A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official is wearing a TSA badge, and on Terminal 4 of JFK airport in New York City, USA, 17 May 2017. REUTERS/Joe Penney – RC1ADE93C100
Imagine that the phone of you, out of sight, for ten minutes or more, while you travel within the United States. It would be happening now. The Guardian reports that there is a quickly growing number of reports that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), is the search for electronic devices at security checkpoints for domestic flights in the United States.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Northern California is suing the TSA to get the government to more fully divulge its policy for the searching of mobile phones, laptops and other devices during domestic travel.
“We have received reports of passengers on domestic flights with their phones and laptops searched, and the camping is that the TSA is taking these items from people without any reason,” ACLU staff attorney Vasudha Talla told the Guardian. “The search of an electronic device has the potential to be highly invasive and in the most personal details about a person.”
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The TSA declined to comment on the lawsuit, but told the Guardian that “TSA does not search the contents of electronic devices.”
On international flights, which this kind of search, while still invasive, has occurred from the Customs and Border Patrol (and the increased frequency of under President, Donald Trump). But in our own country, there is no precedent or obvious authority for the TSA.
In October 2017, the TSA announced stricter screening procedures on US-bound flights from abroad. But if the many anecdotes, the ACLU has been reported (some of the Guardian’s lists in the story) are true, it leads to questions about the legitimacy and a serious breach of privacy for each passenger, many of whom are citizens.