Jeff Gamso has a terrific post on why we shouldn’t believe the TSA when they claim that their full-nude body scans of passengers are completely secure and won’t be abused or disclosed.
I have my own argument that I’ve used to respond to similar claims about government handling of our sensitive personal information. It goes something like this:
At the height of the cold war, the Soviets paid U.S. Navy Chief Warrant Officer John Walker Jr. a few thousand dollars a month for information about Navy encryption, eventually deciphering as many as a milllion messages with his help, some of them related to the submarine nuclear deterrence fleet.
During this same period, TRW employee Chris Boyce and his friend Andrew Daulton Lee sold classified information about encryption and spy satellites to the Soviets, supposedly because Boyce was angry about CIA interference in the affairs of other nations.
Toward the end of the cold war, CIA counter-intelligence officer Aldrich Ames sold secrets to the Soviet Union in exchange for about $2 million, and FBI agent Robert Hanssen sold secrets to the Soviets and then Russia for 22 years in exchange for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds. Several of the people betrayed by Ames and Hanssen were executed.
These are just a few of the most famous examples of people who sold out their country for money, revenge, or other reasons. They were entrusted with extremely important information, the substantial capabilities of our national intelligence agencies were arrayed against them, and they still managed to betray us all.
But there’s no way a TSA agent would share a nude image of a passenger.