Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Travel Safety/Security > Checkpoints and Borders Policy Debate
Reload this Page >

TSA searching laptops/cell phones before DOMESTIC flights

TSA searching laptops/cell phones before DOMESTIC flights

Old Mar 12, 18, 5:09 pm
  #1  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 817
TSA searching laptops/cell phones before DOMESTIC flights

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...mestic-flights

There are a growing number of reports of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) searching the electronic devices of passengers on domestic flights in the US, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has sued the federal agency for records.The ACLU Foundationof Northern California filed a lawsuit against the TSA on Monday demanding that the government disclose its policies for searching the computers and cellphones of domestic travelers, arguing that anecdotal accounts have raised concerns about potential privacy invasions...One woman who shared her story with the ACLU told the Guardian that in the last year, she had twice had her electronics searched while flying within California. The 64-year-old, who works in the not-for-profit sector and requested anonymity for fear that she could face further scrutiny from TSA, said that on one occasion last year, TSA agents pulled her aside to pat her down multiple times and eventually asked to see both her iPhones – a work and personal one.The agents did not ask her to unlock the phones, but took them for at least 10 minutes out of her view, she said, adding that she quickly became distraught.“I no longer had my phones, so there was no one I could contact,” she said, adding, “It just feels like an invasion of privacy, especially when they are not telling you what the problem is.”The woman said on a recent trip, the TSA also briefly took her laptop, which was password protected.
This would almost certainly vilate Riley V California, which ruled searching a phone incident to ARREST is not allowed w/o a warrant, let alone a security screening:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riley_v._California
greggarious is offline  
Old Mar 12, 18, 6:17 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: DFW
Posts: 16,075
There is no low to low for TSA.
rickg523 likes this.

Last edited by Boggie Dog; Mar 12, 18 at 6:22 pm
Boggie Dog is offline  
Old Mar 12, 18, 9:29 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 200
Originally Posted by greggarious View Post
This would almost certainly vilate Riley V California, which ruled searching a phone incident to ARREST is not allowed w/o a warrant, let alone a security screening:
The filing references Riley v. California, but I imagine TSA will argue that it doesn't apply to administrative searches, since they only claim that TSOs are LEOs when it's convenient for them.

However, while the ACLU is asking for information about "[e]quipment, including but not limited to SIM-card readers and software manufactured by Cellebrite, used to search, examine, or extract data from passengers’ electronic devices and SIM cards...," it's not clear if these are actually being routinely used.

I haven't heard of TSOs (as opposed to CBP Officers) doing more than X-raying and swabbing electronics. Does anyone know of any specific cases?
mauve is offline  
Old Mar 13, 18, 12:19 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Catania, Sicily/South Jersey (PHL)/Houston, Texas/airborne in-between
Programs: United Global Svcs, AA ExecPlat, WN RR, AZ Freccia Alata+, Hilton gold, SPG/Marriot Gold, Hertz Prez
Posts: 3,186
While I would not put it past TSA, in reading the full article one could also posit TSA was just taking the items to be swabbed. And in doing so took forever doing a poor job of explaining the procedure. Will be interesting to see what comes out of this.
FlyingHoustonian is offline  
Old Mar 13, 18, 3:30 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LAS
Programs: Hilton Diamond, IHG Spire Ambassador, Radisson Gold, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 2,947
Is TSA searching the electronic content on these devices or are they just making sure that they devices turn on and x raying them to check that they are not bombs?
jphripjah is offline  
Old Mar 13, 18, 6:28 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: DFW
Posts: 16,075
Originally Posted by jphripjah View Post
Is TSA searching the electronic content on these devices or are they just making sure that they devices turn on and x raying them to check that they are not bombs?
Why would that take 10 minutes or be out of view of the traveler?
Boggie Dog is offline  
Old Mar 13, 18, 6:55 am
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting
Posts: 88,945
Originally Posted by FlyingHoustonian View Post
While I would not put it past TSA, in reading the full article one could also posit TSA was just taking the items to be swabbed. And in doing so took forever doing a poor job of explaining the procedure. Will be interesting to see what comes out of this.
That is what I expect of most of these reports, but I am also aware of incidents where the TSA screening process has been used to migrate passenger equipment into the hands of other government agencies for surveillance purposes and then the same or substitute equipment was placed back into the possession of the target passengers. In other words, our government has used the TSA’s administrative searches for purposes that go beyond general passenger and passenger belongings screening for restricted weapons, explosives and incendiaries. Not all of these extraordinary actions involving TSA screening involved FISA/FISC, but some definitely have.

Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
Why would that take 10 minutes or be out of view of the traveler?
​​​​​​​
I’ve seen the ETD process take ten minutes and be out of passenger-owner’s sight, even for empty baby bottles. The process from removing the item for ETD, to using and completing the ETD and giving back the item can take ten minutes at time.
GUWonder is online now  
Old Mar 13, 18, 9:27 am
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: DFW
Posts: 16,075
Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post


That is what I expect of most of these reports, but I am also aware of incidents where the TSA screening process has been used to migrate passenger equipment into the hands of other government agencies for surveillance purposes and then the same or substitute equipment was placed back into the possession of the target passengers. In other words, our government has used the TSA’s administrative searches for purposes that go beyond general passenger and passenger belongings screening for restricted weapons, explosives and incendiaries. Not all of these extraordinary actions involving TSA screening involved FISA/FISC, but some definitely have.



I’ve seen the ETD process take ten minutes and be out of passenger-owner’s sight, even for empty baby bottles. The process from removing the item for ETD, to using and completing the ETD and giving back the item can take ten minutes at time.
I've been subject to ETD testing myself and it didn't take 10 minutes for the ETD test. The physical inspection was done in my view and the ETD portion of the inspection took less than a minute. Swab an item, put the test strip in the machine and results are returned in seconds. Also my stuff wasn't removed from my sight, the inspection and ETD test was done right where I was standing, in full view of the TSA screener.

When TSA starts taking travelers items out of their sight that raises a major RED FLAG. TSA does an Administrative Search which is a public search.
Boggie Dog is offline  
Old Mar 13, 18, 10:17 am
  #9  
Suspended
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 817
They're probably imaging the devices when they remove them from view.
greggarious is offline  
Old Mar 13, 18, 10:43 am
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: DFW
Posts: 16,075
Originally Posted by greggarious View Post
They're probably imaging the devices when they remove them from view.
Not sure how long that takes. Would 10 minutes be long enough? Any issues with the devices security to image or take the image and try to get in later?
Boggie Dog is offline  
Old Mar 13, 18, 10:54 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: An NPR mind living in a Fox News world
Posts: 13,376
Originally Posted by FlyingHoustonian View Post
While I would not put it past TSA, in reading the full article one could also posit TSA was just taking the items to be swabbed. And in doing so took forever doing a poor job of explaining the procedure. Will be interesting to see what comes out of this.
I thought the same thing, or at least that the article didn't do into sufficient detail. We've all been victims of TSA clerks taking bins of our stuff and moving them whenver they pleased. There have been lots of times where I have had to tell them to wait until I get there, or something to that effect.

Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
That is what I expect of most of these reports, but I am also aware of incidents where the TSA screening process has been used to migrate passenger equipment into the hands of other government agencies for surveillance purposes and then the same or substitute equipment was placed back into the possession of the target passengers. In other words, our government has used the TSA’s administrative searches for purposes that go beyond general passenger and passenger belongings screening for restricted weapons, explosives and incendiaries. Not all of these extraordinary actions involving TSA screening involved FISA/FISC, but some definitely have.
They most definitely do this for drugs, cash, and occasionally for reading material.
FliesWay2Much is offline  
Old Mar 13, 18, 4:14 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 200
Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
Not sure how long that takes. Would 10 minutes be long enough? Any issues with the devices security to image or take the image and try to get in later?
We don't know how long the crack takes, but based on how long it takes to backup an iPhone via iTunes, I wouldn't think you could both image a smart phone that quickly. They might only target certain data like contacts or text messages or something.

That's assuming they're actually doing something intrusive. I'm a little surprised I can't find more reports that this is happening beyond one (understandably) anonymous woman.
mauve is offline  
Old Mar 13, 18, 7:20 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: DFW
Posts: 16,075

TSA Refutes ACLU Allegation That It Illegally Searches Electronic Devices


https://www.thestreet.com/story/1452...HOO&yptr=yahoo

The Transportation Security Administration is denying allegations made in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit saying that the agency illegally searches electronic devices on domestic flights.
TSA is never guilty of wrongdoing. Just ask them.
Boggie Dog is offline  
Old Mar 13, 18, 9:55 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Frensham, Lincolnshire
Programs: RFC
Posts: 1,164
I think I might start carrying a malware phone just for TSA. They can image that sucker to their heart content.
JamesBigglesworth is offline  
Old Mar 13, 18, 10:54 pm
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: DFW
Posts: 16,075
Originally Posted by JamesBigglesworth View Post
I think I might start carrying a malware phone just for TSA. They can image that sucker to their heart content.
Perhaps all they are doing is loading a small package on the electronics of unsuspecting travelers.
Boggie Dog is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread