The Transport Security Administration (TSA) is considering to request airline passengers to remove books from their carry-on luggage for screening purposes during security just like how you would take out your laptops.
Although this decision has not been finalized, the Week reported that the TSA has already been testing out this procedure earlier this month in Missouri and California. If this system gets implemented, all travelers are required to take out reading materials from their carry-on items and place them in a separate bin. The screeners can even browse through to check if there’s any suspicious material lurking in between the pages. As many would expect, this potential rule has raised privacy concerns.
“Books, magazines, food, those are like my three treasured things. It feels personal on a whole different level.” Said Julie Sze, a University of California, Davis, professor who had to undergo the practice procedure at Sacramento.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also responded to this potential policy with a post on their website.
“[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.”
This advocacy group is urging the TSA to train its agents for a more well-rounded service that will better address travelers’ privacy matters.
Feature Image Courtesy of the Business Insider