Do you ever have the feeling you should just come to the airport in your underwear, with your belongings in a plastic bag, and then just get dressed and pack after going through security?
As you know, unless you’ve signed up for TSA PreCheck (which is well worth it), you must remove your laptop, toiletries, keys, shoes, belt, coat and hat in order to head to your gate.
Because of an increased level of threats, the TSA is considering banning laptops from carry-ons in the U.S. and in fact that’s the policy on certain flights in the Middle East.
Well, get ready for the next intrusion into your privacy: your books.
Per The Hill, The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is reportedly testing new safety procedures that require airline passengers to remove books from their carry-on bags when going through security lines, raising privacy concerns.
The Week reported that the TSA began testing the new security requirement for books and other paper products at airports in Missouri and California earlier this month. The new screening process requires passengers to remove all reading material and food from their carry-ons and place them in a bin.
Travelers already have to remove laptops from carry-on bags and place them in a separate bin. The new policy would let TSA employees flip through books to see if anything is hidden in their pages.
While it does make sense that if terrorists are changing their tactics we must stay one step ahead, but there is something a little Orwellian about the whole idea of checking your reading material.
The American Civil Liberties Organization (ACLU) has already weighed in on the issue: “[B]ooks raise very special privacy issues,” senior policy analyst Jay Stanley wrote. “There is a long history of special legal protection for the privacy of one’s reading habits in the United States, not only through numerous Supreme Court and other court decisions, but also through state laws that criminalize the violation of public library reading privacy or require a warrant to obtain book sales, rental, or lending records.”
However, given the speed with which TSA agents need to move people through the security process, it seems highly doubtful any notation will be made on an individual basis as to whether someone is reading trashy romance novels or Mark Levin’s latest tome.
But here’s a question: What if the book is the Koran?
[This article was written by Michele Hickford, author of the brutally honest and bitingly funny Do I Need To Slap You?]