Airport worker caught photographing screen as female worker passed through naked scanner

You know those airport scanners that render you essentially naked? The ones that don't catch bomb-making materials? The ones that are supposed to be staffed by infallible and absolutely trustworthy airport workers who'll never, ever abuse your privacy with them?

Turns out they're vulnerable to a sophisticated, impossible-to-predict technical attack: a guard was caught taking pictures the screen while a female colleague was passing through the scanner. Who'd have guessed that was possible?


A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Police received an allegation regarding an incident that happened at Heathrow Terminal 5 on March 10. A first-instance harassment warning has been issued to a 25-year-old male."

The BAA employee took a photo of his co-worker, Jo Margetson, when she inadvertently went through a scanner.

"I can't bear to think about the body scanner thing," she told the Sun. "I'm totally traumatised. I've spoken to the police about it. I'm in too much of a state to go to work."

Airport worker given police warning for 'misusing' body scanner (Thanks, Marc!)

(Image: Der Spiegel)


    1. That would be kiddy porn. Now the US government is perpetuating of kiddy porn. Who would have thought?

  1. I suppose the “good” news is that, in this case, the guards are just violating each other, right?

  2. “‘I can’t bear to think about the body scanner thing,’ she told the Sun. ‘I’m totally traumatised'”

    …but she doesn’t mind that her job involves subjection countless other people too it?

    1. You beat me to it. This line slays me!

      She’s ‘traumatized’ but has no problem forcing 1000s of strangers every day to go through the same unpleasantness.
      Cry us a river.

    2. I don’t think her job involves looking at the image of someone she knows, taking a photo of it, and then audibly leering about it to the person in the image.

      I’d be tempted to think it’s a tad hypocritical, though, to be commenting to “The Sun” if you are upset about men leering at your body.

      1. “I’d be tempted to think it’s a tad hypocritical, though, to be commenting to ‘The Sun’ if you are upset about men leering at your body.”

        Is it? I’m presupposing here either the Sun solicited her comments in the first place and/or she thought any media coverage of this incident would be a good idea, for her own case and to alert the public and other employees.

        I think the right meaning here would be to direct the accusation of hypocrisy at *the Sun* — since they’re the ones who are using *her* case for their own gain — but even then that’s a bit useless. Papers like the Sun only have one principle, and that’s to do anything to sell papers, and it’s certainly fulfilling that to its fullest ability!

        1. Well, I didn’t say everyone had to agree with me that it’s hypocritical, merely that I feel it would be a touch hypocritical to comment about a man leering at your breasts to a “newspaper” that has pictures of women’s breasts for men to leer at. You don’t have to talk to The Sun when they phone you up, you can tell them to get lost.

          That The Sun is hypocritical is a complete given though.

  3. Accompanying your article with a picture of a woman in a scanner (yes, I see it’s from Der Spiegel) seems exploitative, almost as if you meant us to think that it was the very picture that was taken.

    1. Accompanying your article with a picture of a woman in a scanner seems exploitative

      That’s the standard picture associated with the scanner. As far as I know, the scanner manufacturer produced it as part of their marketing material. It’s been published in thousands of places.

  4. From the article: “Air passengers already tolerate a large invasion of their privacy and we do not feel that full-body scanners add greatly to this situation. Privacy concerns should not prevent the deployment of scanners.”

    Oh – that’s alright then. I feel much better now.

  5. This type of incident is just a bonus for a police apparatus whose main purpose is to humiliate people and remind them that they are chattel of their betters.

  6. I guess I don’t think of an image like that as an invasion of privacy. Hard to identify the person, and it’s not a really detailed image.

    My objection to the full body scanner is on rational, rather than emotional grounds: the thing doesn’t really work for the purposes it purports to.

    And I was a ‘life model’ in my youth, which means I am way more comfortable with people seeing me naked than most people are.

    These days, the purchase of an airline ticket is a tacit agreement to having your privacy invaded repeatedly.

    Funny that it was a guard who is so shattered that she can’t work. (Sounds like an excuse for some time off from a really crappy job.)

  7. Just a warning? As someone who’s abused trust of coworkers and who’s in a position to do so to the larger public, he should at the very least have been fired, if not thrown in prison. What happened to deterrent?

  8. Since I am going on a month-long tour that will bring me through several of these scanners, is there anybody here who knows of a good way to paint a big, nice, scanner-visible “kiss my ass” on my buttocks?

  9. Wow, that was quick. I didn’t expect anyone to get caught taking pictures/sneaking out files/etc. so soon. Which is not to say it hasn’t happened much sooner, just that he’s the first to be caught doing it.

  10. It would be a nice gesture to the public if each shift of TSA workers posted their body scans at security checkpoints. Like when Jerry Brown drank Malathion on TV before spraying it on California’s farms and neighborhoods.

  11. She may be rethinking her job now that it HAS happened to her.

    Also, what if a bunch of us that people don’t want to see naked just came in for a scan? I think that might traumatize someone into shutting it off.

  12. She didn’t say the scanner itself was traumatizing … but the fact somebody took a picture of it for himself.

    I don’t support the TSA’s policies, but ridiculing an employee for doing an otherwise ho-hum job that doesn’t, you know, involve gassing people, even though SHE’S THE VICTIM here, is kind of stunning. The only parties who should be getting flak here are her employer and the jerkass who took advantage of her.

    1. True, and I realize now that the article doesn’t say what her job is, so there might not be the level of hypocrisy I was assuming. Her coworker deserves to be fired, at the very least, but I reserve plenty of flak for the people who came up with this systematic invasion of privacy in the first place.

  13. Magickalrealism@19: Careful there, Buster. One man’s “eeww!!!” is another man’s fetish. And by men I am referring to any given human, regardless of sex.

  14. I really wonder what’s the state of the current imaging technology is? That picture here is certainly not erotic, and in my untrained view, not enough to show whether someone’s carrying a C4. Besides, for propaganda purposes it’s to the government’s benefit to show unclear pictures taken using outdated technology, so I repeat, I wonder what sort of pictures do the current machines take?

    Well, I just answered my own question, here’s a video:

    OK, that’s probably enough for perverts…

    1. “That picture here is certainly not erotic” — not to most folks, not on its own. But you have to take the context into account: for voyeurs, getting sneaky pics is erotic in itself, even if they’re rubbish quality space-mutant shots.

    2. It may not be erotic to you, but it’s obviously of value to the man who took the photograph.

      I mean, duh.

      I’d be preparing my sexual harassment lawsuit right now if this perv had done this to me.

  15. The big problem with these scanners is that they even have a visual output.

    If these are screening tools…and just lead to a secondary search…why even bother presenting or collecting images.

    Instead the manufaturer should just have even AI in the the thing to identify “problem areas” on the person…and then have that area highlighted somehow.

    Either you pass through the scanner without setting off an alarm…or you don’t (like a metal detector gate).

    If you don’t pass…you get wanded or searched.

    Having your body milimeter scanned and an image shown on a screen is a huge privacy issue…and given that the search doesn’t end of the screen…but naturally has to lead to a body search of some sort….it’s totally valueless.

    The only thing the scanner needs to identify is if there is something suspicious going on. A detailed image of a person near-naked is overkill…and opportunity for misuse/abuse.

  16. It seems like a pretty easy to fix situation. Security workers shouldn’t have to go through the device. I mean come on. It is completely degrading. They shouldn’t have to be subject to such humiliation.

    …we save that for citizens.

  17. It’s funny that they’d been assuring us the pictures would be wiped, and not able to transmit to other workstations, when the easiest go-around is to just snap a picture. It reminds me of the scene in Lois Bujold’s SF novel, The Vor Game, where Miles and Ivan get around the security precautions prohibiting transmission of information, by merely turning Ivan’s monitor so Miles can read it over the commlink hookup.

  18. I can’t wait till i have to go through one of those. I’ll be going travelling soon. Then i’ll make sure i have a raging boner and when they make me go through the scanner i’ll make sure to wink at them afterwards. I will also not be discriminating, i’ll wink both at men and women hehe

    1. Wait until some TSA drone decides to take you aside and give you a full cavity search as a “wink” back.

  19. polling bb
    1) regardless of whether this work or not
    is this body scanning thing an issue for Europeans who are in general more comfortable about the human body?

    2) Like the alien movie series , I envision in the future , we’ll travel in pajamas or robes and go into pods where we’ll be put to sleep before the craft takes off and be awaken when it has landed. only we won’t be doing it in space. I wonder if people would have issues with this, people already do this for surgery visits.

    1. Yeah – I’d have a HUGE problem with #2. Groping/RAPE. I don’t want my body “handled” by these clowns, thanks.

  20. I was singled out of queue in Denver in 2008 to go thru one of these things and at the time was not informed it was a full body scanner. And I think it was because I’m female & attractive and that it was for some TSA person to get their kicks. You bet your ass I am going to be paying better attention to who gets scanned and who doesn’t every time I see one of those contraptions now.

  21. So here’s an interesting question (to me, anyway): Is there any substance or material that is non-explosive and non-toxic that one could use to write messages on one’s body that would show up in these scanners?

    I suppose whoever tries it has to be willing to risk rendition to some horrific torture center in another country, but still…

  22. I’d like the option to buy a picture of myself in the scanner, so I can see what I’d look like if I shaved my head.

  23. Who could have seen this coming? Aside from, you know, everybody.

    As a transgender person, I’ll take a boat before I get in one of those things I have enough problems with getting hassled about gender at airport security checkpoints. One of these is the last thing I need.

    Flying while trans . . . it’s sucktastic.

  24. The bottom-line problem here was that the culprit was able to bring a camera into the scanning room. This should be prohibited. And to ensure that someone doesn’t smuggle prohibited items into their scanning booth…

    (need I continue?)

  25. And still know body mentions the health hazard of all this ‘x-ray’. I think profit has once again trumped good judgement and freedom has been trumped by fake fear

  26. What if you’re a poor third world country who cannot afford a scanner? (1) segregate all passengers by gender, they walk through two enclosed area (you can just screen it off with canvas) (2) everyone takes off all their clothes, put it in the tray, which goes through the xray machine (3) walk to the other side, put your clothes back on.

  27. I do agree that the scanner is an invasion of privacy to a degree that makes me uncomfortable. In defense of the traumatized guard, her picture was saved. Certainly, you all can see that this takes the invasion of privacy to a much higher level.


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