Tag Archives | Air Travel

Virginia Man With 4th Amendment Written on Chest Sues Over Airport Arrest

4th AmendmentDavid Kravets writes on WIRED’s Threat Level:

A 21-year-old Virginia man who wrote an abbreviated version of the Fourth Amendment on his body and stripped to his shorts at an airport security screening area is demanding $250,000 in damages for being detained on a disorderly conduct charge.

Aaron Tobey claims in a civil rights lawsuit (PDF) that in December he was handcuffed and held for about 90 minutes by the Transportation Security Administration at the Richmond International Airport after he began removing his clothing to display on his chest a magic-marker protest of airport security measures.

“Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,” his chest and gut read.

The University of Cincinnati student didn’t want to go through the advanced imaging technology X-ray machines that are cropping up at airports nationwide. Instead, when it was his turn to be screened, he was going to opt for an intrusive pat-down — and remove most of his clothing in the process.

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TSA Admits Radiation from Body Scanners Is 10 Times Higher Than They Initially Stated

ScannersDavid Kravets writes in WIRED’s Threat Level:

The Transportation Security Administration is re-analyzing the radiation levels of X-ray body scanners installed in airports nationwide, after testing produced dramatically higher-than-expected results.

The TSA, which has deployed at least 500 body scanners to at least 78 airports, said Tuesday the machines meet all safety standards and would remain in operation despite a “calculation error” in safety studies. The flawed results showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.

At least one flier group, the Association for Airline Passenger Rights, is urging the government to stop using the $180,000 machines that produce a virtual-nude image of the body until new tests are concluded in May.

“Airline passengers have enough concerns about flying — including numerous ones about how TSA conducts its haphazard security screenings — so it is TSA’s responsibility to ensure passengers are not being exposed to unhealthy amounts of radiation,” Brandon Macsata, executive director of the group, said in a statement.

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Some Gov’t Officials Can Skip Airport Security: One Set of Rules for the Ruling Class; Another Set of Rules for the Masses

Don't Touch My JunkEileen Sullivan reports on the AP via Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON — Cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-approved federal security details.

Aviation security officials would not name those who can skip the controversial screening, but other officials said those VIPs range from top officials like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and FBI Director Robert Mueller to congressional leaders like incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who avoided security before a recent flight from Washington’s Reagan National Airport.

The heightened new security procedures by the Transportation Security Administration, which involve either a scan by a full-body detector or an intimate personal pat-down, have spurred passenger outrage in the lead-up to the Thanksgiving holiday airport crush.

On Friday, the TSA exempted pilots from the new procedures; flight attendants received the same privilege on Tuesday, TSA spokesman Nicholas Kimball confirmed.

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Proud Patriot Beats TSA Using iPhone and the Constitution

Backscatter_x-ray_image_womanMany of you will be traveling in the United States this week for the annual Thanksgiving celebrations. At this point no one can be unaware of the new government policy regarding Backscatter X-Ray machines and the option to suffer a humiliating full body pat down (or groping) by TSA agents. Thanks to Matt Kernan, it seems that those of you with sufficient patience and knowledge of the your constitutional rights may have a third option. It’s well worth reading his entire blog post — this is just a taste:

I said, “I am aware that it is policy, but I disagree with the policy, and I think that it is unconstitutional. As a U.S. citizen, I have the right to move freely within my country as long as I can demonstrate proof of citizenship and have demonstrated no reasonable cause to be detained.”

Policy restatement. “You have two options – the Backscatter or the pat down.

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Florida Airport Opting Out: Rejecting the TSA in Favor of A Private Company

Orlando Sanford International AirportKen Tyndall reports on WDBO Local News:

The backlash continues over those new TSA screening measures, and now one Central Florida airport has decided to go with a private security screening firm. Orlando Sanford International Airport has decided to opt out from TSA screening.

“All of our due diligence shows it’s the way to go,” said Larry Dale, the director of the Sanford Airport Authority. “You’re going to get better service at a better price and more accountability and better customer service.”

Dale says he will be sending a letter requesting to opt out from TSA screening, and instead the airport will choose one of the five approved private screening companies to take over.

Congressman John Mica, who’s expected to lead the powerful Transportation Committee next year, says the TSA is crying out for reform. “I think TSA is overstepping its bounds,” said Mica.

Dale says, if all goes as planned, the private security firm could take over in about 12 months.

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One Hundred Naked Citizens: One Hundred Leaked Body Scans (Video)

Thanks to Joel Johnson for his story on Gizmodo:
At the heart of the controversy over "body scanners" is a promise: The images of our naked bodies will never be public. U.S. Marshals in a Florida Federal courthouse saved 35,000 images on their scanner. These are those images. A Gizmodo investigation has revealed 100 of the photographs saved by the Gen 2 millimeter wave scanner from Brijot Imaging Systems, Inc., obtained by a FOIA request after it was recently revealed that U.S. Marshals operating the machine in the Orlando, Florida courthouse had improperly-perhaps illegally-saved images of the scans of public servants and private citizens. We understand that it will be controversial to release these photographs. But identifying features have been eliminated. And fortunately for those who walked through the scanner in Florida last year, this mismanaged machine used the less embarrassing imaging technique.
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