The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Amy E. Ferrer, Associate Director - BORDC
(413) 582-0110

Civil Rights Coalition: TSA Violates Travelers' Rights


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.

Defending Rights & Dissent strengthens our participatory democracy by protecting the right to political expression. About the merger of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Defending Dissent Foundation In 2015, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) and the Defending Dissent Foundation agreed to merge to place both organizations and their respective supporters in an even stronger position to help restore constitutional rights eroded by executive agencies. While BORDC was established to fight the PATRIOT Act in the wake of its passage under the Bush administration, DDF was founded decades ago to fight the McCarthy-era witch hunt that targeted law-abiding Americans on the basis of their political beliefs. Both organizations are committed to popular constitutionalism, and work with grassroots Americans from all walks of life to help them raise their voices to confront the national security state.