Published: January 2016

Against TSA’s unlawful screening of airline passengers

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a change to its screening process, requiring some travelers to go through body scanners even if the person asks to get a full-body pat-down instead. Currently, passengers undergoing screening can decline using the body scanners, known as Advanced Imaging Technologies in favor of full-body pat-downs by TSA agents. Under the new mandate, not everyone can opt for the pat-down procedure. Privacy advocates site grave privacy concerns over the update, arguing travelers within the United States are being subject to unlawful searches by the Transportation Security Administration.

In a letter to the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Consumer Action and its coalition advocates ask committee members to assess the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) conduct in light of the agency’s recent announcement that spurred major privacy concerns for travelers. The TSA says it can now mandate whole body scanning for airline passengers–even for those passengers who specifically request a pat-down procedure. According to the agency, the new policy was created to safeguard airline security during heightened terrorism concerns. However, consumer and privacy advocates argue that the TSA does not have the authority to require travelers to undergo whole body screening. Already travelers within the United States are being subject to unlawful searches.

Lead Organization

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

Other Organizations

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) | American Civil Liberties Union
| Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation | Center for Digital Democracy 
| Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights | Competitive Enterprise Institute
| Constitutional Alliance
| Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America
| Consumer Watchdog
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
| Cyber Privacy Project
|, Inc.
| Electronic Frontier Foundation
| Electronic Privacy Information Center
| Liberty Coalition |
Liberty Guard
 | National Center for Transgender Equality
| National Security Counselors
| National Workrights Institute
| Niskanen Center
| Patient Privacy Rights |
Privacy Times
| R Street
| Restore The Fourth |
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) | UNITED SIKHS

More Information

For more information, visit EPIC's website.

Download PDF

Against TSA’s unlawful screening of airline passengers   (TSA-Congressional-Oversight-Letter.pdf)




Quick Menu

Facebook FTwitter T