department for Transport (DFT) and learned that, just like advanced imaging technology machines in U.S. airports, they do not have printers or the ability to store images in the airport setting.

Additionally, DFT pointed TSA to the source of the rumor: an interview with BBCs Jonathan Ross. Though he doesn't explicitly say that he's joking, we can confirm in all seriousness that the machines don't do what he jokingly describes.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

Show us the checkpoint video then, if you're so confident it's a lie.

Submitted by NoClu on

Way to go. This is a timely response to a story that could swiftly spool out of control. I encourage you to address other issues in an equally forthright and timely way.

Submitted by Bob on

Anonymous said... Show us the checkpoint video then, if you're so confident it's a lie. February 10, 2010 4:16 PM
-------------------
This request needs to go through the UK's Department of Transport. TSA does not screen at Heathrow.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Of course you would tell us about this hoax. But we know it.

But if you're so diligent in following up, can you tell us why people can't travel when they have cards with Arabic letters in their possession?

Submitted by Anonymous on

These kind of rumors would not circulate if passengers were able to see the person doing the screening and the images generated in this process.

Submitted by Anonymous on

DHS/TSA thrive on bad press as it keeps their organization's name out front. Any press is good press.

Submitted by Ernie on

There's no way you can expect any right-thinking individual to believe that TSA staffers with camera phones are not going to take pictures of the screen, unless the TSA is willing to commit and show proof that pat downs and use of the scanners are used ON THE TSA EMPLOYEES before they head to the scanning rooms.

I mean, let's be serious. If *I* was a scanner person and some hot celeb came through, I'm honest - I'd take a picture and email it to all my friends bragging about it. Why should we believe the TSA folks are any different?

Submitted by Colyn TSO on

Anonymous said...
Of course you would tell us about this hoax. But we know it.

But if you're so diligent in following up, can you tell us why people can't travel when they have cards with Arabic letters in their possession?

February 10, 2010 5:07 PM
-----------------------------------

I've never seen someone prevented from flying for reasons which you describe. In fact, I've screened many Arabic passengers, and folx who speak Arabic. In my experience, they're very kind and respectful. They receive no more attention than any other passenger, unless they alarm the screening process.

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

Hmmmm...

So Bob does want to discuss alleged and real failures of foreign governments, but doesn't want to discuss the TSA.

Submitted by Anonymous on

@ Anonymouse February 10, 5:09PM

Why would you want to see the person doing the screening? Then they can see you. Not only that, if you can see the images generated, so can the rest of the traveling public. I'm sure no one wants to see that.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I think if the TSA installed 1-way cameras that enable the passengers to see the person doing the screening, it would alleviate some of the uncertainty about the what the screener is doing. the TSA is spending $150-200,000 per scanner, what is another $500 to put some of the passengers fears to rest. After all the screener is looking at us naked, why can't we look at him while he views us? Albeit many people will still want to see the full resolution images.....but I think this would be a good start.

Submitted by HappyToHelp on

Bob said...
“TSA does not screen at Heathrow.”

Darn. I’m going to have to trash my transfer paperwork. :)

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by HappyToHelp on

Anonymous said...
"These kind of rumors would not circulate if passengers were able to see the person doing the screening and the images generated in this process."

I disagree. The terminal is in a remote viewing area in order to maintain passenger privacy, and I think rumors like this would continue regardless. If having a officer review your image in a remote area makes you feel uncomfortable, you can simply decline to go through the WBI. Whole Body Imaging is optional here in the good old USA.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by M on

Anonymous said...
"These kind of rumors would not circulate if passengers were able to see ...."

I think you are in the minority on this one, most people I have talked to about this would rather the officer viewing the image not be in the same room. A second key point would be it makes it harder for a team to defeat the process. It adds a layer of security to have the person viewing the image in a different room.

Submitted by TSm, Been on

These kinds of rumours would not circulate if people would stop getting crazy (see at least 1/2 the post on this blog!) about the whole 2 minutes (or less!) it takes them to get through security!

I swear some of the people who constantly post to this blog must spend a good deal of thier waking hours here to nitpick and complain about stuff that: 1. can't be changed and 2. Have already been answered and (see #1)!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Ever heard a little story about a boy who cried wolf?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Though as you mention, the machines don't have printers, it's quite possible that one of the security personnel took a picture of the screen using their mobile phone (or similar) and then printed it off/passed it around from that.

The end result is the same, a picture taken by the security machine is handed around. Have you looked into that option?

Submitted by AngryMiller on

As much as I bash TSA on nearly everything they do, this story is BOGUS. A publicity stunt, nothing more, nothing less. No conspiracy.

Submitted by Anonymous on

HappyToHelp said...

Anonymous said...
"These kind of rumors would not circulate if passengers were able to see the person doing the screening and the images generated in this process."

I disagree. The terminal is in a remote viewing area in order to maintain passenger privacy, and I think rumors like this would continue regardless. If having a officer review your image in a remote area makes you feel uncomfortable, you can simply decline to go through the WBI. Whole Body Imaging is optional here in the good old USA.

Tim
TSA Blog Team
------------------------

I for one definitely want to see my own image produced by these machines! Why can't I have that option? After all it is my body so why should I not be allowed to see it as the screener does? If anyone else peers over my shoulder and sneaks a peek then that is the price I pay for asking to see it. So because I consent to viewing my own image (if someone sneaks a peek) the blame would lie completely on me for asking to see it in the first place, so the TSA would not be liable. Also you could just as easily build a cabinet around or hang a towel over the viewing monitor to shield any passenger that did not want to see my image. After all when the machines were first introduced in England passengers were able to view their own image.....why has the TSA never offered that option?

Submitted by Anonymous on

M said...
Anonymous said...
"These kind of rumors would not circulate if passengers were able to see ...."

I think you are in the minority on this one, most people I have talked to about this would rather the officer viewing the image not be in the same room. A second key point would be it makes it harder for a team to defeat the process. It adds a layer of security to have the person viewing the image in a different room.
------------------------

Who exactly have you talked to? Other TSA employees? And can you explain how viewing the image in a walled off porno booth changes the actual image produced? What is the extra layer of security you are eluding to? After all terrorists already know how to defeat these scanners. They are already surgically implanting explosives in their bodies where the scanners can't see. What is the TSA's timeline for requiring passengers to submit to a cavity search? IMO the TSA is the most expensive circus on the face of the Earth.

Submitted by RB on

HappyToHelp said...
Anonymous said...
"These kind of rumors would not circulate if passengers were able to see the person doing the screening and the images generated in this process."

I disagree. The terminal is in a remote viewing area in order to maintain passenger privacy, and I think rumors like this would continue regardless. If having a officer review your image in a remote area makes you feel uncomfortable, you can simply decline to go through the WBI. Whole Body Imaging is optional here in the good old USA.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

February 11, 2010 12:10 AM
................
You and the rest of TSA just don't get it.

If someone is looking at my naked image then I have lost all privacy. It doens't matter if they can't see me directly or if I can or cannot see them.

A strip search, real or virtual, is just completely wrong when all a person wants to do is to go from one place to another.

Why do I have to be treated like a criminal just to fly on a commercial airplane?

Why are TSA employees and all airport employees not given the same screening that I am forced to endure?

Submitted by RB on

TSm, been said...
These kinds of rumours would not circulate if people would stop getting crazy (see at least 1/2 the post on this blog!) about the whole 2 minutes (or less!) it takes them to get through security!

I swear some of the people who constantly post to this blog must spend a good deal of thier waking hours here to nitpick and complain about stuff that: 1. can't be changed and 2. Have already been answered and (see #1)!

February 11, 2010 12:55 PM

.....................
So TSA's WBI "Child Porno Viewers" can only process 30 people per hour? You stated two minutes per person. How will TSA screen everyone in a timely manner when these "Child Porno Viewers" are the primary form of screening?

What happens if an airplane goes down and the people were screened by a TSA "Child Porno Viewer"?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
These kind of rumors would not circulate if passengers were able to see the person doing the screening and the images generated in this process.

February 10, 2010 5:09 PM

But then that would allow the TSO to see the individual being screened. Is that what you want? Perhaps a one way mirror so you can see into the screeners box. OH but the images are SSI so you wouldnt be able to see them anyways.

Submitted by Trollkiller on
M said...

I think you are in the minority on this one, most people I have talked to about this would rather the officer viewing the image not be in the same room. A second key point would be it makes it harder for a team to defeat the process. It adds a layer of security to have the person viewing the image in a different room.

I wonder if those people you talked to would have the same opinion if they knew that the "officer" is alone in the room, is not monitored, is not screened for recording devices prior to entering, and TSA employees have been arrested for sexual crimes ranging from child molestation to human trafficking.

Maybe if the device could not be easily defeated by secreting the explosive or contraband under the breast or tucked in a fat fold, then it might be worth the risk of a pervert in the peep show booth.

BTW just in case anyone is curious, You can buy a watch, pen, key fob, disposable lighter, and sunglasses with video recording capabilities. (total for all, less than $300)

The only way the TSA can guarantee that these images will not be stolen is to have the "officer" watching in the nude.
Submitted by Anonymous on

Silly really, but what about those scanners and the inability for staff to understand what they are seeing?

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/02/06/my-left-breast-put-fancy-tsa-sca...

Perhaps this writer's idea of selling the pictures to the passengers (like one received at an amusement park ride) is not a bad idea? Could help fund more training...perhaps?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm completely OK with people believing this story. The more people who are against these humiliating, unconstitutional, unhealthy strip search machines, the better.

And we all know that it is just a matter of time before a celebrity's nude-o-picture appears on TMZ, courtesy of a TSO.

Submitted by TSO Jacob on

Ernie said... "I mean, let's be serious. If *I* was a scanner person and some hot celeb came through, I'm honest - I'd take a picture and email it to all my friends"

The TSOs are in a seperate location and cannot see the actual person they are screening. So how would you know if the person you are looking at is a celeb or not?

Submitted by TSO Jacob on

"I think if the TSA installed 1-way cameras that enable the passengers to see the person doing the screening, it would alleviate some of the uncertainty about the what the screener is doing"

I like this idea. I'm on board!

Submitted by TSO Jacob on

Ernie,

First off, this incident happened back in August. That is when the people on this blog discussed the incident at great length. So this isn’t something “new” that’s happening every week.

Secondly, as stated before, TSA does not have a procedure to stop people for flashcards in any language nor speaking any particular language. I have personally seen many people travel through my airport that speak Arabic or Farsi, or have literature written in a foreign language and nothing ever happened to them. The reasoning behind the further scrutiny that TSA gave to the individual was obviously something else that was in his bag or on his person. Any x-ray operator would not have a bag checked to look at flash cards and the TSOs would not know that the flash cards had Arabic translations until they actually went into the bag for some other suspicious item.

Third, like you, I don’t work at the airport in question, you or I can only render random guesses as to why a Law enforcement officer was called, but, at the point in which the Philadelphia police stepped in, TSA stepped out. Everything that happened after that, the handcuffs, being held in custody, the FBI interview was all after TSA was removed from the situation.

Lastly, I don’t know how the Philadelphia police work but at my airport if the LEO shows up and no crime or reasonable suspicion of a criminal act has occurred then they release the passenger. All police departments have strict guidelines, policies and procedures to follow. If the police took further action there was something more than just carrying flash cards going on.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"The end result is the same, a picture taken by the security machine is handed around. Have you looked into that option?"

Of course not. TSA is not screening the operators of its strip-search machines, which will enable pedophile TSOs to retain naked pictures of children.

Submitted by Andy Fox on

Funny but also sad. Rumors can lead to some serious bad situations.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bob, you wouldn't be tracking IP addresses for retaliation of your critics now would you?

Submitted by Anonymous on

How about a requirement that each person being strip-searched by this machine be allowed to see the scan of the person operating the WBI? After all, the person being screened won't be able to see who's screening him/her.

What's fair for one should be fair for both?

Oh, what, you don't like that? Invades the privacy of the operator? Oh, I see, some folks are more equal than others.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Dear Bob,

where did you find all these guys coming to your "rescue"? I know we have to "believe" you that WBI nude-o-scopes add a layer of security on air traffic, however: how come that some experts say they are not increasing the level of security and just cost money? There are western governments that did not allow the use of WBIs for that reason.

And again, what is the issue with putting the screener in a one-way mirror room so that we can see him but he can't see us?

If you google news TSA the first 50+ hits are stories about the TSA failing. What gives us the confidence that THIS time you got it right?

Submitted by Andy on

If your so interested in clearing up rumors about Shah Rukh Khan, why don't you address the detention of Shah Rukh Khan by CBP (the other blue uniform people) at Newark Airport last year?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have a very simple suggestion to shut-up all these critics here: Just offer a $1000 compensation for the traveller for every serious mistake the TSA makes. If you want, you could recover (parts of) that from the TSOs salary. Since - as you rightfully point out - the TSA is professional workforce there should really not be any issue with that right?

I can't wait to see such a programme being implemented, then people would not need to fear about their nude picture being leaked by the TSA, people would stop to complain about NEXUS cards and US Passport Cards not being accepted at the checkpoint and you could demonstrate how professional the TSA really is.

What do you think?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Either the images are indecent or they aren't. If they are, this technology should not be used. If they aren't, there is no reason why they have to be hidden, in particular from the person being scanned. The setup of these scans convinces me the TSA is trying to hide something from us.

Submitted by Anonymous on

ok, the person viewing the images is in a secluded room, and can't see who is in the scanner. how would they know to take a picture of an image, guessing it might be a celebrity.
Nothing can be good enough for you people

Submitted by Anonymous on

In response to Ernie: if a TSA employee valued their job, they would not take & share a picture as if they did that they would be fired immediately.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I don't know how it is at other airports, but some of the remote viewing aread have cameras posistioned above the screener, so as to only see the screener, and not the screen itself. Also once they get them installed at our airport there is going to be a lockbox that the officer must store his cell phone in, before going into the viewing room.
Hopefully this will alleviate concerns about officers taking pictures of the screen, but I doubt it, since people always find something to ridicule officers for.

Submitted by Jason From Chicago on

Simply stating this is untrue in your blog and then posting a video that actually contradicts your claim that this is untrue is a pretty lame attempt at spin. You conveniently ignore all possibilities that could make this possible, many of which are posted in responses to your blog post by other people, which you do not respond to. Just because the scanners "don't have the ability to store or print images in an airport setting" doesn't mean it's impossible. First, the scanners DO have the ability to print and store images. The manufacturers admitted this and used it as a selling point to the government, which they also admitted. Further, you know the scanners have the ability to print and store, otherwise you wouldn't have added the bit about "in an airport setting." While I'm sure that capability is disabled in "airport mode," the fact remains that it exists, and the scanners can be taken out of "airport mode" allowing them to store and print images. Second, the scanner not being able to print on the spot does not preclude cell phones, cameras, flash-drives or any other medium from capturing images to be printed elsewhere. The fact remains that these leaks are possible and the TSA is not doing enough to protect privacy. And while you correctly point out that it is currently optional to go through the scanners in America, this is temporary. It's only going to take another attempted terrorist attack on a flight that was missed by TSA before this is mandatory for all fliers.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA has shown what the images look like for passengers to see. Here is the 60 minutes news clip on the full body scanners... they are not x-rated images http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_ci_2AzXYg
What's the big deal people?! Our troops are over sea's putting their life at risk and dying for us, the least we could do is participate in keeping us safe here on the homeland... and if partaking in a 30 second scan helps keep us safe then so be it.

Submitted by Ava White on

Yet again I disagree with half the posters on this blog, I think many have missed the point that the interview relates to Heathrow and has nothing to do with TSA.

Scanners are put in place for our safety and security, not to annoy us. Anyone who has a problem with that should just not travel. Would you have the same problem with hospital scanners?

Submitted by Anonymous on

It does nothing for my "privacy" to have one of your employees looking at my genitals in a remote location. I wear pants because I don't want anyone to see my genitals without my permission. ANYONE. As soon as one stranger is able to see my genitals, I have lost my privacy. Why is it so easy for you to understand why we wouldn't want multiple strangers viewing our genitals, but so hard to understand why we are upset when one stranger is looking at them?

Submitted by TSORon on

The folks here are NEVER going to be happy with any procedure that TSA uses. Plenty evidence of that in the blog archives.

Stop speculating. Read, think, consider. Bring valid concerns to our attention, not the nit-picking that is the bread and butter of the vast majority of the posters here. TSA is here for the safety of the flying public, nothing more and nothing less. We are going to do (in general) the very best we can, despite the RB’s and the Ayn’s of the world.

Submitted by Anonymous on
If having a officer review your image in a remote area makes you feel uncomfortable, you can simply decline to go through the WBI. Whole Body Imaging is optional here in the good old USA.

That's a problem. Why would you deem this to be an effective security measure, if it's optional?

Also, while the machines may normally be in a mode where they don't store images, the machines could easily be modified to store the images. Besides, what's the issue in storing the images? They might be useful in a court of law if contraband is detected.
Submitted by Anonymous on

Nothing on the felon in Richmond or the latest child abuse in Philly, Bob?

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