Friday, March 4, 2011

The international scene

New Zealand is seeing how far they can push their own citizens around. Scanners are banned, but yet they might start showing up in the airports there to catch drug smugglers.

PS - If anyone has information on the laws and legislation regarding scanner use around the world - particularly Europe - please let me know. Are US-bound passengers the primary target?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Medical privacy rights

As part of our basic rights to privacy, it is legally and commonly accepted that medical privacy is among the more important aspect of these rights. This usually comes up with regard to unfair discrimination. For years, anyone with a medical condition that involved a need for a wheelchair or a metal implant has been targeted by airport security (both pre- and post-TSA) because they set off metal detectors. For that reason, there have been some who have proclaimed the scanners as a positive because they could instead go through the scanner and be on their way.

However, the scanners still violate their right to privacy about their own medical condition. It just seems less personal, but there is someone who can now see under your clothes to see what sort of frailty you may suffer from. If it is something that appears as an anomaly - like a mastectomy or back brace - then you have to undergo further scrutiny in the form of a pat-down. The man interviewed in this article is a little embarrassed about his need for a back brace and prefers to keep that information to himself. Isn't that his right?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Legal analysis of TSA's constitutionality

While I disagree vehemently that the TSA is acting constitutionally, I do agree with the analysis here that “the courts are going to be quite deferential" to the TSA's policies in any case brought up on these grounds. These cases are fighting the government in the government's own courts, so the deck is stacked against freedom-lovers from the start. For one thing, in constitutional law there is a precedent for exceptions to the 4th Amendment based on "administrative" or "public safety" grounds:
“I would expect the courts are going to be quite deferential. They don’t want it on their hands if a terrorist gets through and causes mass deaths,” said Renee Lerner, a George Washington University Law School professor. “This basically falls under a public-safety exemption to a warrant requirement." ... “The Constitution says you won’t be searched without probable cause. Of course there is an exception for that with administrative searches,” [legislative counsel for the ACLU, Chris Calabrese, said.] “There does reach a point we have to ask ourselves how far down the technological path do we want to go in chasing the next technique?”
 For reference, here is the complete, unabridged text for the Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

TSA pat-downs = sex crime in New Hampshire

That is, if some smart legislators have their way. As I wrote over at LRC:

I'm not holding my breath that this legislation will pass, but I love that it is truth-telling. A bill in New Hampshire will make TSA agents personally accountable for their actions while performing the perverse acts demanded by Pistole. Looking at or touching private areas of a person without probable cause would put the agent on the (awful) sex offender list for life. The bill also specifies that merely possessing a plane ticket, among other things, does not constitute probable cause.
H/T Mark Fee

Some other TSA shenanigans

If you can't trust the TSA, who can you trust? Besides the violations of rights and stealing money, here are some of their other claims to fame compiled by The Week (Click through to get details):
  • Leaking security details online
  • Pranking passengers with white powder
  • Cheating on bomb detection tests
  • Lying about secretly collecting passenger data

Monday, February 28, 2011

An opt-out testamonial

Robert Heiney's fed up with his rights being taken away, so he protests by opting-out, then shares his story:
They were herding passengers through the naked scanner like cattle at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport. No one escaped the indignity of having their whole body including all private parts exposed for government scrutiny.
I suppose this is the United States of the future. You will be required to essentially disrobe on demand in front of any federal officer regardless of whether there is reasonable suspicion of a crime committed or not. Due process is a thing of the past.

I noticed on a FBI Crime website that it’s not enough anymore to investigate crimes committed. Law enforcement will increasingly focus on preventing crime. Now who would argue against that? Perhaps America’s Founding Fathers. Because of the way it will be done. For example: once illegal wiretaps on your phone will become legal – like magic. Surveillance from any one of thousands of cameras surrounding you everywhere when you step outside your front door. Rifling through your papers, bills, purchases, and more – all of which will be on-line for every government snoop to spend quality time reviewing.
Read the rest...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Security theater redux

Despite denying the scientific evidence provided by Drs. Kaufman and Carlson that scanners are not good at detecting well-hidden weapons (without the TSA providing their own evidence), the TSA's own self-tests have proven the case. An undercover tester got cleared through security - including the body scan - with a handgun. Repeatedly.