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Senator Boils Over Lobster Picture

Lawmaker suggests new laws to cover flyer privacy.

After a picture of a lobster going through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inspection went viral, one senator is suggesting a change in regulations to protect flyers’ privacy. New Haven, Connecticut ABC affiliate WTNH reports Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal is asking for the Homeland Security agency to change how they handle public affairs.

The original photo went viral in June, after a passenger checked a live 20-pound lobster on their JetBlue flight out of Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). According to the TSA, the nature of the luggage required additional screening before continuing onto the aircraft. In turn, the TSA turned the situation into a public relations opportunity, distributing photos of the large crustacean in social media.

Under current TSA policy, the administration is allowed to take photos of items inspected by security agents, so long as no identifying passenger information is included. When Blumenthal enquired to the reason for the search, he claims he was not given one. He is now asking the TSA to change their policy entirely to require flyer permission before photos are taken or shared.

“They offered no explanation,” Blumenthal told WTNH. “I never thought I’d have to add a provision that requires personal permission before the contents of luggage is displayed for the world to see.”

The TSA has long collected and distributed photos of prohibited items and unusual oddities that pass through their checkpoints on social media. Blumenthal said that despite the “extremely impressive” nature of the lobster, the TSA was still required to follow “personal privacy” for flyers.

If the policy is change, the Connecticut senator noted he would consider legislature to force the change. The TSA has not publicly commented on Blumenthal’s notes.

[Photo: TSA/Twitter]

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