TSA petition circulates to require security compliance

The TSA is called out online to comply with its requirement to publish its screening policy justifications based on public input - including its security weaknesses.

The Transportation Security Administration is facing an angry public outcry to comply with a Court order to publish a notice-and-comment policy on its primary screening procedures, specifically about its use of "backscatter" machines.

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Now there's an open petition calling out the TSA and telling the Obama Administration to force the TSA to comply with the deadline they missed over a year ago. UPDATE: The petition has closed, failing to meet its goal of 25,000 signatures.

The United States Court of Appeals ruled in July 2011 that the Transportation Security Administration had to conduct - and publish - a notice-and-comment rulemaking on its policy of using "Advanced Imaging Technology" for primary security screening at airports.

The Advanced Imaging Technology machines, originally deployed in 2007, are the source of ire among privacy advocates that claim the machines enact an unconstitutional strip search without probable cause, violating the human rights of airline passengers.

At the same time a significant number of physical security reports have shown that the machines are easy to defeat, and suggest that relying on the machines is in and of itself a serious security weakness.

There have also been a number of negative and troubling civilian safety, privacy and security incidents involving the machines, passengers and TSA staff.

The TSA was supposed to publish the policy in the Federal Register, take comments from the public and justify its policy based on public input.

The Court ordered the TSA to do this "promptly."

Over a year later, the TSA has not begun the public process.

The TSA has argued for years against providing any public input notice-and-comment about their policy; the Court stated in its 2011 ruling that the TSA had no justification for having failed to conduct the notice-and-comment rulemaking.

According to the petition's statement,

(...) the TSA has not satisfied public concerns about privacy, about costs and delays, security weaknesses, and the potential health effects of these machines.

If the government is going to "body-scan" Americans at U.S. airports, President Obama should force the TSA to begin the public process the court ordered.

The petition's goal is 25,000 signatures and the deadline is Thursday August 9.


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