EPIC logo
	FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
	Tuesday, June 2, 2009
	
	Contact: 
	Lillie Coney
	EPIC Associate Director
	(202) 4831140 x 111
	
	COALITION URGES SUSPENSION OF WHOLE BODY IMAGING IN U.S. AIRPORTS
	
	Groups say that the privacy issues raised by the "digital strip search"
	need to be resolved before the TSA makes further use of this invasive
	technology.
	
	
	Washington, DC  The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC),
	joined by thirty organizations, today urged Secretary of Homeland
	Security  Janet Napolitano to suspend use of Whole Body Imaging
	systems. EPIC stressed that privacy problems raised by this technology
	have not been adequately addressed. 
	
	The letter is being released as the annual Computers, Freedom, and
	Privacy conference opens in Washington, DC. The CFP conference has
	often been the launch pad for cutting-edge Internet campaigns.
	
	Whole Body Imaging systems, such as backscatter x-ray and millimeter
	wave, capture detailed images of air travelers stripped naked. The TSA,
	a part of the Homeland Security agency, claims that these systems are
	necessary for airport security and that they will not save the images
	of American air passengers. However, the TSA also said that these
	scanners would be used only for passengers who had raised suspicions.
	Now the agency announced that these new scanners would replace metal
	detectors as the primary screening device for all passengers.
	
	Following the TSA announcement, EPIC launched a national campaign
	urging that the program be blocked until the privacy risks are fully
	evaluated. EPIC also established the web site
	"stopdigitalstripsearches.org" and created the Facebook group "Stop
	Airport Strip Searches," which now has several hundred members.
	
	EPIC also said that the vendors, L-3 and Rapiscan, should appear in
	Congress and explain to the public how these systems really work.
	
	"The TSA's reversal on the use of these devices makes clear the privacy
	risk with this program," said Marc Rotenberg, EPIC Executive Director.
	"There must be a thorough investigation and clear legal rules
	established." Mr. Rotenberg continued, "The privacy of American air
	travelers should not be left to the whim of federal officials with x-ray
	cameras."
	
	Unlike many federal programs, the TSA has gone forward with the Whole
	Body Imaging program without any public comment. In their letter to
	Sec. Napolitano, the organizations called for a 90-day process to allow
	the public to comment on the agency's proposal. 
	
	"The TSA must be more open regarding whole body imaging. Our letter
	requests a public rulemaking process to determine whether the privacy
	protection measures are effective."
	
	The groups said that the TSA should suspend the use of these scanners
	as primary screening and inform travelers of their rights to other
	screening techniques, such as a physical pat down or search of
	carry-on bags.
	
	Additionally, the groups said that the TSA needs to evaluate the
	medical and health implications of exposure to this technology. 
	
	The organizations signing the letter included Consumer Federation of
	America, ACLU, the Constitution Project, Consumer Action, Liberty
	Coalition, The Rutherford Institute, and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
	###
	
	More information is available at:
	
	Letter Urging Suspension of Whole Body Imaging
	http://privacycoalition.org/stopwholebodyimaging/
	
	Background on Whole Body Imaging
	http://epic.org/privacy/airtravel/backscatter/
	
	Stop Digital Strip Searches web site
	http://www.stopdigitalstripsearches.org/ 
	
	Stop Airport Searches Facebook Group
	http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=179598280013
	
	Computers Freedom and Privacy 2009 
	http://www.cfp2009.org/ 
	
	Graphics
	http://epic.org/graphics/stop_vss_hi_res.html