58 thoughts on “Dear Airlines”

  1. Before 9/11 child porn and drugs were the excuse for pretty unreasonable search and seizure. We’ve added terrorism to the list. I’m not sure that U. S. Customs passes the test, either (customs appropriating laptops of U.S. citizens to check for porn or terrorist how-to files is stupid–as ineffective as anything TSA has done, but perhaps not quite as bureaucratically suicidal). U. S. Customs has been notoriously rude and invasive for decades. And of course we have the music and film industries trying to get more laws passed to assume everyone is a thief until proven otherwise (that’s been going on in a low level form since at least the 70’s).

    Anyway, as I said, I am not a lawyer. Maybe the 4th applies, it’s not at all clear to me that it does. It would take years to work its way through the courts. Meanwhile, congress could defund TSA and DHS next year. It’d be a good idea to have the courts look at whether the activities were constitutional or not, regardless–a new congress or a new terrorist attack on an airplane could bring the whole mess back.

  2. As if it weren’t bad enough that we have people slavishly willing to give up their rights, we have the non-defense offered by our supposed champions on the conservative talk channels. I listened to one briefly today, who noted that this certainly seemed like a violation of the 4th Amendment. BUT, he noted, the “right to travel” is not one specifically given to us in the Constitution.

    So much for that dips**t’s understanding of the Constitution. But he’s one of our supposed champions….

  3. Daver, a private company certainly could legally do all the things the TSA is now doing. The fourth amendment is a restriction on GOVERNMENT. That’s why it applies to the TSA.

    A private company would be in competition with others. The government has no competition so must be restricted by the constitution in what they can or can not do.

    My opinion is that anybody thinking the TSA reasonable has lost their reason.

  4. It seems pretty clear that the TSA is doing nothing useful relating to airplane security. All it is doing is hassling and annoying passengers, and maybe exposing them to a couple orders of magnitude more X-rays than the government says it is. I agree that a private company could do that just as well (well, maybe not the X-ray bit–private companies could presumably have been stopped by a court order), and for a lot less money.

    The fourth amendment allows for reasonable search; if the result of not doing a reasonable search is considered to be an airplane crash and thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in damages then “reasonable” could get pretty invasive. It doesn’t really matter that you or I or Bruce Schneier might think that there’s not a chance that any of the steps the TSA has taken (outside of barricading the pilot door and informing the passengers that they’ll live longer if they don’t allow terrorists and hijackers to have their way)–what matters is what the courts decide (if the cases go to the courts), and courts have made bloody stupid decisions in the past.

  5. if the result of not doing a reasonable search is considered to be an airplane crash and thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in damages then “reasonable” could get pretty invasive.

    Yes, and that same justification could prevent everyone who isn’t politically connected to lose the ‘privilege’ of operating any vehicle what-so-ever. Or force all manufacturers to include an ignition interlock and chemical sensors to check for anything that might be part of a bomb. Oh, and let’s not forget a radiation detector. What else might make us ‘safer?’

    All we have to do is ignore people rights. Not just life, liberty and property, but all the infinity of others unenumerated because some bureaucrat can make the case that it adds to ‘safety.’

    The government is never burdened. Only people are.

    When making those justifications they will also ignore the reality that people are aware of dangers they weren’t generally before.

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