City Cruises

Published on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Privacy concerns raised over TSA monitoring of books

Air travelers may soon have to disclose all their reading material when passing through security checkpoints.

This includes paperback novels, magazines and even business documents, and is already being tested at some airports around the country.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told Fox News last month it would 'likely' expand nationwide.

Airports in Los Angeles, Boise, Colorado Springs, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Boston Logan, Lubbock, Munoz Marin in Puerto Rico, Las Vegas McCarran and Phoenix Sky Harbour began the new security screening measures last month.

All paper items and food have to be removed from carry-on bags and screened separately.

The reasoning behind this is because passengers nowadays tend to stuff as much into carry-on bags as possible to avoid checked bag fees.

"The reason we've done that is because of people trying to avoid the $25 or $50 or whatever it is to check a bag are now stuffing carry-on bags," Kelly said.

"What we're doing now is working out the tactics, techniques and procedures, in a few airports, to find out exactly how to do that with the least amount of inconvenience to the traveler."

The new policy shift has sparked privacy concerns with the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Given the sensitivity of our reading choices, this raises privacy concerns," said analyst for the ACLU.

"Someone reading Arab or Muslim literature in today's environment has all too much cause to worry about discrimination."   

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