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Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Way To Deal With Roving TSA Teams?

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the tip-well dept.

Government 1059

An anonymous reader writes "I live in Boston, and I have noticed the TSA performs random security checks at the Copley T (subway station) and other locations. I routinely travel with a laptop, iPhone, and other gadgetry. What are my rights when asked by one of the TSA agents to 'come over here'? Can I say no and proceed with my private business? What if a police officer says that I 'must go over there and cooperate'? Can I decline or ask for a warrant? Like the majority of the population, I turn into an absolute shrinking violet when pressured by intimidating authority, but I struggle with what I see to be blatant social devolution. Has anybody out there actually responded rationally, without complying? What were your experiences?"

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Just keep calm... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615390)

Turn around and RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!! Or maybe you can duck and cover... It's up to you...

Re:Just keep calm... (5, Informative)

solafide (845228) | about 3 years ago | (#38615582)

Re:Just keep calm... (-1, Offtopic)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 3 years ago | (#38615730)

From the same link:

Through a cooperative partnership with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), TSA personnel assist us at some of the inspection sites. There [sic; emphasis mine] authority to assist is derived from 49 U.S.C. Â 114(d). Pub.L. 107-71

Ah, I see English education is alive and well in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The same school system that taught me American history through just before, but not including, the Civil War. (Really. Although said history teacher was later fired about a decade later for unrelated reasons. So there's that?)

Two history classes ... (0, Offtopic)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#38615848)

FWIW it is not uncommon to have US history cover two classes. The Civil War is often the point that separates the two classes, there is nothing strange about it being the starting point for the second class.

Re:Just keep calm... (5, Interesting)

solafide (845228) | about 3 years ago | (#38615806)

I believe it is entirely within one's rights to stand outside the station protesting, perhaps with your portable 4th Amendment sign; and as a Boston resident, I think I'll be carrying around such a sign when I ride the subway in the future.

What rights? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615394)

Unless I'm mistaken, you don't have rights anymore. If the TSA thinks you're a terrorist based on your evasiveness and defiance they can detain you indefinitely.

Re:What rights? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615448)

Didn't a hopeful president just sign bill to this effect?

Re:What rights? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615550)

He signed a bill to that effect with a signing statement that even if the bill wasn't there, he has the right as commander in chief to commit treason by committing acts of war against fellow Americans.

The previous president said something along the same lines.

You have no rights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615398)

As far as they are concerned, you have no rights.

Well... (4, Funny)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 3 years ago | (#38615400)

Seeing as they just passed a defence bill allowing indefinite detention without trial for suspected terrorists, for now I would just go with it.

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 3 years ago | (#38615596)

Edmund Burke said all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615692)

Edmund Burke said all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Yeah but fighting back against police or TSA agents isn't the thing that needs done. The thing to do is to convince our Congressmen that we actually care about civil rights more than protection from terrorists. Fight the stupid laws not the people paid to enforce them

Re:Well... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 3 years ago | (#38615776)

True dat, just remember the TSA employees pedos (real ones, not some minor SO), abusers, and other criminals, those people can be a little difficult to deal with at times. Nobody in their right mind would want such a job to harass people.

Re:Well... (0)

PerlJedi (2406408) | about 3 years ago | (#38615760)

I agree, and I like your signature line.
I thought I'd provide a reference:
When good men do nothing [wikipedia.org]

Are you rich? Is your dad a senator? (5, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | about 3 years ago | (#38615406)

If the answer to either of those questions is "No", then you better do what they tell you.

Sure, they're violating your rights. But in the United States, you have no recourse except to go to court. Which will costs LOTS of money. More than you have, probably. And don't forget that the cops and TSA will make your life hell while the case slowly progresses.

This country is so fucked.

Re:Are you rich? Is your dad a senator? (5, Insightful)

WastedMeat (1103369) | about 3 years ago | (#38615570)

Being able to go to court isn't even a guarantee anymore.

Re:Are you rich? Is your dad a senator? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615586)

What rights are being violated exactly?

Re:Are you rich? Is your dad a senator? (5, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 years ago | (#38615620)

What rights are being violated exactly?

We can start with the 4th Amendment and go from there.

Re:Are you rich? Is your dad a senator? (4, Insightful)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | about 3 years ago | (#38615740)

Devil's advocate, and one of the reasons I think the constitution needs an updating for the modern age. Sadly, I'm afraid to let people currently in charge do such a rewrite.

4th amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizures. It says nothing about not letting you on said mode of public transportation that is technically merely subsidized, and thus faux-public, that you need to go to work. You can invoke your fourth, but don't expect to be getting to work on time.

The letter is upheld, the spirit isn't.

Re:Are you rich? Is your dad a senator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615754)

Read it [boardingarea.com] and weep, motherfucker. Your precious two party system is letting you be fucked for decades now.
Obama 2012!!!!

Re:Are you rich? Is your dad a senator? (2)

outsider007 (115534) | about 3 years ago | (#38615798)

Also isn't there a right to bear explosives?

Re:Are you rich? Is your dad a senator? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615790)

The freedom to travel freely with out undue restriction is a corner stone to the idea of a free world...

Per the UN Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

        (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
        (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

In Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

        (1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.
        (2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.
        (3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.
        (4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

From US code you have: Corfield v. Coryell, and Paul v. Virginia among others.

If a person can not freely move with in their own country then they may (can) not engaged in other activities seen as being part of a free society. Making a petition of grievance at city hall is once such example. With out freedom of movement I can not be guaranteed that I would be able to make to city hall to file said hypothetical grievance, Then there are rights to life and property. If I'm sick I have a right to seek medical attention at a clinic or hospital of my choosing. With out the ability to freely travel there I can not receive the treatment I need.

With out the freedom to move, we are forced to stay put. In effect our homes would become a jail. If you can't see that as tyranny then your ether a fool, or a dangerous idiot.

Re:Are you rich? Is your dad a senator? (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 years ago | (#38615652)

your comment needs modification in a post NDAA United States (habeus corpus has been revoked)

-But in the United States, you may or have no recourse except to go to court.
+But in the United States, you may or may not have the recourse of going to court.

Once Senator Palpatine's bill is passed [govtrack.us] they'll be able to revoke your citizenship and throw you in Gitmo (or a domestic camp) as well.

Re:Are you rich? Is your dad a senator? (2)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | about 3 years ago | (#38615808)

Reminds me of a court case in my Media Law class in college.

Judge tries to issue an UK style super-injunction on a case. I forget which one. The press are allowed in, but no one is allowed to mention anything that goes on in the court. Local paper reports that the Judge is trying this tactic. He holds reporters in contempt. It goes to court.

The ruling we were taught was this: The judge's actions were deemed unconstitutional, but the reporters were still liable to be in contempt. They still disobeyed a judge's orders and did not fight them thought he proper channels.

I'll come out and say it. I went to Penn State. Maybe this in part explains the whole Sandusky thing.

Re:Are you rich? Is your dad a senator? (5, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 3 years ago | (#38615822)

I just can't help thinking, Osama (assuming he's dead) is laughing in his grave so f'in hardddddd right now.

Before You Talk To Them, Call This Number (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615410)

1-800-STO-PTSA [youtube.com]

I hope this helps your resistance to fascism.

Yours In Ulanbator,
K. Trout, C.I.O.

Don't Ask Slashdot, Ask the EFF (5, Informative)

spopepro (1302967) | about 3 years ago | (#38615416)

While it might not be exactly your situation, you can probably find 90% of what you need from the EFF. [eff.org] If you need more specific information, you will probably need to ask real counsel.

just cooperate (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615418)

no need to get into trouble

Re:just cooperate (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615522)

Yeah, if only our founding fathers had thought that.

Re:just cooperate (5, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | about 3 years ago | (#38615530)

Everyone needs to stand up for their civil rights, or no will have any civil rights anymore. The TSA thinks they're above the law, above the Bill of Rights, and they have to be proven wrong. That, and the TSA needs to be dismantled. If they're "expanding" into non-airport-related areas (train stations, bus stations, docks), how long does anyone think it'll be before they start performing traffic stops at random and committing search-and-seizure without a warrant "because they thought you acted/looked/smelled like a terrorist"?

Re:just cooperate (0)

Rakishi (759894) | about 3 years ago | (#38615702)

You can go and man the barricades; become a martyr. Have fun. Personally, I'm going to make sure my ass survives. A few years ago I might have agreed with you but now? Well, no one really gives a damn to be frank and those in power won't care even if people did give a damn. Making a stand means nothing when not only does no one else put up a stand but quiet a few cheer on as you get dragged away.

Re:just cooperate (5, Insightful)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 3 years ago | (#38615784)

I'd rather my son know that I died for a reason than teach him to be a slave coward.

Re:just cooperate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615850)

chances are they will come disappear him too, just in case he was wrongfully indoctrinated by his low-life, criminal, terrorist father.

Re:just cooperate (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 years ago | (#38615558)

no need to get into trouble

I love that this was posted by AC.

Re:just cooperate (2)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 3 years ago | (#38615568)

no need to get into trouble

And this is as much a problem as the overreach of authority by law enforcement.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. " - Ronald Reagan

Re:just cooperate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615632)

no need to get into trouble

No kidding, the person posting the question seems to have his tinfoil wrapped too tightly.

He has a laptop and a smartphone, like that is not an ordinary every day occurrence that draws no interest, except possibly from thieves. The roving teams most likely just want to look in his bag/pack. Nothing looks ilke a block of C4 with a detonator attached, thank you have a nice day.

Re:just cooperate (1)

mhajicek (1582795) | about 3 years ago | (#38615670)

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Re:just cooperate (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 3 years ago | (#38615756)

FUCK THAT! They have no right to treat people like this. It's criminal and unconstitutional. Travel is a right, NOT a privelege.

Be scared (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615438)

Considering Obama signed the law which allows indefinite detention without due process, you are correct at being intimidated.

Bureaucrats Not Officers (3, Insightful)

webjedi (106085) | about 3 years ago | (#38615442)

Unless they are carrying a weapon and a REAL badge, you can probably tell them to fly a kite (especially if it's not a standard gateway procedure such as those as airports)... not sure how that'd stand up under scrutiny... but, they aren't "officers of the law" unless they ARE "officers"... very few of them if any are actually LE...

Good luck!

Re:Bureaucrats Not Officers (4, Insightful)

brasscount (805811) | about 3 years ago | (#38615732)

Is there a difference anymore? Do they have enforcement authority? Half of the regulators have some sort of enforcement authority that they self-authorized in the federal register. Don't cooperate, let them do whatever they're going to do, and when they don't find anything, sue for false imprisonment. There is an ambulance chaser somewhere interested in making a buck...

What are you hiding? (3, Funny)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 3 years ago | (#38615444)

Why would you want to avoid the TSA? What are you hiding?

You must be a criminal!

Re:What are you hiding? (4, Funny)

mombodog (920359) | about 3 years ago | (#38615724)

I'm Innocent!

TSA:Innocent of what?

Re:What are you hiding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615778)

Worse, a terrorist!
No, even worse, you're one of the occupy people!
No, even WORSE, you downloaded a MP3 file!

just tell them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615460)

"Go Fuck Yourself" all the conspiracy theorists are right, this is a loss of constitutional rights. now the gov can lock anyone up indefinitely at a whim without probable cause, those FEMA camps being set up all over the USA, the US Gov is the second beast of Revelation Chapter 13, so i fully expect god himself to destroy this nation soon http://wrightworld.net/secondbeastofrevelation13.htm [wrightworld.net]

I did not believe it myself, but this is too much to be a coincidence. it is all falling in to place just like both the bible and conspiracy theorists speculate.

Re:just tell them (1)

gottspeed (2060872) | about 3 years ago | (#38615800)

Conspiracy theorists right? I prefer to think of it as all the Coincidence Theorists being wrong.

Best way... (5, Insightful)

JockTroll (996521) | about 3 years ago | (#38615462)

... Dress sharply at all times, and keep a business-like posture and demeanour. Playing bully with a peon is safe enough, but harassing an (apparently) wealthy and influent person is a career-destroying move. You don't mess with the Ruling Elite, so might as well camouflage as one.

Re:Best way... (3, Insightful)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 3 years ago | (#38615716)

Wealthy and influential persons don't ride the subway. I think even the the TSA knows that.

TSA are not officers. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615468)

TSA agents are NOT law enforcement, even if they pretend to be. They do not have legal authority to arrest you.
Recently, a bill was proposed to prevent the TSA from wearing badges, or otherwise dressing like real cops. Hopefully this passes.

Re:TSA are not officers. (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#38615714)

That's something I wish more people understood. TSA does not have the legal rights that law enforcement officers have, and that includes conducting searches and detaining people. Of course the courts tend to be somewhat squeamish telling the executive branch that they can't do whatever they want, but the reality is that TSA has no more authority to operate than any other group of private security officers.

One more reason to bicycle... (3, Informative)

kjcole (781817) | about 3 years ago | (#38615480)

In Washington, DC, you can refuse to allow inspection of your bags when entering the subway, but then you will be turned away need to find alternative transportation, and *may* be followed. (I don't recall if they *always* follow or not.)

Re:One more reason to bicycle... (5, Interesting)

nbauman (624611) | about 3 years ago | (#38615662)

That was the situation in New York City.

You could refuse to allow inspection, but you can't go onto the subway at that entrance.

It seemed to me that it would be possible to leave the subway, and walk down the street to another entrance of the same subway stop. Since the inspections are random spot-checks anyway, they're unlikely to select the same person twice. (Unless you have a beard or are carrying something in Arabic, or just look different.)

There was a college student in New York who let the cops search his bags, and they found a copy of the New York Review of Books, with a cover story, "Jihad." They took him to the station and kept him there most of the day, until somebody realized how ridiculous it was.

The advice I got repeatedly from lawyers was, "Never consent to a search."

Don't confuse things with a customs inspection (2)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#38615764)

In Washington, DC, you can refuse to allow inspection of your bags when entering the subway, but then you will be turned away need to find alternative transportation, and *may* be followed. (I don't recall if they *always* follow or not.)

Keep in mind that inspecting your bag means looking at what is inside, in "plain sight" so to speak. They aren't going to be intrusively poking around at the files on your laptop or smartphone.

There seems to be a misunderstanding and exaggeration due to what can happen when entering the US and undergoing a customs inspection. Customs can look at the files, they have the authority to search for contraband, just as they do when they open packages and other sealed/closed items. However this is a very special circumstance involving crossing the US border. These intrusive type of searches can not happen once inside the US without a warrant.

Here's what you say (4, Informative)

Myopic (18616) | about 3 years ago | (#38615482)

  1. Officer, and I required to come with you? (He might say yes, but I suspect lawyers would tell you no.)
  2. Officer, am I under arrest? (And of course, no, you are not under arrest.)
  3. Officer, am I free to go? (This is interesting. My understanding is that yes, you are free to go if you are not under arrest, but that's hardly how the police often see it.)
  4. If you aren't walking away by this point, all you need to say is, I'd like to remain silent, please appoint me a lawyer or let me go. And then, of course, you must actually remain silent until you are either sitting in front of your lawyer, or until you are out of earshot of the police.

If the police were confronted by this 90% er 50% more like as little as 10% of the time, it would be such a gigantic waste of their resources that they'd stop violating your rights.

Re:Here's what you say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615588)

My understanding of the recent case law is that you may also be required to identify yourself (by name; I don't think we're yet at the "papers please" stage). I would also try to stall the "am I under arrest question" for a few minutes.

Re:Here's what you say (5, Insightful)

sauge (930823) | about 3 years ago | (#38615638)

An officer may not have made an arrest, but the officer still has a right to detain you. Law classes are worth the money - even undergraduate ones. In fact, there should be civil rights classes in these universities. Of course, perhaps they won't like the outcome of students educated in the law....

Re:Here's what you say (4, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 years ago | (#38615656)

Officer, am I under arrest?

Answer: Only if you dont let us search you.

Ask Slashdot? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 3 years ago | (#38615486)

Perhaps you should talk to a lawyer, or the ACLU, or the EFF?

Re:Ask Slashdot? (5, Funny)

Attack DAWWG (997171) | about 3 years ago | (#38615562)

No no NO! What are you talking about? Slashdot has the best armchair lawyers on earth.

Re:Ask Slashdot? (1)

beck24 (1772278) | about 3 years ago | (#38615770)

Palm trees and 8! I was stuck on that forever...

Maybe you should be asking the ACLU? (5, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#38615490)

You know where they have lawyers and actually might know more than the random crap you'll get here.

What is wrong with you? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615494)

Like the majority of the population, I turn into an absolute shrinking violet when pressured by intimidating authority

Maybe like the majority of your friends who have to ask the Internet what to do when approached by another person.

Has anybody out there actually responded rationally, without complying? What were your experiences?
Here's your answer, pansy. Last time this happened to me, I calmy unsheathed my hanzo steel while muttering sadly to myself, decapitated the barbarian gaijan weakling who dared confront my superior knowledge of glorious Nippon, and walked calmly away. At that point, the kawaiiest girl in the station, who previously had solidly friend zoned me because I am a NICE GUY, unlike those uncouth jock hairy chest asshole she prefers, realized that I was the one for her and we strolled of towards the next flight to glorious Nippon, whereupon she served me tea in a kimono.

a art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615610)

fucking this ^^^

Re:What is wrong with you? (1)

brasscount (805811) | about 3 years ago | (#38615628)

I for one bow to our new Nipponese Ninja Assassin Overlords... Can't be any worse than bowing to agents of our own bureaucracy.

"I do not consent to a search." (5, Informative)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 3 years ago | (#38615512)

"Why are you detaining me?"
"Am I under arrest?"
"Am I free to go?"

Re:"I do not consent to a search." (5, Insightful)

ethan0 (746390) | about 3 years ago | (#38615622)

"I do not consent to a search."

"Why are you detaining "Why are you detaining me?"

"Am I under arrest?"

"Am I free to go?"

that first one is really important and may be overlooked due to hiding in the subject line (I do not understand the tendency of people here to start typing in the subject and then continue in the body)

Re:"I do not consent to a search." (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615666)

I'm from Canada and .. to be honest, I've SEEN videos of these questions - I assume the police/TSA have too... I'd be VERY suspect if you started into that.
  Why not ask 50 questions and be so pleasant they can't handle you? Like Mr. Rodgers on steroids.

  "Why hello officer! How are you today? Made a lot of arrests today??"
  "Have you ever tried that little restaurant on 5th street?"
  "How long have you been on the job? Really? You must have shot or tazed a lot of people by now!!!" (Even if they respond "its my first day..." )
  "Do you find lots of crazies down here in the subway? I saw a guy wearing a paper bag with eye holes cut out earlier this week.. did you catch him?"
  "How drunk was the drunkest guy you've ever arrested? Do you think YOU'VE ever been that drunk? Oh come on, you can tell me, I won't tell anyone.."

  Continue to ask the stupidest questions you can think of, VERY LOUDLY, drawing lots of attention to yourself and the situation. They'll either think you're nuts and arrest you, ... Since you're clearly not a terrorist -- and were being quite nice, but loud, with plenty of witnesses, you should be fine. right?

Re:"I do not consent to a search." (3, Funny)

squidflakes (905524) | about 3 years ago | (#38615792)

My god.... The Canadian Defense has been explained! I hope you realize what you've just unleashed on the world sir.

Re:"I do not consent to a search." (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#38615774)

It's the TSA, they don't have the legal right to detain or arrest people except under the same ones that you or I can. Basically unless your activity falls into whatever qualifies one to make a citzen's arrest they can't legally detain you.

Any effort on their part to detain is a felony and at least on paper they can be sent to prison for it. TSA agents are just private security and they have no more rights than ordinary private security has.

the advantage of dealing with police (5, Informative)

holophrastic (221104) | about 3 years ago | (#38615534)

When it comes to police in most civilized societies, you get to have a very simple dialogue. You can say: "I refuse to volunteer for any such [delay]; but if you order me to do so, I will comply with any order you give."

If you don't volunteer, and you make that an official statement, then the officer needs to decide to make it an order. They aren't allowed to give illegal orders. If they do, you still must comply with it at the time, and without hesitation, but you can fight that later in court.

Basically, it puts everyone on the their best behaviour. If you aren't happy with what winds up happening, and you later discover that they weren't permitted to do so, then you can easily fight it after the fact.

Just remember two things: a) police are allowed to trick you into volunteering, or even kind of volunteering. So make sure you hear the word "order". b) police can be nice and legal, nice and illegal, or mean and legal. Be sure you know what you're risking.

Re:the advantage of dealing with police (5, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | about 3 years ago | (#38615594)

When it comes to police in most civilized societies

You do realize that Boston (mentioned in TFS) is within the USofA, right?

Re:the advantage of dealing with police (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615718)

So if police illegally order you to do something catastrophically harmful, you must comply? Fuck that.

Police abuse their power to such a ridiculous degree these days that I think it's high time people start defending themselves, with deadly force if they are wrongly confronted with same force. Police seem to be taking the stance that it's better to kill an innocent person than to risk a lawsuit.

Sigh. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615540)

I miss the days when /. provided useful information, not just snark and teenage fantasy.

It's a mess (2)

Jawnn (445279) | about 3 years ago | (#38615542)

You _should_ be able to extend you middle finger and walk away (as in out of the station/terminal) and on your merrily private, on-foot way, if you object to warrantless searches. If you wish to ride the train/plain/bus/ whatever, bend over and relax. If you don't like _that_, stop voting for legislators who stomp on your civil rights. That goes for both parties, because 10 years down the road, The Patriot Act is still "law".
Oh, my experience? A while back, I was flying somewhere, with a recently repaired shoulder injury. Having been selected for "random screening" I was asked to partially disrobe. When I explained that that would be difficult for me, and before I could finish my sentence with "...because my shoulder is still just stitched together...", the self-important glorified rent-a-cop immediately went into power-trip mode and demanded to know if I was "...refusing to comply with a lawful request...". So my experience is pretty much like that of hundreds of other travelers every day, especially if they look, you know, like terrorists.

Question them back. (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | about 3 years ago | (#38615546)

Ask for documentation/proof of their "right" and your requirement for compliance. Refuse in the meantime. Think of it like them asking for your ID. You're not required to have it, they can ask for it and they will pressure you until hell breaks loose. But it's not required. At least not where I am.

As previous article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615552)

Clearly the proper solution is to open your box of genetically tamperred super-soldier fire-ants and then run. The TSA will be too busy responding to the swarm of venomous ants to chase you down and ask if you paid for that Justin Beiber mp3 in your playlist.

I had no idea the TSA was doing random checks (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about 3 years ago | (#38615572)

I thought the US was turning into a police state, but I didn't realize the TSA gestapo were wandering the subways and accosting people at random.

I weep for the America that once was.

You don't have to comply but... (2)

CaptBubba (696284) | about 3 years ago | (#38615604)

At least in the DC Metro you don't have to submit to anything but you can be asked to leave the subway system. That's the legal "thinking" that allows the searches to occur because that way they are "voluntary". The really stupid bit is that you are perfectly free to then walk outside and board a bus or walk down to another station and get on the subway there, where the odds of another TSA goon is pretty low (I'm not familiar with how close the stations are in Boston but in DC walking between stations is pretty easy).

You just say no, and then ask to leave. They may ask you for your ID so you should know if you are legally required to give it (in NY you are). Of course don't be shocked then when they search you for "acting suspicious" but at that point you should contact the ACLU because they likely would love to hear about it.

Re:You don't have to comply but... (1)

solafide (845228) | about 3 years ago | (#38615748)

In Boston, there is no need to identify yourself.

No (1, Insightful)

ZouPrime (460611) | about 3 years ago | (#38615624)

"Like the majority of the population, I turn into an absolute shrinking violet when pressured by intimidating authority, but I struggle with what I see to be blatant social devolution."

No. You're not like "the majority of the population": you have a problem with authority, while most people don't. The TSA is completely useless, and their presence is a sad statement of what the US has become, but it doesn't mean that personally complying to a TSA control is some kind of horrible event that you should struggle with and go out of your way to avoid.

You want to resist them as some form of political statement? I then encourage you, as this is necessary for things to change. But don't confuse this with protecting your bruised ego. There are plenty of times in your life you'll face "intimidating authority", and in most of these occasions, this authority will be legitimate, and will have a good reason to act so. Learning to cope with such personal feelings is important for your own psychological health.

Unfortunately (0)

nimbius (983462) | about 3 years ago | (#38615634)

The easiest way is often the most frustrating. Just comply. Most TSA and Police are just there to enforce rules and regulations established and defined by bureaucrats in the department of homeland security anyhow. Keep your conversation minimal: Hello, yes, no, and thank you will get you through the process quickly and efficiently without many problems because frankly, these people hate doing this as much as you hate submitting to it. just like you, they have no real control over much of the process either. they just dont want to get barked at by the sergeant or liutenant for their shift if they dont do their job.

Do however take precautions such as encrypting your laptop and limiting gadgetry to necessities only. take note of your surroundings, the questions asked, the demeanor and names/ranks of the officers and the state of the station you're in. file FOIA requests to the government to determine who sees this data about you and how they use it; knowledge is power. Write to congress and your local government in protest of your treatment as you live in the United States, not City 17. Feel free to organize protests or drive a petition to get this behavior stopped, as these are your rights as a citizen of this country. Barring all else, discontinue your general participation in what amounts to baseless search and seisure. Move closer to work, take cabs, walk or ride a bicycle.

Hmm (5, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about 3 years ago | (#38615640)

To fight the TSA requires any number of resources in your favor: time, money, influence, or numbers.

Perhaps the easiest way to fight this particular group is by pulling a SEP -> someone else's problem. Attend a city council meeting, and move that the local Boston Police Department have its budget slashed, reasoning that since the TSA is doing their job, the city no longer needs to pay for benefits that the Boston PD is not providing. 3 possibilities are likely -> 1.) the city council will squash the movement (but doing so will draw attention to your plight, and paint the current politicians as being in bed with the TSA -> not a good place to be when the TSA is chafing potential voters), 2.) the city will cut Boston PD's budget (at which point the Boston PD will have to make a tough choice of pissing off the populace because of a pay cut, or letting it slide), or 3.) the Boston PD will become wise to the situation, and take out a jurisdictional grievance against the TSA (they get to keep their budget, remove some competition, and look like the heroes -> kid gloves from the officers reassigned to the public transit beat, something of a junket for the officers concerned as it may be 'easy' compared to other patrols).

This is how you handle problems that you do not have the resources to fight properly -> get someone who has the proper resources to do the fighting for you. It helps if you appeal to this person's / group's best interest in a truthful, sincere way (the untruthful / insincere stuff tends to fall apart before a victory).

And yes, given the Amtrak PD's response to various TSA shenanigans, it has a precedent. And the danger to the Boston PD (or whoever patrolled that beat prior to the TSA) is quite real; you don't want a generation of Bostonians growing up thinking that it takes a guy in tactical gear with a SMG to keep public transportation safe; once they do, the original patrollers will never get that beat back (loss of territory),

Rights? You have no rights. (4, Insightful)

Wee (17189) | about 3 years ago | (#38615644)

There's no point in asking what rights you have, because you have none. You can't even photograph public buildings with that iPhone, much less prevent a goon too dumb to get a job as a mall security guard from seizing it, no matter how much or how loudly you protest. And if you cause enough stink, the TSA meatheads will get an actual cop to come over and give you grief. If they want to badly enough, they can now, thanks to President Obama, detain you indefinitely if they so choose. Even confessing to whatever they think you might well do at some point in the future may not get your released. You won't be allowed to talk to anyone about it, either -- not even a lawyer. And even when (if) you are let go, don't talk about it or they can jug your once again.

For those not counting, the Federal government has in this one encounter wiped its collective ass with the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and (probably) 9th Amendments, as well as pissing on the grave of habeas corpus.

Have a nice day.


You have the Rights that you will fight for. (5, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | about 3 years ago | (#38615826)

There will always be someone who wants to take away your Rights.

The question is, to what extent are you willing to fight for your Rights?

Remember, our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence knowing that their signatures would be used to justify their execution if they lost the fight for their liberty.

What are we willing to risk to defend our Rights?

Complicated Subject (1)

pryoplasm (809342) | about 3 years ago | (#38615654)

The simple response is two questions.

Am I being detained?

Am I free to go?

A more correct response will require some study case law, current events and the laws that are recently passed. Be respectful without being walked all over.

From the MBTA's website (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615660)

You can choose to leave, but then you can't ride. That's your course of action. Thankfully since it is the mbta, there is usually another stop fairly close by, especially downtown.

The MBTA has been conducting random security inspections regularly since October 2006. Passengers are selected on a random basis through the use of a computer generated sequence of numbers. These inspections involve the brushing, with a swab, of the exterior of a carry-on. This swab is then placed in explosive trace detection equipment. The entire process should take approximately 10-20 seconds if no positive reading occurs. There are notices posted at the entrance to the station that the inspection is in progress. A passenger may choose not to be inspected but then is prohibited from riding on the MBTA. Through a cooperative partnership with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), TSA personnel assist us at some of the inspection sites. There authority to assist is derived from 49 U.S.C. 114(d). Pub.L. 107-71 (Full Text -.pdf)


Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615668)

Why are the Tenant Services Authority stopping and searching people?

Get informed Americans (1)

gottspeed (2060872) | about 3 years ago | (#38615672)

Everybody should check out the documentary called "Thrive". It does a pretty good job of laying out just how facist, abusive, and flat out dangerous your government is right now, it being controlled by the men at the top of the banks. (Who decided they had enough money a while ago and decided to take over the earth for shits and giggles). The time to wake up is now, seriously, humanity itself is in danger. Who do you think will do it for you? The fairy fuckin' god-mother?

What Not To Say (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 3 years ago | (#38615690)

"Papers? Ummm.. I think I left those at home today...."

Full Employment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615694)

As military personnel return from Iraq, TSA needs to expand to employ them.
If we can quickly grow the number of TSA employees, there will be no unemployment
problem by next November.

The next time you are subjected to a search, remember that you are doing your
civic duty and contributing to full employment of people who have absolutely no
useful skills.

My own recent experience at the airport... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615696)

I told the TSA employee that I wanted to opt out of the body scanner, and he asked why. My response: "I don't like the machine." His response: "Good answer." Then I was fondled with blue gloves by another TSA employee as expected.

I've also noticed that when they have the second group of TSA agents at the gate, it pays to not establish eye contact with them. The one time that I did, I was pulled aside and frisked, as well as having my backpack and sandwich inspected. The same eye avoidance technique may help in subways and other non-airport scenarios, who knows... it's only one anecdotal data point.

Call 911 (5, Interesting)

VoidEngineer (633446) | about 3 years ago | (#38615704)

Call 911, and ask that they send police to the location immediately. Report that you suspect a person or a group of people impersonating the TSA, and that you suspect a fraud or mugging is about to occur.

For Me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615768)

For me it went something like "Don't taze me, bro!"

The TSA Are Not Officers (5, Interesting)

nick_davison (217681) | about 3 years ago | (#38615780)

The first thing to remember is the TSA are not officers of the law. This isn't my opinion, this is something making its way thought the senate at the moment:

"Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the lead sponsor of the Stop TSA's Reach in Policy (STRIP) Act, said that TSA has essentially allowed its airport screeners to play dress-up by giving them metal badges and police-like uniforms in recent years. But she said many airport screeners have no "officer" qualifications, and should have this title removed." source [thehill.com]

They've had the ability to abuse rights, previously, because they've had you in confined situations where you've already had certain rights removed. The two most obvious examples being:

You'd like to get on that plane you've already paid a lot of money to travel on? Then, whether you like what we're doing or not, you have to pass through us to get to it. Plus, you've already entered in to a secure screening area. Declining our searches and simply choosing to leave means you violate the security protections and are subject to a $10,000 fine.

You're not on US soil. Until you've passed through customs, you're in magical land where we deny you're actually on US soil and as such have zero consititutional rights. We'd like your phone and laptop to take a copy of all data on it? You have no fourth amendment here, hand it over.

Yes, it's true that the government has basically torn up the constitution in the last few weeks. They can no detain anyone, forgeign or American, indefinitiely, without access to a lawyer, without charging them, without judicial review, just because they say that they're a terrorist threat. They do have a safeguard however: once a year, you're allowed to ask them if they'd like to keep doing it.

The thing is, big brother as that is, it's massively overkill for someone politely telling a TSA goon that the fourth amendment does still apply on the streets of the US and, unless they can provide a legitimate reason for your search and seizure, you will be polite but you will not comply with unreasonable requests from minimally trained screeners who, by the senate's own definition, don't have the qualifications or training to call themselves legitimate officers. If they disappeared every politely spoken person who passively resisted, their jails would rapidly fill and every news channel would run sensational headlines about it. The street goons are going to try to hype their authority a little, they'll most likely call a police officer over to back them up who does have a little more legitimate authority, but you're not going to end up in a secret prison.

So, my take? Stay very polite. Don't get heated. Don't get angry. Simply express that you recognize they are not law enforcement officers, they are essentially an extra type of security guard at this location and that you are happy to comply with reasonable requests that any other security guard makes. If they make unreasonable requests, you will simply leave that location. (If it's a venue, leave, write the management company about how their new security made for a hostile environment and how you'll be encouraging friends not to return until better training or their replacement is arranged - if it's a subway entrance, walk the extra couple of blocks and, again, contact the transportation authority and government to tell them how you were happy to abide by legal requests but their overstepping should not be allowed.)

Politeness, walking away, then slowly burying the decision makers with the weight of the bad decisions usually works far better than shouting and screaming, overstepping in to something you can legitimately get arrested for, then just making their point for them.

Also... The more people politely passively resisting, the harder the abuses become to maintain. I just spent the last week flying. At every scanner, I requested a pat down and was very polite about it. I also pointed out to everyone else in line that the scanner only has a 1:30,000,000 risk of killing you from cancer but terrorists only have a 1:60,000,000 risk of killing you on your flight so the TSA doubles your risk of death in order to save you. It really starts overloading them when everyone wants a pat down.

Politicians above the law enforcement. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615810)

Its a shame law enformencement entities do not make random domestic checks of politicians bribery sources. Or as they call it, corporate fund raising.

Serious answer: Call a lawyer NOW. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | about 3 years ago | (#38615814)

Find a lawyer. Get a suggestion from that lawyer. Reach an agreement with that lawyer to represent you should you be arrested during such a stop. (This will probably involve putting money into an escrow account equal to the charge of a few hours of his time - also called a "retainer".)

Research your local laws regarding police stops. (Also called "Terry stops".) In some states, you are under ZERO obligation to do anything unless they are explicitly detaining you, and in those locations, the simple first response is "Am I being detained or am I free to go?" If they say you are being detained, the second response would be "On suspicion of the violation of what law am I being detained?" The third response is "I will not consent to any searches, and will not answer any questions until I have an attorney present." Then you call the lawyer mentioned above. You go to booking, you get searched anyway, you answer *NO* questions that are asked.

Take direct legal advice given by random strangers on the internet with a grain of salt.

Then don't get on my bus B*tch!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38615842)

WTF!? Yeah I'm anon here but I have to say if you will not submit to a search from an entity designed to combat terrorism at it's base then get the fuck off my airplane, train, bus, whatever the hell form of transportation I've decided to take on that particular day. Go the fuck away or go to another country. We've allowed this to go unchecked in our own country before and it has cost lives.

I suppose you're one of the NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) characters we've read so much about in these last few years, as long as it's not your kids school that get blasted from freaks with assault rifles then all is well and good, but when it happens to you "then someone didn't do enough to stop it!!!!!". Same damn thing applies when the bus you get on is the one that gets blown to shit because some one didn't want to submit to a random search. Goddamnit sometimes you morons piss me off.

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