Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DJ Hero

I got an anonymous comment to my last post on the TSA's new security procedures saying that there has to be something we can do, rather than just submitting to whatever is advanced under the name of security. As it happens, there are several things that people can do to react to the TSA's new procedures.

The most well publicized protest is probably National Opt Out Day (warning - page includes naked picture taken with TSA's new scanners), wherein people will opt for being groped by a TSA agent to slow down processing of fliers on November 24 - the busiest flying day of the year. If that's your cup of tea, then it's certainly your right to opt out of the scanning (which you might want to do anyway, for both health and privacy reasons). For me though, I'm not at all interested in being groped by the TSA, even for the noble purpose of protest.

If you're more interested in an ineffectual protest with a touch of humor, you can try radiation shielding undergarments, or a bill or rights luggage tag (all of which are described in this article). My guess is that the bill of rights tag would just be ignored (much like the actual bill of rights), and that the metal undergarments would result in a referral for one of the TSA's special enhanced pat downs. Still, if you want to make a statement, those are another way to do it.

As a lawyer, my first thought was a declaratory judgment action seeking to preliminarily and permanently enjoin the TSA from implementing the new security measures. My next thought was that that was so obvious that someone must have already done it. However, a quick Google search didn't turn up much more than this thread, so maybe that's still available. The problem with this approach is that these types of DJ actions are really hard to win, and you may get bumped on procedural grounds before the judge ever reaches the merits of the case.

In the end though, my guess is that what will be necessary to reverse these new procedures is people (finally) taking a stand for privacy, and bringing enough bad press to the TSA and pressure on their elected representatives, that the TSA's current policies become radioactive. I'm not thrilled that we've reached that point, but it is a free country, and if our elected representatives make enough intrusive laws, sometimes the only way to respond is by replacing them with people who aren't so keen to invade people's privacy.

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