TSA

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

Racial Profiling Redux

Racial Profiling Redux

By Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 5:43pm

In the 1993 film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's character finds himself repeating the same miserable day over and over again. For Indian film star Shahrukh Khan, last week was Groundhog Day for racial and religious profiling. In 2009, Khan —…

TSA Seeks to Expand the Airport Experience Into Everyday Life

TSA Seeks to Expand the Airport Experience Into Everyday Life

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 7:02pm

The Los Angeles Times today reports on the TSA’s VIPR program, in which roving teams of security agents bring the joys of the airport security experience into bus and train stations, highways, the subway, and other transportation facilities around…

ACLU Sues TSA for Unlawful Detention of Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty Treasurer

By Ateqah Khaki at 4:25pm

Today, we filed a new lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over unlawful TSA search and detention practices. The case was filed on behalf of a traveler who was illegally detained and harassed by TSA Agents at the airport for…

Friday Links Roundup

Friday Links Roundup

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:26pm

Here are some links that have caught our eye recently:

The FBI’s “Next Generation Identification” biometrics database is starting to plan for the inclusion of iris scans. Iris scans raise more issues than some other biometrics…

Stranger Danger: TSA Frisks Another Little Kid

Stranger Danger: TSA Frisks Another Little Kid

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 4:05pm

I think most people would agree that little kids shouldn't be subjected to pat-downs at the airport, like little Mikey Hicks was last year. Well, it's happened again.

The TSA's latest victim? Six-year-old Anna Drexel, who was selected for…

A Happy Ending, So Far

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 9:39am

Last week, we got some good news in the case of Adnan Tikvesa, an airline employee whose security clearance was unexpectedly suspended by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) without any reason or reasonable opportunity for him to defend…

"Show Us Your Body, or We'll Feel You Up."

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 6:34pm

You know how when the weather starts to warm, the gym is buzzing with people toning to achieve that perfect beach body? Starting this summer, abs of steel will be in season anytime you fly.

Yesterday, Slate's William Saletan wrote about the…

Lie Detection, Special Treatment at the Airport, and Recursive Cameras (Friday Links Roundup)

Lie Detection, Special Treatment at the Airport, and Recursive Cameras (Friday Links Roundup)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:26pm

Salon has a nice piece on how research shows the difficulty of detecting lies—the impossibility, really—and how people consistently overestimate their ability to do so. And, how people consistently misidentify signs of stress (from a variety…

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