Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches, and seizures of his person, his houses, his papers, and all his possessions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or foundation of them be not previously supported by oath or affirmation; and if the order in the warrant to a civil officer, to make search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest, or seizure: and no warrant ought to be issued but in cases, and with the formalities, prescribed by the laws.-Fourth Amendment
There have been some rulings in regards to the 4th Amendment and air travel. At an international airport, a person and his belongings can be searched without probable cause. However, it must be done at random.
Also strip searches and cavity searches can only be made at airports if reasonable suspicion has been made.
What is reasonable? According to another Supreme court case, a person must know that the search will be private and according to society's standards, the search is reasonable (meaning it's obvious that a person could do harm).
Which begs the question are the back-scatter machines that basically look at a person underneath their clothing reasonable? And if a person chooses not to go through said machine are the pat-downs which involve a person running their hands up and down one's inner thigh reasonable as well?
Several people don't think so including John Tyner, a computer guy, and Michael Roberts, an airline pilot. They both refused the machines and the pat-downs. There's even been a call to boycott the machines and instead go through a pat-down on Nov. 24st, the busiest flying day of the year. Supposedly it's to send TSA the message that flyers will not use the machines. Since they don't have enough personnel, there's an expectation that it will hold up holiday travel if even a few people protest. The ACLU also has a web page in place to record complaints by passengers. The page specifies people who are transgendered (because they usually have someone of the same sex pat you down), the disabled, and those who are religious.
I agree that body scanners and the pat-downs are unreasonable. As Tyner says on his blog, since 9/11 all the terrorists' plots (the shoe bomber etc) have been stopped by passengers. He has also said that these people got on planes in other countries where security is loose (ie no metal detectors). So the idea that the TSA constantly ramping up it's security is helping stop terrorists' plots, is a joke.
Also funny is Michael Roberts who was in full pilot uniform with credentials out, was told by the TSA to go through the body scanner or the pat-down. It's more likely that Roberts could crash the plane he's operating rather than having a need to use an explosive device. TSA is really not using their head about that one. Although, I've read recently that TSA as of Friday has decided not to subject pilots to the AIT machines or the pat-downs.
Personally, I have no problem with the metal detectors even taking off my shoes or not bringing on liquids, but I will not be subjected to a body scan or pat-down. To me it's a violation of my right's and I'm a Christian woman. It's indecent. I've already told Hubby that I will not be subjected to these things. Not that I'm going on a plane any time soon.
People online have listed numerous other measures that are less revealing including infrared technology that can show unusual cold or hot spots without showing a persons genital's. Since the head of TSA also gets a kick back from the new scanners, it makes me even more suspicious about this being the best technology.
My in-laws will be flying out in January. And I hope for their sake, that the TSA will resolve this issue. Currently, they say you can opt out of the body scan as long as you take the pat down. They won't give you the option to go through the metal detector, which is ridiculous. Otherwise I can foresee a case being brought before the Supreme Court. And my poor in-laws, I hope that they don't have to decide which is worse, a person seeing you naked or a person rubbing up your thighs and your buttocks.
Since it seems that a large part of society deems these searches unreasonable, TSA needs to rethink whether it's violating the 4th Amendment and the Supreme Court rulings.