San Diego Airport Says Recording TSA Gropings Is An Arrestible Offense?

from the not-cool dept

We already covered the guy who was arrested after stripping down for the TSA, highlighting how one of the charges was his failure to complete the security procedure (after stripping down, he pointed out there was no need for a pat down...). However, there was a second charge that was even more troubling that actually deserves a separate post, which is that he was also charged with "illegally recording the San Diego Airport Authority." I was trying to figure out the exact rule (listed as 7.14a), and some of the folks over at Flyertalk have posted the full 7.14 rule (or you can see the full San Diego Airport Authority rules (pdf) if you'd like):
(a) No person shall take still, motion or sound motion pictures or voice recordings on the facilities and airports under the jurisdiction of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (the "Authority") without written permission from the Authority's Executive Director or his or her designee.

(b) Filming of X-ray equipment located on the facilities and airports under the jurisdiction of the Authority is strictly prohibited. Any person(s) caught filming such X-ray equipment may have their film confiscated.
I'm having trouble seeing how this rule can possibly be legal -- especially with all the stories today of TSA agents abusing (or simply not understanding) the new rules. Recording the interactions with the TSA seems like an essential step in making sure that personal liberties are respected. Making that illegal raises all sorts of questions. And while this is specific to San Diego Airport, it makes me wonder if there are similar restrictions elsewhere.

Just a few months ago, we pointed out how law enforcement and the courts were abusing wiretap laws to find people guilty of wiretapping for recording law enforcement in public places. Thankfully, some courts have pushed back on such cases, and it seems like this is a situation where declaring an outright ban on videotaping within the airport is a restriction that doesn't make any sense at all.

Filed Under: airports, recording, san diego, security, tsa
Companies: tsa

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  1. identicon
    DogBreath, 23 Nov 2010 @ 11:05am

    SDAA may find out they don't have a legal leg to stand on when this gets to court...

    if this interesting post turns out to be true, Traveler arrested in San Diego for 'failure to complete security process'...Operation Grab Ass taken from the comment posted by mvoccaus:

    Hi, the following is not legal advice and is for entertainment purposes only.

    The TSA is a federal government agency. They do not have any codes or policies regarding audio or video recording so long as such audio or video recording does not interfere with the security screening process.

    San Diego International Airport is in the county of San Diego and is subject to the codes and policies of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. That is the agency that is prohibiting recording. The code in question is located at

    Under that code, no pictures, video, or audio can be taken anywhere at the facility or of the facility. If you sent your friend a picture message from your phone at the airport letting him or her know you arrived safely, you are in violation of the code under the letter of the law. Shit, using your cell phone at the airport is a violation of the code. That's not the spirit (intent) of the law, but that is the letter (literal interpretation) of the law.

    However, the United States Constitution does not recognize cities or counties, it only recognizes states. In other words, any municipality or sub-state agency inherits from the state their power and abilities to create laws in their jurisdiction. However, because of this rule of inheritance, and because of the incorporation doctrine of the 14th amendment of the Constitution, your Bill of Rights applies to every level of government: Federal, State, County, Regional, Municipal, etc.

    But that only applies to government agencies. Some airports are privately owned. In which case, they set the rules. They can take away your cameras, prohibit any sort of talking, and require everyone to be naked in the terminal and prohibit clothing altogether. However, San Diego International Airport is publicly owned, so all your Bill of Rights still apply. Therefore, there's a Constitutional conflict of SAN Airport banning the capturing of audio or video if any kind because it is so vaguely written and encroaches on the freedom-of-the-press clause of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. In all likelihood, the law is unenforceable it its current form and could be nullified in a Federal court.

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