DHS Changes ‘Opt Out’ Rules at TSA Airport Security Checkpoints

By Paul Riegler on 22 December 2015
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Security checkpoint at JFK's Terminal 7 last month

Security checkpoint at JFK’s Terminal 7 last month

The U.S. government is changing the rules for opting out of imaging machine scans at the nation’s airports.

The Department of Homeland Security issued updated Advanced Imagery Technology protocols for the TSA to follow.

“TSA is updating the AIT PIA to reflect a change to the operating protocol regarding the ability of individuals to opt-out of the use of body scanners in favor of physical screening,” the DHS wrote in a Privacy Impact Assessment Update published last Friday. “While passengers may generally decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening, TSA may direct mandatory AIT screening for some passengers.”

The new language allows TSA clerks to insist that travelers use the scanners while, until recently, travelers were free to insist on a physical screening. The AIT machines have been controversial since their introduction due to privacy concerns and some evidence that showed that the scanners don’t do as effective a job as simple walk-through metal detectors.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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