Privacy Issues: USA TSA Airport Security

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More Outrages from Airport Security

November 22, 2010
The Independent Institute

Fed up with the privacy-invading body scans and aggressive groping conducted by airport security personnel? Then brace yourself for an arguably more dehumanizing tool at the disposal of the Transportation Security Administration: the cage. Ivan Eland, director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute, reports.

“Last week,” he writes, “I was flying and was randomly selected for the dreaded ‘secondary screening’ (it sounds ancillary but is just annoying). The security woman put me in the cage (fortunately it had air holes), locked it, and told me that I wasn’t getting out until she swabbed my hands (presumably for potential chemical residues from bomb making).”

Needless to say, the screeners cleared Eland, but he did not return the favor: even a casual inspection of TSA procedures shows they are a lousy way to enhance airline security, according to Eland. Those methods target the modus operandi of previous terrorist attempts (as if potential attackers wouldn’t adapt to new security measures), they inconvenience and humiliate ordinary travelers, and they violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches. Vigilant airline passengers provide better security than do overbearing government bureaucracies, Eland concludes.
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