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Prompt public hearing apparently means "anytime in the next two years or so" if you're an activist judge

Apparently a law requiring a "prompt" public hearing equates to "anytime you feel like in roughly the next two years" according to a U.S. Federal Appeals Court -- or at least when national security is supposedly involved.

Following a lawsuit by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which alleged that the U.S. Transportation Safety Agency's "nude" full-body scanners had been used and abused and were unable to detect dangerous materials as well as metal detectors or traditional search techniquesU.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found the TSA violated a federal transparency law.

The court on July 15, 2011 ordered the TSA "to act properly" and rectify its breach of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) of 1946, which requires federal programs to hold 90-day public comment periods, complete with public hearings.  The TSA held no such hearings with regards to the court scanners, so three judge appellate panel ordered the agency [PDF] to "promptly" hold its missed 90-day public comment period.

The TSA responded by doing nothing, and when the court in a short ruling [PDF] in August reiterated its request for compliance with the law, the TSA griped that the deadline was too restrictive.

Body scanner images
The TSA has defied a court order to hold a public review its "nude" full-body scanners.
[Image Source: TSA]

Inexplicably, the federal court reversed its previous ruling, telling the TSA that it now had until March to comply in a new ruling [PDF].  That means the TSA will get roughly a 20-month window to hold a "prompt" public hearing, raising eyebrows of the court's activist interpretation of the APA, a law which clearly states that the comment period must be held before federal programs go into place.

In bending over to the TSA, the court argued that penalizing the controversial agency would hurt America's ability to respond to "ever-evolving threats".  File this as another example of America's politicians and judges arguing that the need for security outweighs the need for freedom, transparency, and democratic process.

Source: Epic



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TSA is worthless
By Nutzo on 9/27/2012 11:28:05 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
In bending over to the TSA, the court argued that penalizing the controversial agency would hurt America's ability to respond to "ever-evolving threats". File this as another example of America's politicians and judges arguing that the need for security outweighs the need for freedom, transparency, and democratic process.


The problem with the TSA is that it's not about real security, but just the illusion of security. The EU even banned the "backscatter" scanners as a health risk, but the TSA continues to buy and install more of them.

If you don't want to deal with the long term cancer risk and opt out of going through the scanner, then they will make an example of you with an extended groping.

Until some common sense returns to airport security I will NOT be flying. Instead of flying across the country or overseas we have switched to driving vacations.




RE: TSA is worthless
By ClownPuncher on 9/27/2012 11:41:58 AM , Rating: 3
Same here. I will not board a plane unless required by my job these days.


RE: TSA is worthless
By Samus on 9/27/2012 1:27:54 PM , Rating: 2
My wife and I were traveling earlier this year while she was 4 months pregnant and refused the body scanner because of their prenatal health concerns and the TSA didn't put up a fight at all, just had a female officer pat her down. I (and other people in line) got the same idea and didn't want to walk through the scanner, so they just patted the "troublemakers" down without a problem.

This is how it should be. Studies have proven a physical pat-down + metal detector sweep is MORE effective than a body scanner. It doesn't take any more time either, have you seen how long it takes to those body scanners to calibrate?


RE: TSA is worthless
By NullSubroutine on 9/27/2012 11:56:24 AM , Rating: 2
First off, you don't have to go through a body scanner. You can go through the standard metal detector or have a pat down.

Secondly, I cannot speak for every airport in the country but the TSA has pretty much gone away from these types of body scanners and replaced them with "cookie cutter people and boxes" with screens that show the passenger exactly what the operator see soon as they exit the machine. The TSA personnel in these models simply see a gingerbread man with the computer placing boxes around areas of "anomalies". (leaving another TSA to search those areas for anything out of ordinary with a patdown)

The only thing to be concerned about in terms of privacy is if these newer models is if they save the original image like some of the older models. Regular TSA won't have access to them though, only the few people who do maintenance on them. But that would be important to know.

Finally, I won't ever use a scanner whether x-ray back-scatter or MM wave. These types of equipment is normally required to go under FDA trials to prove there is no health risks associated with their use. However the Department of Homeland Security said these were not "medical" devices but were "security" devices so the FDA had no jurisdiction and DHS simply said "we don't have to prove they are safe, we just have to show there is no evidence they arent safe". Which is BS. Saying you won't do safety testing then turn around and saying there are no tests showing it isnt safe...well that's BS.


RE: TSA is worthless
By tamalero on 9/27/2012 12:23:18 PM , Rating: 2
the patdown takes a lot of time.. and trust me.. some of these agents are either virgin or being pervs.

most of the times, its a quick patdown, but once I had a huge long ass patdown that was annoying as hell.


RE: TSA is worthless
By ritualm on 9/27/2012 1:15:02 PM , Rating: 4
Security theater.

Israel's Ben-Gurion airport does it n+1 better than anything TSA can come up with since inception.


RE: TSA is worthless
By theapparition on 9/27/2012 3:11:33 PM , Rating: 2
I agree 100%.

However, that would never fly in this country due to what they do in Israel is profiling. It's safe, proven to be one of the most effective means, and yet people here would never submit to being questioned.

Not to mention logistics. We have more airline traffic in some US airports than all of Israel combined.


RE: TSA is worthless
By Samus on 9/27/2012 11:32:55 PM , Rating: 2
TSA doesn't hire intelligent enough people to pull off what Ben-Gurion requires.


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