Increased airline security and your rights
Tue, 23 Nov 2010 19:05:34 GMT —
All eyes are on the increased security measures at the larger airports this Thanksgiving week.
Wednesday is considered "National Opt Out" day. Those against the full body scans want people to say "no" to them and get patted down to cause long delays in airports.
NBC25 talked to a local attorney about your rights.
Greg Gibbs, president of the Greater Flint American Civil Liberties Union says, "To do it on a wholesale basis is an unnecessary and ineffective way of doing it. It's an unwarranted invasion of privacy."
It's a touchy subject with some feeling violated.
Marlene McCarthy is a cancer patient. She says a security official touched her inappropriately. "Having the TSA agent then come and cup the breast prosthesis and move it around like to confirm it's really there, that was just too humiliating," says McCarthy.
Others believe it's necessary for security.
Gerald Couch, a frequent traveler says, "There's people out there that want to do harm and the harder we make it for them to do that the safer we're gonna be."
The Transportation Security Administration says random pat-downs make everyone safer.
However, Gibbs disagrees. "They have a right to keep us safe. That's a priority. But they should do it in an effective manner that does not invade our personal privacy."
Gibbs says travelers should only be subjected to increased checking if there is suspicion. He says random checks violate the 4th Amendment to the Constitution protecting people from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Homeland security officials say the public isn't getting the whole story about the safety measures.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says, "Very few passengers receive a pat-down. Those who decide they don't want to go through the walk through metal detector or the new AIT machines, there has to be a way to screen them and the way to screen them is with a pat-down."
Airline passengers have no recourse at this point other than to complain if they think security officials have gone too far.
Security officials say around one in 100 people will be subjected to random pat-downs. Airlines expect 24-million people to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday.