Free Speech

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
behavior, free speech, tsa

Companies:
tsa



TSA Says 'You Might Be A Terrorist If... You Complain About The TSA'

from the seriously-guys? dept

Ah, the TSA. Apparently among the "behavioral factors" that the TSA uses in determining who might be a criminal or a terrorist is... if you complain about the TSA. I guess that means I'm in line for some extra scrutiny. Honestly, though, this sounds a lot more like punitive action against people who complain, rather than a legitimate characteristic of someone who deserves extra scrutiny. Specifically, one of the factors is if someone is:
"Very arrogant and expresses contempt against airport passenger procedures."
An ACLU person quoted in the article wonders if this violates the First Amendment, in that it's going after someone for expressing their opinion:
"Expressing your contempt about airport procedures -- that's a First Amendment-protected right," said Michael German, a former FBI agent who now works as legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "We all have the right to express our views, and particularly in a situation where the government is demanding the ability to search you."

"It's circular reasoning where, you know, I'm going to ask someone to surrender their rights; if they refuse, that's evidence that I need to take their rights away from them. And it's simply inappropriate," he said.
Honestly, you'd have to think that a real terrorist or criminal, hoping to avoid calling attention to themselves, wouldn't be openly hostile to the search procedure, but would try to be quiet and blend in. Perhaps the TSA will defend this latest ridiculousness by saying it's all okay because it's standard operating procedure.

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  1. identicon
    Neil (SM), 16 Apr 2011 @ 4:16pm

    nonsense

    First of all, the law and courts have made it clear (at least in the non-airport real world) that refusal of a search does not constitute probable cause or grounds for a warrant. Obviously this isn't about warrants since the TSA doesn't need those for some reason, but in terms of principles this seems like it should fall along those same lines.

    Second of all, it's absolutely ridiculous. Like you said, a real terrorist would not be going out of his/her way to draw attention to himself and would be trying to get through security checkpoints as quickly and quietly as possible. This is purely either a punitive measure or simply meant as a deterrent for possible complainants. They're letting the public know to keep your mouth shut and take it...or else.

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