In the latest effort to balance security and privacy at U.S. airports, New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer introduced legislation yesterday to criminalize the recording or distributing of images generated by controversial full body scanners.
Under the Security Screening Confidential Data Privacy Act, anyone convicted of recording or distributing images of passenger full body scans could face up to one year in prison or a maximum fine of $100,000 or both.
“Anyone who would try to use these images for purposes other than security should be severely punished,’’ Schumer said, according to the Associated Press.
The legislation comes after a roller coaster ride of public outrage over full body scans and enhanced pat-down searchers just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Despite calls to "opt out" of the full body scans at the nation's airports on Thanksgiving eve, airport security faced scant protest on what's traditionally the busiest travel day of the year.
Schumer described the legislation as another way for the government to give air travelers peace of mind.
“This new law will send a loud and clear message to the flying public,” he said. “Not only will we do everything we can to protect your safety, but the government should do everything it can to protect your privacy as well."