A proposal offered in the Senate would make misusing body scanner images a federal crime, punishable by up to a year in prison.
Sens. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., proposed an amendment to an aviation bill that would prohibit anyone with access to the scanned body images, whether security personnel or members of the public, from photographing or disseminating those images. Besides a prison term, violators could be fined up to $100,000 per violation.
The proposal would apply to images made by body scanners run by any federal employee, including security employees at airports and federal courthouses. It covers not only the misuse of the original images recorded by scanners, but also photographs of scans recorded and disseminated from personal cameras, cell phones and video devices.
"This law sends a loud and clear message to the flying public, not only will we do everything we can to protect your safety, we will also do everything we can to protect your privacy," Schumer said in the statement.
It is already illegal for employees of some federal agencies like the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration to disseminate private information to anyone not entitled to receive it, the senators said. However, no such statute exists for TSA body scanning images, they said.