July 6, 2010
Civil Rights Coalition: TSA Violates Travelers' Rights
Amy E. Ferrer, Associate Director
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Washington, DC—Late last week, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), supported by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), filed a lawsuit in federal court, seeking an emergency stay of TSA's controversial airport body scanner program.
Arguing that the airport security program violates several federal laws and the Constitutional right to privacy, the coalition urges a federal appeals court to suspend the program.
"The TSA has disregarded virtually every law and constitutional principle that applies to the operation of the body scanner program. This lawsuit is critical to uphold the rule of law," said Chip Pitts, president of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee’s board of directors, and a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Marc Rotenberg, president of EPIC and lead counsel in the case, said the TSA program is "unlawful, invasive, and ineffective."
According to the coalition's filing, the TSA program violates the federal Privacy Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the Fourth Amendment, as the body scanners are highly invasive and are applied to all air travelers without any particular suspicion.
In an earlier a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit concerning the body scanner program, EPIC succeeded in obtaining government records revealing that the TSA required the devices to be able to store and record images of naked air travelers.
Taking note of that revelation, the coalition has also argued that the body scanner program, which makes it possible for TSA officials to observe air travelers stripped naked, violates the religious beliefs of some air travelers.
The case is EPIC, et al. v. DHS, et al., No. 10-1157. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, filed July 2, 2010.
Formed in 2001, The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) is a national non-profit grassroots organization. We defend the rule of law and rights and liberties challenged by overbroad national security and counter-terrorism policies. BORDC supports an ideologically, ethnically, geographically, and generationally diverse grassroots movement to protect and restore these principles by encouraging widespread civic participation; educating people about the significance of our rights; and cultivating grassroots networks to convert concern, outrage, and fear into debate and action. For more information, visit http://www.bordc.org or call (413) 582-0110.
- "In Emergency Appeal, EPIC Urges Court to Suspend TSA's Full Body Scanner Program"
- EPIC: Whole Body Imaging Technology