Movie Star Claims Heathrow Airport Staff Printed Out, Circulated, His Naked Body Images

from the privacy? dept

There’s been a big push over the last couple months to get those full body scanners installed in more airports. These scanners, if you don’t recall, basically create a “naked” image of the person in them. This has resulted in all sorts of (mostly reasonable) concerns about privacy (well, and dignity) of those passing through the devices. Defenders of these systems insist that the images are seen by someone remotely who can’t see the person, so there’s no way to connect the image to the person, and the scans are deleted immediately.

Except… perhaps that’s not always true. Eric points us to the news that Indian movie star Shahrukh Khan (oddly, I just saw one of his movies) is claiming that the staff at London’s Heathrow airport had not just connected his scan to who he was, but also printed it out and circulated it among some staff.

I have to admit, this one could use a bit more proof, because my understanding was that the scan itself is done in a remote location, but Khan seems to indicate that staff had the printouts almost immediately:

“I was a little scared. Something happens [inside the scans], and I came out. Then I saw these girls — they had these printouts. I looked at them. I thought they were some forms you had to fill. I said ‘give them to me’ — and you could see everything inside. So I autographed them for them,” stated Khan.

I could definitely see how another security or airport staffer might alert whoever was watching the remote scans of who was passing through the scanner. The last few times I’ve seen these devices used in airports the other security staff had radio contact with the person watching the scans (for obvious reasons). But having multiple printouts immediately distributed? It’s not clear how that would happen.

Update: Yup, as we suspected, this story appears to be bogus. Security officials are denying it ever happened, and apparently Khan has some movie coming out about being detained by airport security… so… yeah, PR stunt.

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Comments on “Movie Star Claims Heathrow Airport Staff Printed Out, Circulated, His Naked Body Images”

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Scote (profile) says:

I’m a tad suspicious of the claim of printouts as well. I can imagine that they have ways of sending the image back to the screening area since they have to have a way of telling screening personnel about positive scans, about what was detected and where, but so far I haven’t heard about any of these scanners having printers attached, though it is possible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why would they have printers at the entry areas?

There are usually computer-equipped security offices nearby.

They probably would not be configured to have printers at the areas were the image was to appear.

That’s what the camera-phone is for. The person watching the screen in area where the image appears snaps a photo of the screen with their phone and then sends that to their buddies in the security office (or someone somewhere else) who then ogle it and print it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

and this camera phone would be able to take a picture send it to a printer in an office nearby fast enough to get large cognizable copies back to the security officers in time for him to see the pictures.

Absolutely, a camera phone could do that.

I’m not saying that is what happened in this case, just that it is entirely plausible.

scarr (profile) says:

Copypasted my response from elsewhere

I, like some others, don’t think this guy’s story makes sense. He came out of the scanner and saw girls with a printout? How fast are these printers? They would have to be right next to the scanners too. I suspect a journalist reporting on the earlier trials would’ve noticed this, and/or some employee would’ve revealed their availability. How did he confuse a picture of himself naked for a form he had to fill out? When does security ever have you fill out forms? For that matter, when can you ever direct security to give you something at an airport?

It’s also quite a coincidence that there happen to be multiple girls working the scanner who are also fans of Bollywood films. While those chances are higher in England than here, how was he the first person/celeb this happened to in the world’s second busiest airport?

While the scanners are stupid, I doubt this is real. I think this is just an actor telling an amusing tale.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Copypasted my response from elsewhere

The only answer I can think of is an extreme culture of irresponsibility where some employees who were obsessive Bollywood fans had been tipped off in advance that the actor had booked a flight. But I would need a lot more evidence to accept that – and that still doesn’t say much to your last point, which is an important one. After all, imagine how much money airport scans of really big stars would be worth.

Cohen (profile) says:

Re: Re: tipped off in advance?

Not hard to imagine.

The service rep at the checkin counter could recognize his face and name and then call anyone at the airport.

If he is a big-shot, he could have been accompanied by a service rep who would have alerted security that a VIP was going through.

It’s opening a huge can of worms with these images getting sold to tabloids.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Copypasted my response from elsewhere

How fast are these printers?

How long can it take to be released after being scanned? Surely they hold you until they’ve reviewed the images. How many reviewers do they have? Do people ever have to wait in a queue for their images to be reviewed?

Also, he didn’t say how long it was after he was scanned that he came upon the “girls” with the printouts. It could have been some time afterward.

AJ (profile) says:

US vs. UK?

If it was Homeland Security who claimed that the screener would be at a remote location, that promise can only apply to machines installed at US airports; the TSA have no jurisdiction over Heathrow Airport. The British have their own rules, which include that they can’t use the scanners on children since the resulting images would then be classified as child pornography.

Sega (profile) says:

Blatent propaganda for his flick

He has a movie about being detained by TSA. He proceeds to get detained while promoting his upcoming movie. Hmm. It was on the international news headlines for a moment last summer. He is doing what hollywood does, but poorly. Just like you’d expect from Bollywood.
I guess his detention in August 2009 wasn’t enough publicity or maybe he has a sequel coming out. Techdirt, this is a non-story. I’ll chalk it up to snow madness, assuming of course you are on the east coast.
If you’d like to talk about the attention he’s bringing to a more important issue, then have at it. You’ve done well with that before. I’ve always appreciated those entries.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Blatent propaganda for his flick

I guess his detention in August 2009 wasn’t enough publicity or maybe he has a sequel coming out. Techdirt, this is a non-story. I’ll chalk it up to snow madness, assuming of course you are on the east coast.

Er, we wrote pretty clearly that we didn’t believe the story because it didn’t make sense. Did you not read the post?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Consider the source. I have no idea whether this happened or not but its appearance on the site of Alex Jones, someone who makes Rush Limbaugh look like a little fluffy bunny with a compulsion to tell the truth, makes me doubt it immediately.”

If Alex Jones said the Earth was round would you then say it was flat?

BTW, the story has been reported in many other places.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Looks more like a publicity stunt

It’s already being denied quite strongly by the airport: Airport denies body scanner photo claim by Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan (and their response makes a lot of sense).

I don’t think it holds water. They claim it would be “impossible” because “the body-scanning equipment had no capability to print images”, as if though that would be the only way images could be made. The camera-phone angle (covered up above) was completely ignored in their denial and there are others ways it could happen too.

:) says:

Hearthrow is funny.

I has been a while but the last time I got through the airport in London(hearthrow) you passed through some scanner then walked a looooooooooooooooooong way till you reached customs where the guy asked you some questions.

Well I don’t remember exactly but I do remember very clearly I walked a lot, is like the Los Angeles airport(or was a Texan one) where I think there is a red carpet and you walk an incredible distance till the customs once you get out of the plane.

I can see how this can happen. Although I don’t believe him.
Mostly because the British authorities didn’t try to cover up anything or came out with excuses yet.

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

I can’t help but wonder if this is an attempt at a fake “streisand”… set up a false bad thing you don’t want to get out, and make a big stink out of it, getting the media and the fans all looking for what is really a ghost.

It reads more like someone trying to convince us that he is so hot that the people wanted to see his digitally stripped body.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Myth Buster

This didn’t happen. Please check out our latest post at the TSA Blog. Thanks, Blogger Bob TSA Blog Team

I notice how you guys parrot the claim that it couldn’t happen because the machines don’t have printers attached while completely ignoring the fact that they don’t have to have printers attached for this to happen. Come on, if you guys are gonna spin, you’re going to have to do a little better than that to be believed.

Myth busted? Not yet.

Ben Dover says:

Smile - you're on candid camera

There are those who claim that the naked scanner presently in use does not detect some things, like what the FruitOfTheLoom Kaboom guy had. I also read that there is an infrared scanner which will detect such things in addition to what the perv machine is capable of, it sells for much less and it does not provide perv pics of perps.

Noel Coward says:


The guy’s a stooge for the Taliban! LOL 😉

Look this only undermines international efforts to find methods to combat terrorism.
For what? ……. Free press!
They ought to prosecute him, seeing he was willing to offer false testament.

But how sad is the U.K. law?
Well, it would seem that ALL the Taliban in the UK now know, you only need strap bombs to babies and children.

Oh goody gum bombs, children are easier to recruit.

Surely they’ll need amend this via the National Securities Act. How silly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: he was joking...

It was simply a joke story he told for laughs on a talk show.

Has he said so somewhere?

Why so many people thought he was serious is beyond me. This is getting reposted all over the internet for no reason he never expected people to take his joke seriously.

Kind of the guy who makes bomb jokes in the airport, eh?

D Mac (profile) says:

Re: Re: he was joking...

Has he said so somewhere?

Do you watch Russell Peters and then later expect him to say he was joking? He was talking about how only people with small dicks care about those scanners and then said he signed his for the girls there, obviously jokes.

Kind of the guy who makes bomb jokes in the airport, eh?

Going on a talkshow and making jokes about airport security is completely different from making bomb jokes at an airport.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: he was joking...

He was talking about how only people with small dicks care about those scanners and then said he signed his for the girls there, obviously jokes.

So you’re saying he was obviously joking if he said he didn’t have small penis? Please tell us, how do you know about the size of his penis?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 he was joking...

You obviously have not watched the original interview. Obviously nor has all the people that keep reporting this rediculous “news” piece.

No, I haven’t. So is that where you saw his penis?

Watch the interview, maybe all the laughing after each sentence he says will help you understand.

Ouch. I bet that was embarrassing for him, all those people laughing at it.

akston (user link) says:

Machines have technical ability to hold pics

I haven’t seen anyone post this yet, and it’s probably important:

This time, it’s CNN:

“A privacy group says the Transportation Security Administration is misleading the public with claims that full-body scanners at airports cannot store or send their graphic images.

The TSA specified in 2008 documents that the machines must have image storage and sending abilities, the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) said.”

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