Dec 202010
 December 20, 2010  Posted by  Laws, Surveillance

While Americans are preparing for one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, Senator Jon Tester is introducing legislation to protect privacy rights at airport security.

Many travelers are concerned that new high-tech scanners produce revealing body images
On Thursday, Tester introduced a bill that would criminalize any misuse of airport body-scan images by federal employees.

Read more on KFBB.

A statement posted Thursday to Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)’s web site says:

Senator Jon Tester today introduced legislation to strengthen privacy rights by criminalizing any misuse of airport body-scan images by Transportation Security Administration employees.

Many travelers are concerned that new high-tech scanners produce revealing body images. TSA rules forbid security screeners from saving or identifying the images.

But Tester’s legislation would make it a federal crime to permanently photograph, record or distribute any image produced using a full-body scanner.

“Montanans need to be safe when they board a plane, but they also don’t want their privacy rights stomped on in the process,” said Tester, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “We’ve got to continue doing everything necessary to keep folks safe. With a little common sense, we can achieve that result in a smart way that protects the privacy of law-abiding Americans.”

Employees of federal agencies like the IRS and the Social Security Administration are already prohibited by law from distributing citizens’ private information. Tester’s measure would similarly ban the distribution of body-scan images taken in airports or any other federal buildings.

Federal employees who illegally record or distribute body-scan images would face up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine under Tester’s legislation.

Tester, an outspoken advocate for Americans’ privacy rights, has posted the Security Screening Privacy Act on his website, HERE.

Interestingly, and probably as a reaction to recent events, the proposed bill makes it clear that journalists may be exempt from the provisions. The bill also defines “journalist.”

For those wishing to track it, the bill is S. 4037 and it has a number of co-sponsors already.

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