Monday, November 29, 2010

Why the TSA protest worked

Was the National Opt-Out Day really a bust?

The Transportation Security Administration says so, but the mere fact that the government agency reported extensively on the protest indicates its success.

Sure, airports weren't clogged with travelers protesting the body scanners activists called invasive.

But the media's round-the-clock coverage of the issue put TSA on the defense, and the agency has indicated that a policy change may be on the way. The protest also created a conversation about airport security that no doubt made its way to many Thanksgiving dinner tables.

Drudge Fought The TSA….And Drudge Won

From PrisonPlanet:
Despite the establishment media presiding over another mass hoax in claiming that Americans were completely happy with invasive airport security measures, contrary to polls showing a majority in opposition, and that the national opt out day was a failure, the fact that the TSA was forced to change its policy by mothballing naked body scanners and curtailing aggressive pat downs clearly goes to show that the man who almost single-handedly drove the issue, Matt Drudge, fought the TSA and he won.

The big networks and the so-called progressive borg hive, who instantly tried to spin the lack of delays at airports over Thanksgiving as proof that the opt-out protest had failed, conveniently failed to mention the fact that major airports across the country had deliberately mothballed their naked body scanners in a crass PR ploy aimed at deflating the momentum behind the demonstration.

Early reports began to pour in from Twitter users who said that body scanner machines were roped off and out of use in airports such as LAX, Seattle, San Jose and Columbus, Ohio. They also said that pat downs had reverted back to the standard procedure and were not the new grope downs that the TSA had announced a couple of weeks before.

T.S.A. Furor Gives Media a False Positive

The New York Times claims that the media coverage of the TSA has been overblown:
If a squadron of mad scientists surrounded by supercomputers gathered in a laboratory to try to conjure a single news topic that would blow up large, they could not touch the T.S.A. pat-down story.

It began with a Drudge Report link to a video on Nov. 13 of an intrusive pat-down, and then leapt to social media and the rest of the Web. Twitter lighted up, flashing 4,000 posts an hour with cheeky hash tags, and in just the first two days of last week, there were 60 million Google queries for information on the change in the Transportation Security Administration protocol, according to Trendrr, a social media measurement company.

Soon enough, an online protest calling for a National Opt-Out Day popped up, with a call to refuse to submit to scans and to clog airports on Wednesday, one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Cue the media mushroom cloud: by Tuesday, there were print reports about the new scanning technology, heavy-breathing blog posts about the government using the technology to alter or gather DNA (yow), and every cable channel featured wall-to-wall speculation about what would happen when people got to the airport on Wednesday and how many would be carrying lanterns and pitchforks.

“This story tapped right into the central nervous system of the collective consciousness,” said Mark Ghuneim, chief executive of Trendrr. “It was huge.”

But then, in the real world, nothing happened.

The Partisan Mind

In the New York Times, Ross Douhat speculates how this past month's TSA furor would have played out under a President Bush.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

TSA Terrorizes A Disabled 4 Year Old Boy By Removing His Leg Braces, Then Forcing Him To Walk

via Revolutionary Politics:

Doctors sound TSA germ alert

From WorldNetDaily:
Syphilis, lice, gonorrhea, ringworm, chlamydia, staph, strep, noro and papilloma viruses all are part of the possible fringe benefits when airline passengers next go through a full hands-on pat-down by agents of the federal government's Transportation Security Administration, according to doctors.

WND reported two days ago on alarmed passengers who noted that TSA agents doing the pat-downs that have been described by critics as molestation since they include touching private body parts were not changing gloves between passengers. In fact, some apparently were patting down dozens of passengers or more wearing the same gloves.

But neither the TSA nor federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control was willing to comment on the possibilities that infections and other loathsome afflictions could be passed from passenger to passenger.

TSA Worker Accused Of Assault Had Prior Record

From WSB Atlanta:
Channel 2 Action News has learned a TSA security worker accused of abducting and sexually assaulting a woman had previously been convicted of misdemeanor harassment and stalking.

Randall King remains hospitalized following a suicide attempt. Police said last Wednesday, King agreed to drive a woman home from the airport. Instead, investigators said King took her to a MARTA station parking lot and placed novelty handcuffs on her.

Investigators said he drove her 50 miles away to his home in Troup County and sexually assaulted her. The woman told police that King gave her a suicide note, his car and let her go, investigators said.

A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration said privacy laws precluded him from releasing any background information on King.

Sanitary Towel Prompts TSA To Grope Sexual Assault Victim

From PrisonPlanet:
Menstruating women beware. If you intend to travel, your panty-liners are now considered suspicious objects, after all you could be concealing a bomb in there.

The latest insane TSA transgression answers questions that were raised last week when it was revealed naked body scanners can also detect sanitary napkins.

New York Times reporter Joe Sharkey wrote Monday that he was getting a lot of requests for information from female frequent fliers.

4th Amendment Wear

Metallic ink-printed t-shirts and underwear.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On the constitutionality of airport searches

If you're wondering what the courts have said about the constitutionality of airport searches, you'd probably end up where I did; still looking.  It turns out the the Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of such searches, although there have been some related rulings.

It turns out that the most relevant case is one from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (United States of America v. Daniel Kuualoha Aukai) which ruled that:
We have held that airport screening searches, like the one at issue here, are constitutionally reasonable administrative searches because they are “conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme in furtherance of an administrative purpose, namely, to prevent the carrying of weapons or explosives aboard aircraft, and thereby to prevent hijackings.”
And because "the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of so-called “administrative searches,.” it is reasonable to assume that the Supreme Court would find these searches constitutional, generally.

The caveat to this decision:
Although the constitutionality of airport screening searches is not dependent on consent, the scope of such searches is not limitless.  A particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it “is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [][and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose.”
So the key to the current set of procedures, in regards to the full-body scanners and enhanced pat-downs, is whether or not these tools are "more extensive" or "more intensive than necessary under the circumstances."

It seems to me that you could argue that in some specific cases, the procedures used by the TSA may have crossed this line (and in fact, they've more-or-less admitted this is the case in some cases); but there might be some difficulty arguing that these procedures in general cross the line (especially with the current Court).

Here is the text of the decision in its entirety:

United States of America v. Daniel Kuualoha Aukai

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TSA Airport Security Medical Humiliations For Travelers with Prosthetic Devices During Pat-Downs and Body Scans

From ABC News:
Prosthetic devices were designed to help men and women move on with their lives despite potentially stigmatizing medical conditions, yet they've become a source of distress and humiliation during the new pat-downs by airport security agents.

There's already been outrage over the TSA agent who asked a Charlotte, N.C., woman who survived breast cancer to remove a prosthetic from inside her bra. There was also a bladder cancer survivor from Lansing, Mich., who said he was soaked in his own urine when a TSA agent's pat-down ruptured the seal on his urostomy bag.

Have Bikini, Will Travel

From NBC Los Angeles:
Thousands of passengers were expected Wednesday at LAX, but only one left little to the imagination.

'I'm wearing my bikini,' Corinne Theile said as she unbuttoned her overcoat outside the terminal to reveal a black two-piece. 'It's not that I'm concerned, it's that I feel like the TSA is making travelers feel uncomfortable, and I feel like we can have security measures that don't make people feel uncomfortable.

'Every time I go through security I always say, 'I don't even know why I got dressed this morning.' I end up taking off belts, jewelry and everything else off anyway,' Theile said.

TSA Speedo Protester

Review of the TSA X-ray backscatter body scanner safety report: hide your kids, hide your wife

See the entire post here.

Woman: TSA Agents Singled Me Out For My Breasts

From WKMG Orlando:
The head of the Transportation Security Administration said the agency will look further into allegations that two male TSA workers picked a woman for additional screening because of her breasts.

Eliana Sutherland recently flew from Orlando International Airport and told Local 6 she felt the two male TSA workers were staring at her breasts and chose her for additional screening because of their size.

'It was pretty obvious. One of the guys that was staring me up and down was the one who pulled me over,' said Sutherland. 'Not a comfortable feeling.'

Poll finds 61% oppose new airport security measures

From the Los Angeles Times:
On the eve of one of the nation's busiest travel days, a poll has found that 61% of likely voters oppose the newly enhanced security measures at the country's airports.

The poll by Zogby International of 2,032 likely voters also found that 48% said they would probably seek alternatives to flying because of the new measures.

Airport security has become a topic of heated debate, particularly since Nov. 1, when the Transportation Security Administration implemented a more aggressive pat-down search technique at security checkpoints.
I wonder if TSA will continue to cite that CBS poll that 4 out of 5 people support the full body scanners. Yes, they do.

Appeals court derails use of GPS in case

From the Washington Times:
A sharply-divided federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that police can't use GPS to track a suspect's vehicle without a warrant, rejecting a bid by the Justice Department to have the life sentence of a convicted drug dealer reinstated.

In a case closely watched by national civil liberties groups, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a 5-4 decision upheld a lower court ruling that GPS data proved 'essential to the government's case' against Antoine Jones and a warrant was needed.

The decision, released late Friday without comment, came three months after a three-judge panel reversed the life sentence of Jones, who was convicted of running a drug ring from a D.C. nightclub. His lawyers had argued that the government's use of GPS technology violated his 'reasonable expectation of privacy.'
The decision in its entirety is here:

Placards, kilts part of plans for scanner protests

From My Way News:
Travelers dismayed by airport body scans are headed to airports Wednesday with the makings of any good protest: handmade fliers, eye-catching placards, slogan-bearing T-shirts - and Scottish kilts.

The loosely organized effort dubbed National Opt-Out Day hopes to highlight what some call unnecessarily intrusive security screenings. Others fear it will merely snarl pre-Thanksgiving airline operations on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Robert Shofkom wasn't worried about delayed flights, maybe just strong breezes.

The 43-year-old from Georgetown, Texas, said he planned for weeks to wear a traditional kilt - sans skivvies - to display his outrage over body scanners and aggressive pat-downs while catching his Wednesday flight out of Austin.

"Not all parts of the government are accountable to the public, especially the TSA"

Robert Graham of Errata Security was detained by the TSA for 30 minutes for taking pictures at the security checkpoint.  He details his experience here.  The quote in the title refers to part of a conversation he had with a TSA agent:
TSA: Don’t you have normal operating procedures at your work?
Robert: Yes
TSA: How would you like it if somebody came to your work and disrupted your procedures? How would you like it if people took pictures of you at your work?
Robert: I don’t work for the government. Government agencies need to be accountable to the public, and therefore suffer disruptions like this.
TSA: Not all parts of the government are accountable to the public, especially the TSA.
Robert: Wow. No, ALL parts of the government are accountable to the people, especially the TSA. I’m not sure what type of country you think we live in.
According to the most recently-available policies, taking pictures at a TSA security checkpoint is expressly permitted, provided that it does not interfere with the operations of the agents.

You really should read the rest of his blog post here as it is totally worth your few minutes of time.

Today is National Opt-Out Day

Today is National Opt-Out Day; the idea is for travelers who are selected for the full-body scanner to opt-out (as is their right) and force an "enhanced" pat-down.  This strategy (for right or wrong) is designed to slow down security lines to a halt as a means of forcing the TSA to change the policy.  Whether it works or not is a question to be determined, but we'll be following any such stories as they happen today.

As noid noted in a previous post, if you are "opposed to, or engaged in the disruption of the implementation of the enhanced airport screening procedures" then you too are now a "domestic extremist."

Welcome fellow domestic extremists!

Ron Paul: Crotch Groped by TSA, Calls for Boycott of Airlines

Appearing on the Alex Jones Show today, Texas Congressman Ron Paul expressed his outrage and disgust with the TSA and its unconstitutional naked body scanners and genital groping under the transparent pretense of protecting the American people from terrorists in distant caves.

“If we tolerate this,” Paul said, “there’s something wrong with us.” He added that the American people deserve to be humiliated and demeaned by the government if they refuse to stand up and resist.

Paul predicted Americans will eventually boycott the airlines to put an end to the intrusive searches and the unconscionable use of dangerous backscatter radiation naked body scanners. “Maybe the Congress will get off their duffs and do something in January,” he said, “and insist we reign in the TSA.”

Full-body scanners popping up at courthouses

According to Yahoo! News:
Taking a trip during the holidays isn't the only time that people might get a full-body scan to pass through security. People heading to court to testify, get a restraining order, pay a ticket or answer criminal charges could also face a full-body scan at courthouses.

The U.S. Marshals Service, which is in charge of protecting federal judges nationwide, is exploring their use at federal courthouses. And two state courthouses in Douglas and El Paso counties in Colorado have already deployed full-body scanners that use radio waves to detect all objects on a person, including paper.

A guard in a separate room monitors the gray images with pixelated faces and genital areas, and the images aren't stored on a computer. officials said. All visitors to the Douglas County Courthouse in Castle Rock, Colo., undergo full-body scans, while guards at the El Paso County Judicial Center in Colorado Springs use the scanners during peak hours.

Next step for body scanners could be trains, boats, metro

The next step in tightened security could be on U.S. public transportation, trains and boats.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says terrorists will continue to look for U.S. vulnerabilities, making tighter security standards necessary.

“[Terrorists] are going to continue to probe the system and try to find a way through,” Napolitano said in an interview that aired Monday night on 'Charlie Rose.'

“I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime. So, what do we need to be doing to strengthen our protections there?”
Will there be a Fourth Amendment left at the end of all of this?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Airports brace for possible protests

From the Baltimore Sun:
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and other airports across the country are bracing for possible protests at security checkpoints on the busiest travel day of the year as opposition to the Transportation Security Administration's security screening methods has intensified.

Activists from both the left and right have declared Wednesday to be National Opt-Out Day and are urging airline passengers to decline to go through the whole-body imaging machines installed by the TSA at BWI and many other U.S. airports.

By 'opting out,' however, passengers will be required to undergo the enhanced pat-down, a modified version recently introduced by the TSA in order to detect concealed devices that might have escaped under the previous inspection regimen.

The objective of the protest, according to one website, is to slow down the security screening process by forcing TSA to conduct more of the time-consuming pat-downs. TSA opponents have expressed the hope that the resulting delays will prompt airlines to press the agency to back off some of the procedures that have prompted objections.

Bill Could Give Homeland Security Power Over Tech Giants

Originally posted on

The US government is trying to obtain more power over major tech companies in the name of "security". While the article does not specifically say this, one must be suspicious of what sorts of regulations the government might impose on these companies. This would be one step closer to the government having unbridled access to things like our cloud-stored files, email accounts, or social networking profiles. It also opens new doors for Big Brother-type monitoring of how we use our digital devices, who we communicate with, what sites we view, etc.

Don't Like the new TSA Procedures? Well then you're an extremist..

The full article can be found here

"The memo, which actually takes the form of an administrative directive, appears to be the product of undated but recent high level meetings between Napolitano, John Pistole, head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA),and one or more of Obama’s national security advisors. This document officially addresses those who are opposed to, or engaged in the disruption of the implementation of the enhanced airport screening procedures as “domestic extremists.”"

Really now? Defending my rights makes me an extremist?

White House: Terrorists Have Discussed Use of Prosthetics to Conceal Explosives

From ABC News:
U.S. intelligence has picked up terrorists discussing the use of prosthetic or medical devices to conceal explosives, sources tell ABC News.

The revelation about the intelligence, which is not new but relevant to debate over new security measures at airports, comes as the White House today acknowledged that the implementation of the security procedures has not gone perfectly.

Airport Security Measures Spark Unusual Passenger Reaction

From The Schnitt Show:
Recent security measures taken by the TSA have caused a major stir among travelers who claim that the full-body scanners and pat-down procedures are excessive and invasive. Some travelers are fighting back, refusing to submit to the screenings and in the case of one man departing from the St. Thomas airport, took extreme measures.

Ryan Kulyik, a Schnitt Show listener, was traveling to Tampa from St. Thomas on Sunday, Novermber 21, when he entered the airport security line. As he approached the metal detectors, Kulyik noticed a man in his underwear standing next to baggage screening.

Spreadin' the glove: TSA infecting U.S.?

From WorldNetDaily:
Those latex gloves Transportation Security Administration agents wear while giving airline passengers those infamous full-body pat-downs apparently aren't there for the safety and security of passengers – only the TSA agents.

That's the word being discussed on dozens of online forums and postings after it was noted that the agents wear the same gloves to pat down dozens, perhaps hundreds, of passengers, not changing them even though the Centers for Disease Control in its online writings has emphasized the important of clean hands to prevent the exchange of loathsome afflictions.

Now 'abused' TSA staff vent their anger at security patdown searches

From the Mail Online:
Furious security staff have hit back at pat down searches in place across America, claiming that they hated dealing with obese travellers and those with personal hygiene problems.

There has already been a angry passenger backlash against the measures introduced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

But after being contacted by a travel blog, 17 staff have also expressed their disgust after the policy was put in place last month.

The staff said that they hated having to carry out the body searches, with one claiming that it was worse for him than the passenger.

TSA workers face verbal abuse from travelers

Airline passengers aren’t the only ones complaining about the Transportation Security Administration’s new enhanced security procedures. Many TSA employees aren’t too happy, either.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union that represents TSA workers, is urging the TSA to do more to protect its employees from abuse from airline passengers angry over the new security methods. The union reports that some members “have reported instances in which passengers have become angry, belligerent and even physical with TSOs (transportation security officers). In Indianapolis, for example, a TSO was punched by a passenger who didn’t like the new screening process,” the union said in a Nov. 17 statement posted on its website.

Protect Your Data During U.S. Border Searches

Following the recent assault on Moxie Marlinspike's digital privacy, Wired gives guidance on how to protect your digital privacy when going through airport security and Customs.

Supreme Court Takes Up First Amendment Video Game Case

Originally from

An article from earlier this month talking about censorship of video games and government intrusion into how parents raise their children.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Airport Security? More like TSA GONE WILD!

An airport security timeline.

You Don't Need to See His Identification

A must read:
On November 21, 2010, I was allowed to enter the U.S. through an airport security checkpoint without being x-rayed or touched by a TSA officer. This post explains how.
See the full blog post here.

Airport odyssey reveals how awful and annoying we are -

A family tried to sneak a dead man, propped up in a wheelchair, through airport security in New York. A couple had to be stopped while having sex in the corner of a Phoenix, Arizona, airport terminal. A man flying out of Chicago, Illinois, set a rat free, insisting he had to do this for religious purposes.

These are just some of the tales gathered last week as I traveled 5,900 miles through six American airports just days before millions of travelers started the annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage, making this the busiest air travel week of the year.

What I saw wasn't very pretty. For all our bellyaching about airline and airport employees, watching us through their eyes was, well, eye-opening. And kind of embarrassing.

Woman on TSA pat downs: 'I feel molested'

From ABC Action News:
Antonia Riggs Miernik reluctantly rolls up her left pant leg, revealing a scar that runs down her knee. When Miernik was 27 years old, she was injured in a car crash, and “basically destroyed the knee.” Now, she has a metal knee implant.

One of the effects of the implant is that whenever the New Port Richey woman flies, she triggers the metal detectors at airport security. She says the normal procedure is that she is then subjected to a TSA pat down. She has experienced multiple pat downs since Sept. 11.

“I feel molested. I’d like to go take a shower with Lysol (afterwards),” Miernik said, describing the pat downs, which she said includes being “touched all over.”

TSA Pat Down Went Too Far, Agency Chief Says

From ABC News:
The beleaguered head of the Transportation Security Administration said today that at least one airport passenger screening went too far when an officer reached inside a traveler's underwear, and the agency is open to rethinking its current protocols.
An ABC News employee said she was subject to a "demeaning" search at Newark Liberty International Airport Sunday morning.
"The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around," she said. "It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist. It was embarrassing. It was demeaning. It was inappropriate."
That search was against protocols and "never" should have happened, TSA Administrator John Pistole told "Good Morning America" today.
Wow, did the TSA just admit something was their fault? Shocking!

Passenger Chooses Strip-Down Over Pat-Down

From NBC San Diego:
When a San Diego man opted out of security screening using the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) at Lindbergh Field Friday, he stripped down to his underwear in an attempt to avoid the pat-down procedures.
See the rest of the article here.

Gloria Allred On TSA Pat-Down: "I Liked It"

Apparently for attorney Gloria Allred, being pat-down by the TSA was a big joke:

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: "Did they touch your body parts?"
GLORIA ALLRED: "Yeah, they did and it was a first time anybody touched them in a long time and frankly, I liked it."
The video was posted on RealClearPolitics here.

Straight Out Of Hollywood: Principal Makes House Call

A short break from the recent TSA-related hijinks, but an assault on privacy nonetheless:
In a famous scene from the comedy “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” a principal makes an unannounced house call to check up on a student who didn’t show up to school.
When it happened in real life for a family in Orange County, though, it was no laughing matter, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.
The principal is a well-liked former lieutenant colonel in the Army with a no-nonsense demeanor.
The two students, ages 12 and 16, live at the home with their mother.
A criminal complaint alleges Chester Academy Principal Ernest Jackson entered the home without permission when the two boys didn’t come to school in late September, and actually tried to coax them out of their beds.
Whether the kids were truant or not, you cannot simply walk into someone's house without permission.  Well-meaning or not, this man is a representative of the state and his actions represent a breach of privacy.  According to the police, they're looking at a simple trespass charge.

See the rest of the story at CBS New York here.

TSA has met the enemy — and they are us

Originally published on Yahoo! News.

Airport Security Protests Could Disrupt Holiday Travel

Fox News has this story about the potential impact of Wednesday's planned "National Opt-Out Day:"
As if air travel over the Thanksgiving holiday isn't tough enough, it could be even worse this year: Airports could see even more disruptions because of a loosely organized Internet boycott of full-body scans.

Even if only a small percentage of passengers participate, experts say it could mean longer lines, bigger delays and hotter tempers.

The protest, National Opt-Out Day, is scheduled for Wednesday to coincide with the busiest travel day of the year.

'Just one or two recalcitrant passengers at an airport is all it takes to cause huge delays,' said Paul Ruden, a spokesman for the American Society of Travel Agents, which has warned its more than 8,000 members about delays resulting from the body-scanner boycott.
See the rest of the article here.

Furrygirl's sexy stripdown protest in Seattle airport mocking TSA security theater (NSFW video)

Originally published on BoingBoing here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why are the feds trailing Moxie Marlinspike?

The full article is in The Register here.

Long security lines at O'Hare

TSA pat-down leaves traveler covered in urine

" 'I was absolutely humiliated,' said bladder cancer survivor."  Originally published on MSNBC.

The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet

Originally published on TechDirt.

TSA Chief Says Physical Checks at U.S. Airports Will Continue

Originally published on Bloomberg.

TSA Enhanced Pat Downs : The Screeners Point Of View

Originally published on the Flying with Fish blog.

Pat-down controversy takes flight

Originally published on Politico.

Young Boy Strip Searched By TSA

Someone please explain to me how this makes us safer?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Security researcher: I keep getting detained by feds

CNET News' version of Moxie Marlinspike's story is here.

Enhanced pat down leaves Grand Rapids airline passenger in tears

WZZM-13 (Grand Rapids, MI) has the story here:
"When I got on the plane all I wanted to do was sob," says traveler Ella Swift.
Swift was one of an increasing number of passengers Transportation Security Administration officers are thoroughly searching by hand. They call it an "enhanced pat-down."
Swift says they told her she was singled out because she was wearing a skirt. She says the search earlier this month was very rough and left her in tears.
"The female officer ran her hand up the inside of my leg to my groin and she did it so hard and so rough she lifted me off my heels," she says. "I think I yelped. I was in pain for about an hour afterwards. It just felt excessive and unnecessary."
Yet, the TSA says they did nothing wrong:
After reviewing the incident, a TSA spokesman says officers involved in the Grand Rapids search acted "appropriately and respectfully."

Cancer surviving flight attendant told to remove prosthetic breast during pat-down (Charlotte, NC) has the full story here.

Woman says her Lambert security screening was sexual assault

KMOV-4 in St. Louis has the story.

Airports consider congressman's call to ditch TSA

The full article from the Associated Press is here.

Bruce Schneier: TSA Backscatter X-ray Backlash

Bruce Schneier does his best to round up all the relevant stories here.

San Mateo County DA vows to prosecute too touchy SFO security pat downs

From ABC7News:
The San Mateo district attorney's office has a warning for all TSA personnel at SFO -- anyone inappropriately touching a passenger during a security pat down will be prosecuted.

Incoming San Mateo DA Steve Wagstaffe says any complaints of inappropriate touching during an airport security pat down will land on his desk.

'The case would be reviewed and if we could prove the elements of it, that it was inappropriately done with a sexual or lewd intent, that person would be prosecuted,' he said.
See the rest of the article here.

Man arrested after punching TSA screener in Indy

A Connecticut man has been arrested after exchanging words and punching a TSA screener at a security checkpoint at Indianapolis International Airport.
According to a report from airport police, John A. Christina, 51, Simsbury, Conn., was charged with battery as a misdemeanor in connection with the incident about 2:50 p.m. Tuesday at the Concourse B checkpoint.
Christina, who could not be reached for comment today, was released from jail on $150 bond and scheduled in Marion Superior Court 10 on Dec. 13.
See the rest of the article here.

Will Turkey Day Fliers Cry Foul?

The Wall Street Journal article discusses how new screenings at airports may affect Thanksgiving holiday travel. See the article here.

NYC Legislators Seek Ban On Full Body Scanners In New York

See the full story from the Yeshiva World News here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

TSA Enhanced Screening Procedures Explained

Another Hacker’s Laptop, Cell Phones Searched at Border

Wired's Threat Level blog has a follow-up on Moxie Marlinspike's story.

Senate panel approves domain name seizure bill

Originally published on CNET.


TSA FAIL from Agent DarkApple on Vimeo.

GOP lawmaker: Full-body scanners violate Fourth Amendment

Originally posted on The Hill.

Airport staff 'exposed woman's breasts, laughed'

Originally published on The Australian.

Sanford Airport to opt out of TSA screening

Originally published at WDBO Local News.

The American Traveler Dignity Act (HR 6416)

Yesterday Ron Paul introduced the Travel with Dignity Act. If you're as fed up with the TSA and their 'your rights don't apply here' attitude as I am, contact your House reps and urge them to support this piece of legislation. While it doesn't remove things like the backscatter and millimeter wave x-rays it does reinforce that the laws regarding person to person contact still apply between the TSA and you. In short, if it's contact that would get you arrested on the street, it will still get you in trouble even if you are a TSA agent 'just following orders'.

The 7 Creepiest Things About the TSA's "Porno Scanners"

Originally posted at Alternet

Moxie Marlinspike harassed for his electronic data

Moxie Marlinspike was returning from overseas when he was met by two CBP agents who had instructions to get his "electronic data."  He was held for 4 1/2 hours but refused to give up his passwords.  For more, see his Twitter updates: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

See Me, Feel Me

Pay attention to the 0:53 mark when a boy (probably no older than 3) is subject to a wand search, a pat down, and an examination of his Thomas the Tank Engine backpack! Crazy.

Enough is Enough! Congressman Ron Paul on TSA Abuses

TSA: Trouser Search Administration

Originally posted on Lowering the Bar, the blog of attorney Kevin Underhill.

Ohio Mom Claims Sexual Assault During TSA Pat Down

Notice what she said around 3:20 - 3:40. She was given no other options. She did not protest the pat-down because she feared she would be in the same situation as John Tiner. I thought these "security procedures" were put into place to help prevent terrorism?

TSA Discriminates against disabled people, violates rights to privacy

Keep in mind that these incidents occurred before the new rules went into effect. Now what will they manage to get away with?

What Happens if You Decline a Full Body Scan?

"If someone had done that to me at a nightclub I'd call the cops."

Originally posted on AOL Travel

No more TSA?

Representative John Mica calls the TSA "a bloated government agency, which is no longer efficient or effective, even with more invasive security checks." Mica is encouraging airports to replace TSA with private security screeners. Of the current situation, Mica said, "Next, you're getting groped because of the underpants bomber. The next thing you know, it'll be body cavity searches."

Original article at, redistribution not allowed :(

Erickson Wants Macon to Fire TSA

"We could advertise that you don't have to deal with the TSA if you fly out of Macon."
Originally from

Humorist Dave Barry And His TSA Pat-Down

Originally published at NPR.

Has Airport Security Gone Too Far?

Originally published in the Wall Street Journal.

F.B.I. Seeks Wider Wiretap Law for Web

Originally published in the New York Times.

TSA boss: New pat-downs are more invasive

From MSNBC: The head of the TSA faces lawmakers on Capitol Hill and questions about controversial full-body scanners and enhanced pat-downs. Msnbc's Chris Jansing talks to Airline Pilots Association president John Prater.

The Big Brother State

The Big Brother State from David Scharf on Vimeo.

Body scanners: The naked truth

This article originally appeared in the New York Post.

Social Engineering and Target Profiling with 100% Accuracy Using Social Media and OSINT

NOTE: In this BSidesDE presentation, Dave Marcus shows how people often give away details about themselves without even being asked, and how that can be used to exploit them.

Social Engineering and Target Profiling with 100% Accuracy Using Social Media and OSINT (by Dave Marcus) from theprez98 on Vimeo.

Federal V.I.P Penn - 11/13/02

This is a story from Penn Gillette from back in 2002.  Thanks to quadling for the link.

The 'Israelification' of airports: High security, little bother

This article was reposted from the Toronto Star. The link to the original article is here.

The Assault on Privacy

The news of the last few weeks has been particularly vicious: the TSA seems to be groping everyone, including 3-year olds and the government tell us that we gave up our rights voluntarily.  In Colorado, the Supreme Court ruled that using a stolen Social Security Number did not constitute criminal impersonation (identity theft).  Laptops are seized at airports and not returned in reasonable time periods.  The list goes on and on.  I started this blog to document the growing assault on our most basic rights of privacy ingrained in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
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.
This is a monumental task, and I don't claim to be able to be comprehensive about it.  But with your help, we can begin to document the abuses and proclaim, as Howard Beale did, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

So I am seeking volunteers to be contributors to this blog.  I'm looking for anything from a link and a short blurb to analysis of court cases.  Nothing is too big or too small.  As a contributor, all I ask is that you keep an eye out for privacy-related news, and post something to the blog when you get the chance.  You can do it, I know you can.  Can't write well?  It's all good, because I can't either, but I try. :-)

Ping me on Twitter (@theprez98) or shoot me an email (mjsche-at-gmail-dot-com) and I'll get you added to the contributors list.  Thank you for doing your part in helping to protect our privacy!