U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is seeking to make it illegal for anyone to distribute or record the revealing images produced by full-body scanners at airports.
The Democrat planned to announce such a bill Sunday. Penalties could include up to a year in prison and fines up to $100,000, or both.
"Anyone who would try to use these images for purposes other than security should be severely punished,'' Schumer told The Associated Press.
The machines can peer through people's clothing, but the Transportation Security Administration says the images cannot be stored, transmitted or printed and are deleted after being reviewed. The images are blurred to mask the identity of the person.
Passengers can opt instead for a new pat-down that includes the crotch and chest. But privacy advocates say current safeguards fail to ensure that the images produced by the machines can't be misused by TSA employees or other workers. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center have argued that the machines are too invasive.
Asked what he thought about the scanners, Schumer said he didn't oppose their use. ``You need to balance security and privacy,'' he said.