Senate passes penalties on misuse of airport body scans
February 15, 2011
WASHINGTON– If anyone posts on the Web, or makes a copy, or otherwise passes around an image snapped of someone by the new airport and federal courthouse body scanners, they could be staring at a year in jail and a $100,000 fine under a measure passed today by the U.S. Senate.
One of the measure’s eight sponsors is Florida’s U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. "We're going to have zero tolerance for anyone who records or places any of these pictures online or in the public domain," Nelson said after passage of the amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration’s spending plan.
"People need to be assured that their privacy is being safeguarded and that someone who abuses this security system will be punished,” the Florida Democrat said.
The measure was offered partly in response to news reports last fall that 35,000 scanner images from the federal courthouse in Orlando were saved instead of deleted, and eventually about 100 of them ended up on the Internet.
The measure would make it a felony to distribute body-scan images made in any airport or federal building. It also would ban making a photograph of such scans with cell phones, cameras or other video devices. Violators would face up to a year in prison and as much as a $100,000 fine. The broader FAA bill still has to clear the Senate, and then the House.
Following is a draft of the amendment:
SA 58. - proposed an amendment to the bill S. 223, to modernize the air traffic control system, improve the safety, reliability, and availability of transportation by air in the United States, provide modernization of the air traffic control system, reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, and for other purposes; as follows:
At the end of title VII, add the following:
SEC. 733. CRIMINAL PENALTY FOR UNAUTHORIZED RECORDING OR DISTRIBUTION OF SECURITY SCREENING IMAGES.
(a) In General.--Part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
``CHAPTER 124--UNAUTHORIZED RECORDING AND DISTRIBUTION OF SECURITY SCREENING IMAGES
``2731. Criminal penalty for unauthorized recording and distribution of security screening images.
``SEC. 2731. CRIMINAL PENALTY FOR UNAUTHORIZED RECORDING AND DISTRIBUTION OF SECURITY SCREENING IMAGES.
``(a) In General.--Except as specifically provided in subsection (b), it shall be unlawful for an individual--
``(1) to photograph or otherwise record an image produced using advanced imaging technology during the screening of an individual at an airport, or upon entry into any building owned or operated by the Federal Government, without express authorization pursuant to a Federal law or regulation; or
``(2) to knowingly distribute any such image to any individual who is not authorized pursuant to a Federal law or regulation to receive the image.
``(b) Exceptions.--The prohibition under subsection (a) shall not apply to an individual who, during the course and within the scope of the individual's employment, records or distributes an image described in subsection (a) solely to be used in a criminal investigation or prosecution or in an investigation relating to foreign intelligence or a threat to the national security.
``(c) Penalty.--An individual who violates the prohibition in subsection (a) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both.
``(d) Definitions.--In this section:
``(1) ADVANCED IMAGING TECHNOLOGY.--The term `advanced imaging technology'--
``(A) means a device that creates a visual image of an individual showing the surface of the skin and revealing other objects on the body; and
``(B) may include devices using backscatter x-rays or millimeter waves and devices referred to as `whole-body imaging technology' or `body scanning'.
``(2) FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE; THREAT TO THE NATIONAL SECURITY.--The terms `foreign intelligence' and `threat to the national security' have the meanings given those term in part VII of the guidelines entitled `The Attorney General's Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations', dated September 29, 2008, or any successor thereto.''.
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendment.--The table of chapters for part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 123 the following:
``124. Unauthorized recording and distribution of security screening images