Petition that the TSA Should Follow the Law on Nude-o-Scopes

Via Bruce Schneier:

This is important:

In July 2011, a federal appeals court ruled that the Transportation Security Administration had to conduct a notice-and-comment rulemaking on its policy of using “Advanced Imaging Technology” for primary screening at airports. TSA was supposed to publish the policy in the Federal Register, take comments from the public, and justify its policy based on public input. The court told TSA to do all this “promptly.” A year later, TSA has not even started that public process. Defying the court, the TSA has not satisfied public concerns about privacy, about costs and delays, security weaknesses, and the potential health effects of these machines. If the government is going to “body-scan” Americans at U.S. airports, President Obama should force the TSA to begin the public process the court ordered.

The petition needed 150 signatures to go “public” on (currently at 296), and needs 25,000 to require a response from the administration. You have to register before you can sign, but it’s a painless procedure. Basically, they’re checking that you have a valid e-mail address.

Everyone should sign it.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Well I signed it but what a pain in the ass that whitehouse website. Only reason I kept trying to create an account was because I have a few hours to kill waiting for my flight. Anyway looks like 25000 will be reached quickly.

  2. Gary, the Bruce Schneier quote misstates the D.C. Circuit’s holding. The court held (1) that TSA’s use of body scanners does not violate the Constitution, but (2) that TSA failed to use notice-and-comment rulemaking, and (3) remanded to TSA to further proceedings. The court did not require TSA to conduct notice-and-comment rulemaking. To the contrary, TSA may invoke the Administrative Procedure Act’s “good cause” exception to notice-and-comment (an avenue left open by the court). In other words, the petition rests on an inaccurate premise.

  3. I would love to sign it, but right now the website is giving an error when you are trying to use an existing account. 🙁

  4. @Storm – my understanding is that the TSA does indeed claim it is too complex and expensive to go through the normal process, but the claim seems a smokescreen at best and shouldn’t be acceptable.

  5. Nice post Gary. I like it. Anything to wake the process up. Thanks for helping it along.

  6. Ok – maybe I’m missing something with the TSA. I fly two or three times a year, so not as often as many readers, I’m sure, but I have never been forced to use a body scanner – there have always been other options.

    It seems like a lot of bloggers have been posting anti-TSA articles lately. Now, the stories they highlight definitely involve inappropriate actions by TSA employees. Only a fool would argue that the are within their rights – and there are a lot of these stories out there. I would speculate, though, that any agency or company responsible for screening the sheer volume of travelers that the TSA does across the country would have a similar level of inappropriate occurences. I have never felt disrespected or abused when passing through security. Some of their policies are annoying and, in my opinion, uneccesary, but for the most part enforced with professionalism.

    Sorry – I know this comment is a bit off-topic for your original post, but it got me thinking. I just see a lot of hateful comments and sentiment directed generally at TSA and their employees in the field and it seems that it is not necessarily deserved – in general.


  7. @Lost – If you’ve ever had anything stolen by TSA, you wouldn’t be so pro-TSA. We had a bag disappear that had the last location on a trace as “at TSA”. Draw your own conclusion!

  8. @Rich – You may be right, but my point is that I haven’t had anything stolen by TSA (and have had notes stating that my bags were searched on several occasions). Sometimes I haven’t been happy with their re-packing abilities, but nothing missing.

    I can understand disagreeing with some of the processes that they implement, but a lot of people take it way too far, in my opinion – directing sweeping comments condemning every TSA employee, etc.

  9. Just signed up. Count is now 10,400.

    I opt out every time as a citizen protest.

    The TSA doesn’t need to know which of my testicles hangs lower than the other to keep the skies safe.

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