TSA

Be Careful With Your Micro-Expressions at the Airport

Be Careful With Your Micro-Expressions at the Airport

By Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 7:25am
You're late for your flight, sweaty from having dragged your luggage to the check-in counter, and stressed about making it through security before boarding begins. For some of us, this is the rule, not the exception. For most of us, it's a pretty unremarkable scenario.
I Was Arrested for Learning a Foreign Language. Today, I Have Some Closure.

I Was Arrested for Learning a Foreign Language. Today, I Have Some Closure.

By Nick George at 11:14am

Five years ago, the Philadelphia police thought that carrying Arabic-language flashcards was enough to warrant the arrest of an innocent traveler. A settlement reached today in a lawsuit I brought against the police department makes it clear that it…

Four people enjoying vintage airline lounge

Government Placing Itself at Top of New Air Travel Caste System

By Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 3:42pm

A new report from the Government Accountability Office shows that the government is going easy on itself when it comes to aviation security screening, and in the process it is stretching the concept of watchlisting to the breaking point. Not only has…

"Vitruvian Man" by Leonardo da Vinci (modified by Jay Stanley)

A Tour of the TSA’s Testing Facility

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:04am

Last week I was given a tour of the “TSA Systems Integration Facility” (TSIF), the agency’s testing facility located at Reagan National Airport here in Washington, in some outlying buildings that used to house the airport’s post office facility.…

"It Was Mostly the Middle Easterners Who Got the Special Screening"

"It Was Mostly the Middle Easterners Who Got the Special Screening"

By Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 5:16pm

Transportation Security Administration employees subjected "Middle Easterners" to extra screening based solely on national origin, diverted "rude" passengers to retaliatory pat-down searches, and snickered at our "every fold and dimple on full awful…

Hindu Man Describes Mistreatment After False-Positive Hand Swab

Hindu Man Describes Mistreatment After False-Positive Hand Swab

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:40pm

When the TSA in 2010 introduced the swabbing of some passengers’ hands to detect for explosive residue, we got a call from CNN asking if we’d tell them on camera what we thought of it from a privacy standpoint. It seemed to us that particle sniffers…

SPOT Off

SPOT Off

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:58pm

Lost in all the news about the NSA program this week was the release of a devastating report by the DHS Inspector General on the TSA’s SPOT program (first reported by the New York Times on Sunday). The new report underscores what a waste of money that program has been. After hiring 2,800 full-time staff and spending an estimated $878 million since FY 2007, the program remains deeply misguided not only in its very concept, but also in how it has been implemented.

SPOT (which stands for Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) is the program that places “Behavior Detection Officers” (BDOs) near airport security lines, where by intrusively chatting with fliers, they will supposedly be able to detect “something amiss” that might suggest a passenger is planning a terrorist attack.

The program has always been ludicrous. In testimony at a 2011 congressional hearing on SPOT, psychologist Dr. Maria Hartwig summarized the decades of empirical research on the detection of deception, which is basically

The Constitution Applies When the Government Bans Americans From the Skies

The Constitution Applies When the Government Bans Americans From the Skies

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program & Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project at 2:58pm

The government does not have the unchecked authority to place individuals on a secret blacklist without providing them any meaningful...

TSA Once Again Considering Using Commercial Data To Profile Passengers

TSA Once Again Considering Using Commercial Data To Profile Passengers

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:09am

The TSA has issued a “Market Research Announcement” in which the agency expresses a desire to expand its Pre-Check whitelist program by allowing private companies to carry out risk analysis of Americans that would determine whether they…

The TSA’s First 11 Years

The TSA’s First 11 Years

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:21pm

November 25 marked the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Homeland Security Act, which created the sprawling Department of Homeland Security. Included in this new behemoth agency was another agency that had been created a year earlier, the Transportation…

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