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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Jun 2, 2015

We’ve all experienced the hassles of a busy airport, long lines, overbooked flights, and a giant facility full of very stressed travelers and airline employees. These can be tolerated for the sake of reaching your destination, whether it’s for business or pleasure, but with increasing safety and security issues, it’s important to know when a minor nuisance has turned into an invasion of your privacy or violation of your civil rights. Here’s a look at some common issues:.

Some airports have “Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques” (SPOT) program that subjects some passengers to questioning by “behavioral detection” officers.

Jet airplane in the sky with motion blur

You have the right to decline to answer questions or reply to each question politely with the simple words, “personal business.” However, if the TSA officer does not feel that you are answering his or her questions, they may select you for secondary screening.
Many airports now require passengers to go through a body scanner that uses advanced imaging technology. The scanners use “backscatter x-ray” or “millimeter wave” radiation to see through your clothes and create an electronic image of your naked body.

You can opt out of the scanner, and TSA agents are required to honor your request, but may pressure you to go through, anyway. At this point, be clear and say, “I opt out.” In this case, you will be subject to a pat down that may be more troubling to you than the scanner. .

If a patdown is required in order to complete screening:

  • The patdown should be conducted by an officer of the same gender, which may require you to wait for an officer to become available.
  • You can request a private screening at any time and a private screening should be offered when the officer must patdown sensitive areas. During a private screening, another officer will also be present and you can bring a companion of your choosing.
  • You may ask for a chair if you need to sit down.
  • You should inform an officer before the patdown begins of any difficulty raising your arms, remaining in the position required for a pat-down, or any areas of the body that are painful when touched.
  • You should not be asked to remove or lift any article of clothing to reveal a sensitive body area.

Airport security is a continually changing environment that has many issues. If you feel that your rights have been violated while traveling, speak to an experienced attorney today.