TSA Faces New Lawsuit Over Body Scanners

• July 16, 2015 1:43 pm


The Transportation Security Administration is facing a new lawsuit for implementing body scanners before weighing in on public opinion or developing regulations for their use. The lawsuit would require the agency to come up with conclusive rules within 90 days, according to a press release.

On Wednesday, the Center for Transgender Equality and the Rutherford Institute (RI) joined as co-petitioners with the Competitive Enterprise Institute(CEI) in a lawsuit to hold the government agency accountable for the rapid instillation of the controversial technology without legislation.

John W. Whitehead, a constitutional attorney and president of RI, said the TSA has been operating the scanners outside of federal orders.

"Despite the massive invasion of privacy perpetrated by whole body scanners on millions of air travelers and a federal court order that the TSA issue a rule on their use, the government has refused to do so, thereby avoiding providing justifications or enforceable guidelines for their use,"Whitehead said in the press release. "This is another example of the government employing surveillance technologies regardless of and outside of the limits of the law."

The new lawsuit was issued four years after an initial federal court ruling on July 15, 2011, which said that TSA is "legally required to publicly develop its body scanner regulation under the Administrative Procedure Act."

In addition to the TSA using the scanners outside of regulation, CEI fellow Marc Scribner, questioned the effectiveness of the technology.

"As if the violation of the law wasn’t enough, we have strong reason to believe the body scanners are ineffective in detecting weapons and explosives,"Scribner said. "Leaked results from a classified Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General audit revealed that TSA screening practices, in which the body scanners play a major role, failed to detect threats 96 percent of the time. This adds insult to injury from an agency that purports to protect the traveling public by way of highly invasive, costly, and illegal screening technologies."

Published under: TSA