The Senate has approved a proposal by US lawmakers to make amendments in an aviation bill to punish any person or authority found misusing scanned body images, produced during Transportation Safety Administration’s routine security checks on all US major airports, with up to a year in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
The amendment was proposed after a few travelers raised concerns about violation of privacy rights while TSA’s new “intrusive” security rules were introduced ahead of the holiday season last year.
Under the new measure, travelers were made to undergo full-body scans that produced a virtually naked image of passengers. Those who refused to go through the scanner, faced pat-downs that were described as 'humiliating' by the passengers.
Though annoying for travelers, TSA applied these airport screening rules ahead of the holiday season as a precautionary measure to avoid a repeat of 2009 Christmas when a Nigerian with explosives in his underwear tried to bring down an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight.
However, the amendment ensures strict action against any misuse of scanned images and would also apply to photographs of scans recorded and circulated from personal cameras, cell phones and video devices, The Associated Press reported.
We're telling our constituents we're not going to ignore their privacy in the process of making sure we have safe airports and federal buildings, Sens. Ben Nelson told the Senate.
Recently, TSA also demonstrated a new body scanner software that uses a stick figure to represent the passenger being scanned, rather than an actual image of the person.