Victory! TSA Ends Books-in-Bags Rule!
TSA : End the Books in Bags Rule
You might be facing longer lines at the airport if a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rule expands nationwide. The TSA is testing a policy that would require travelers to take any books out of their luggage and send them through the scanners separately. Airports in California and Missouri are first to adopt this new requirement. This causes longer lines at security checkpoints, since travelers not only need to remove their shoes, laptops, and liquids – they’ll have to pull books out of luggage, too.
The new book removal policy invades our privacy without making us any safer. It not only makes air travel even more of a hassle, it opens up our reading habits to unwarranted scrutiny.
The American Civil Liberties Union says the new policy might be illegal, based on “numerous Supreme Court and other court decisions, but also…state laws that criminalize the violation of public library reading privacy or require a warrant to obtain book sales, rental or lending records.”
Books raise very special privacy issues. Given the rampant abuse of body images created by backscatter machines, it is not unreasonable to question TSA’s ability to be truly impartial. Unless a TSA agent has a specific and credible reason to search a bag, the TSA should not be looking through our reading material.