New policies enforced by the Transportation Security Administration have taken center stage during the holiday season as travelers refuse to pass through security lines in airports for fear of being subjected to overaggressive safety precautions.
IU Maurer School of Law Distinguished Professor and privacy expert Fred Cate argued the new policies are a waste of valuable resources that could be better used in attempting to identify likely terrorists.
In a letter to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas) sent Nov. 22, Cate applauded leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for their “close scrutiny of the new polices enforced by the TSA,” according to an IU press release.
“As you know, the new TSA policy requires full-body pat-downs of travelers picked at random and of any traveler who refuses to be X-rayed or presents anything ‘anomalous,’ such as a knee brace, a pacemaker or a prosthetic limb,” Cate said in the letter. “This policy poses a number of serious issues.”
According to the release, Cate argued that intrusive searches often don’t work and hand searches of medical devices are incapable of determining a threat.
He also argued that the policies violate long-held social and legal norms about personal privacy and the searches are demoralizing to the TSA agents.
“The TSA has a long history of ill-informed and ill-targeted security programs and disingenuous dealings with Congress and the American public,” Cate said in the release.
“This is the same agency that claimed to need photographic images of travelers’ bodies to identify potential explosives, a claim that European experts have again proved not true.
“And this is the same agency that promised the public its machines weren’t capable of storing the nude images of passengers on its machines, only to have more than 35,000 appear on the Internet last week.”
— Bailey Loosemore