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Professional Troublemaker

 Jonathan Corbett, Civil Rights Advocate

DHS Quietly Testing Mandatory Facial Recognition of Passengers *Exiting* U.S.

facescanWe’re all used to having to identify ourselves as we enter a country.  It is the only way we can hope to have any attempt at a secure border.  But, so-called “exit controls,” where documents are checked as travelers are leaving the country, were popularized last century by Nazi Germany as a great way to ensure that they could control, round up, and exterminate the Jews and other “undesirables.”  It can obviously serve no purpose of keeping terrorists out, because it only affects those who are already in.  The U.S. has never had exit controls, although they remain popular in Europe, Russia, and China.

Last week, privacy advocate and blogger Jeffrey Tucker posted his experience before a flight from Atlanta to Mexico:

Halfway down the jetbridge, there was a new layer of security. Two US Marshals, heavily armed and dressed in dystopian-style black regalia, stood next to an upright machine with a glowing green eye. Every passenger, one by one, was told to step on a mat and look into the green scanner. It was scanning our eyes and matching that scan with the passport, which was also scanned (yet again).

Welcome Aboard, But First U.S. Marshals Will Scan Your Retina,” published 2/25/2017.

A bit of research uncovered that CBP announced a 2-month pilot program last year for flights between Atlanta and Japan in which they would be doing facial scans as passengers were about to board their flights:.

As part of the testing, travelers will present their boarding pass while their digital photo is taken. The process will take less than three seconds before travelers proceed to the passenger loading bridge to board their flight. Travelers over the age of 14 and under 79 will be required to participate in the test. The test will evaluate CBP’s ability to successfully compare the image of a traveler taken during departure against an image the traveler previously provided, in an automated fashion and without impacting airport operations.

This was, apparently, announced sufficiently quietly that I had not before heard of the program.  The 2 month window has expired, and there is no mention on their Web site, that I can find, of a new program between Atlanta and Mexico.  But, it seems to me that the likely scenario is that CBP has re-started this program and Mr. Tucker confused U.S. Marshals with CBP officers, and retinal scanning with face recognition scanners (not that it makes a difference in terms of our privacy).

What exactly is the point of this?  Are we hoping to catch someone who has overstayed their visa so that we can stop them from leaving, then take them into custody so that the taxpayer can fund their leaving?  It may simply be a dumb idea, or it may be a far more sinister plan to further control the movements of everyone in the country, citizen or otherwise.

Either way, count me out, and I encourage you to refuse as well.

DHS Detains Entire Domestic Flight, Demands ID From All

On Wednesday, law enforcement from Customs & Border Patrol, a sister agency of the TSA living under the DHS umbrella, stood in a JFK jetway and prevented an entire 757 (capacity: 180 + crew) full of passengers from deplaning until they show ID.  If the flight just came from overseas, it would be unusual but not too surprising.  But Delta Flight 1583 came from San Francisco.

cbp-detains-plane
“Your papers, please!”  Source: Twitter – @annediego

Who were they looking for?  One of Trump’s illegal immigrants, of course.  “According to CBP, the person agents sought had been issued an order of removal based on convictions for domestic assault, driving while impaired, and violation of an order of protection.” (Gothamist).  After checking every ID, they determined that the person they were seeking was not on the flight.

Let’s be clear about a few things here:

  1. Every person on that plane was “seized” as it is defined in Fourth Amendment law.  That is, a reasonable person would not believe they were free to go, and thus, they were detained.  United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554 (1980).
  2. The minimum standard for seizing an individual is “reasonable suspicion” that criminal activity is afoot.  Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968).
  3. There was not reasonable suspicion that the 180 passengers on that flight were involved in a crime.  In fact, there was not even reasonable suspicion that the person they were seeking was committing a crime.
  4. There was no “public safety” or “exigent circumstances” exception here.  This was not a hunt for a terrorist with a bomb — his most serious charge was assault.
  5. Therefore, the Fourth Amendment’s command that “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons … against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated” was indeed violated.
  6. Additionally, the elements of civil “false imprisonment” in New York are: (1) intentional confinement, (2) consciousness of the confinement by the victim, (3) lack of consent, and (4) lack of privilege.  Broughton v. New York, 37 N.Y.2d 451 (N.Y. 1975).  Given that they were seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment, there is no privilege, and everyone on this plane has a case for false imprisonment.

It’s times like these when I can’t wait to have my law license, because this would be a perfect class-action.

For future reference, you may be wondering what are your rights in this situation.  Given that the seizure was unconstitutional, you have the right to refuse to participate at all.  You may refuse to show ID, you may refuse an order to stop, and if it were me, I would refuse to retract my middle finger.  Would I have been arrested anyway?  Possibly, although being a white American, I have a feeling they would have just told me to go.

Welcome to Trump’s America.

Insomniac Lawsuit Dismissed on Technicality, Policy Changed (For Now), Open Offer for Help

For those following my lawsuit against music festival producer and Live Nation subsidiary Insomniac, filed last year against their policy banning all OTC medicine and requiring a “consultation” to bring in prescriptions, some updates…

First, the lawsuit was tossed by U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez because, he says, I didn’t provide evidence that I asked Insomniac to change their policy before suing, which he reads as a prerequisite to a federal ADA suit.  There were also state discrimination law claims, but the law allows a federal judge to decline to hear a state claim after the related federal claim is dismissed, so he tossed that too.  No ruling was made on the true merits of the case: whether the medicine policy was legal.

I think Judge G misread the law regarding notice, and he certainly misread my filings alleging that I *did* give notice.  As I wrote about before, this judge is famous among federal judges for seeking ways to get cases out of his courtroom.  I could appeal, or I could re-file the state law claims in state court, but I won’t (in favor of a better plan… keep reading!) for 2 reasons:

  1. Insomniac ran up a fucking massive legal bill.  If the appeal failed, the attorneys have some likelihood of asking me to pay at least a part of that — plus whatever additional amounts they spend defending the appeal.  Insomniac agreed to pay their own bill in exchange for not appealing or re-filing.
  2. Insomniac removed the offending medicine policy from their Web site… for now.  This may be a sign that they are changing their ways, which would be mission accomplished.  But, even if it’s not, it makes it harder to sue them because they are no longer advertising discrimination.

So here’s the new, better plan: an open call for anyone who is ever refused entry over medicine or has their medicine thrown out at the gates of EDC to contact me.  If I think you have a good case, I will find and fund an attorney to fight the case, and offer my assistance to your attorney as his paralegal without cost to you.  If Insomniac did indeed decide to fix their policy, then this won’t be necessary, and if they didn’t, I’ll be able to get a second fight against it, with the benefit of the knowledge I gained the first time, with a different judge, without the “you didn’t give them notice” issue, and without the attorney’s fees and costs from this case able to be threatened.

Flash Factory Nightclub in NYC Sued for Groping Guests During Security Search

flash_factory_sued
The scene inside Flash Factory hosting Elrow on 12/23/2016

Continuing my quest to call out music and nightlife companies that think their patrons should bend over and accept any rule dreamed up, however offensive and illegal, today a friend of mine and I filed suit against New York nightclub “Flash Factory,” located in the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan.

The basis of the suit is this: we were heading to a concert at Flash Factory, never before having been to this relatively new venue.  On the way in there was a pat-down, which we assumed was just a quick check of pockets for weapons as some New York nightclubs do.  But, both of us were shocked when a security guard, without warning, lifted my friend’s bra off her chest to feel her breasts, and likewise, decided to flat-out grab my genitals.  I don’t mean TSA-style “sliding hands up your legs until they ‘meet resistance,'” often bumping the sides of their hands into your crotch.  I mean straight-up, full palm and fingertips checking out my junk.

After the incident, I immediately wrote to, and my friend called, Flash Factory, and both of us were entirely ignored.  No apology, no acknowledgement, no response at all.  No one should have to deal with sexual assault to get into a nightclub.  It is atrocious that they feel the need to treat their customers this way, so, a new lawsuit against them for battery and negligence was filed in New York County Supreme Court.

Corbett & Domyan v. Flash Factory et al. – Verified Complaint (.pdf)

Good luck ignoring that, Flash Factory.

U.S. Court of Appeals Allows Restraining Order Against “Muslim Ban” to Continue, Considering Re-Hearing En Banc

angry_trumpThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered last night that a Washington state federal judge’s order restraining Trump from enforcing his Muslim ban — the one that effectively bans Muslims from 7 countries from entering the United States, even if they are green card holders or have refugee status — shall not be lifted.

Washington v. Trump – Order Denying Motion to Lift TRO (.pdf)

From the 29-page, well-reasoned opinion:

The States argue that the Executive Order violates the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses because it was intended to disfavor Muslims. In support of this argument, the States have offered evidence of numerous statements by the President about his intent to implement a “Muslim ban” as well as evidence they claim suggests that the Executive Order was intended to be that ban, including sections 5(b) and 5(e) of the Order. …

The States’ claims raise serious allegations and present significant constitutional questions. In light of the sensitive interests involved, the pace of the current emergency proceedings, and our conclusion that the Government has not met its burden of showing likelihood of success on appeal on its arguments with respect to the due process claim…

Since posting my first story about this, I’ve had many comment on the blog that my constitutional analysis (tl;dr: it’s unconstitutional) is wrong and that it’s not a Muslim ban because Trump didn’t ban all Muslims (yet).  I have two questions for you:

  • How many judges must rule that Trump’s ban is unconstitutional before you will stop blaming “activist judges” for getting the law wrong?  The ruling yesterday was a unanimous 3-judge panel, which brings the total up to at least 6 federal judges now ruling against the ban.
  • How many Muslims must Trump ban before you admit it’s a blatant attempt to discriminate based on religion?  (If he adds Indonesia to the list, will that be good enough?)

What a President Can Do With an Executive Order — And Why Trump’s Muslim Ban is Illegal

trump_signingOn Sunday I published a post about Trump’s “Muslim ban,” a decision to exclude green card holders and refugees from 7 Muslim countries.  The post was the most shared on this blog ever (over 10,000 shares on Facebook alone!), and attracted a lot of comments.  Some people felt that Trump’s decision, which he made by “executive order,” was perfectly legal.

Is it?

Well, let’s start with what a President does.  We know he runs the executive branch, but what does that mean?  The President’s authority comes from the U.S. Constitution (either directly or from Congress giving him some of their authority), and we can mostly divide what a President does into two categories:

  1. “Foreign stuff” – The President is our chief diplomat, the commander of our military,  and the person with whom other countries must negotiate when they want something from the United States.  These powers are granted in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution.
  2. “Domestic stuff” – Some of this we’re familiar with: things like signing and vetoing laws, appointing U.S. Supreme Court justices, granting pardons, and the like.  These powers are also granted by Article II, Section 2.  Then there are the powers granted by Congress to run more day-to-day affairs.  Through the use of agencies, such as the FCC, FDA, FBI, and hundreds of others, the executive branch accomplishes its work, and the President is the head of those agencies.  And, sometimes Congress gives power specifically to the President rather than to an agency.

With this background, an executive order is a direction that an agency of the government enforce the law in a certain way, or to make a formal use of a power specifically granted to the President by Congress.  Since 1907, the Office of the Federal Register has cataloged and numbered each executive order — the Muslim ban order was #13769.

When it comes to agencies, the President gets to fill in the blanks.  So, a President could order the FBI to step up their enforcement of marijuana laws because Congress allows the FBI to enforce the laws, but didn’t specify how much emphasis should be placed on marijuana.  A President could also order the IRS to send bills to taxpayers only in gold-foil envelopes, because Congress authorized the IRS to send bills, but did not say what the envelopes in which they are sent must look like.

But, the President may not order something contrary to the law, nor fill in the blanks where there are no blanks to fill.  For example, Obama couldn’t order the FCC to confiscate the cell phones of those who text-and-drive, because that doesn’t fit into any grant of power by Congress to the FCC.

So, did the President issue the Muslim ban order pursuant to a legitimate grant of power by Congress?

No.  Here’s why.  Trump could try to defend his actions on the basis of a law passed by Congress numbered as 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f), which states in part: “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

At first glance, it does seem like Congress authorized the President to discriminate against anyone as long as he deems it necessary or appropriate.  But, if you scroll back up to the top of the page and read one sentence a little more carefully, you may see Trump’s problem: “The President’s authority comes from the U.S. Constitution (either directly or from Congress giving him some of their authority)…”

Congress cannot give the President authority which it does not have to give.  The U.S. Constitution does grant Congress the authority to deal with immigration, but that authority is restrained by limits set by other parts of the Constitution.  Specifically, the 14th Amendment reads in part: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This is the “Equal Protection Clause” you’ve surely heard of, and the U.S. Supreme Court has broadly interpreted it to prevent the government from discriminating against any race, religion, or national origin (among others), unless the government has an extraordinarily strong reason for doing so and cannot do so in another way which would be less discriminatory.  (It has also applied the 14th Amendment to the federal government even though the text of the law uses the word “states.”)

This is, in my opinion and the opinion of every federal judge to consider the matter so far, where Trump must fail.  Congress does not have the authority to give Trump a power that violates the Equal Protection Clause, and therefore to the extent that 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f) may purport to do so, it is void.  People may argue about whether the government has a compelling reason to discriminate here, but there is little argument that there is not a way to secure our country in a less discriminatory manner.  Trump’s order is, therefore, illegal.

Transcript of Oral Arguments in Muslim Ban Case Shows Department of Justice Entirely Lost on How to Defend; Trump Fires Acting Attorney General

darweesh_transcriptBefore U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly issued a temporary restraining order against
Donald Trump and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol from enforcing a “Muslim ban” — prohibiting travel by green card holders and individuals with refugee status from 7 Muslim-majority countries — a hearing was held in which both attorneys for plaintiff Darweesh and attorneys from the Department of Justice for the government appeared.  Early media reports indicated that the U.S. Attorneys were entirely unprepared and had no defense for Trump’s executive order.  And, yesterday, Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, allegedly after “she defiantly refused to defend his executive order closing the nation’s borders to refugees and people from predominantly Muslim countries,” according to the New York Times.

I noticed on the docket today (PDF or live version if you have a PACER account) that the transcript of these oral arguments was ready but not available over the Court’s Web site.  I managed to obtain a copy anyway which I’m now publishing for you all.

Darweesh v. DHS – Transcript of Oral Arguments on Motion for TRO, 1/28/2017 (.pdf)

Some highlights:

  1. There were five attorneys from the government there — four from the U.S. Attorney’s office and one from U.S. Customs & Border Patrol.  Not a single one of them, at any point in the 21 pages of transcript, even remotely attempted to argue that Trump’s order was lawful and the plaintiffs could not succeed on the merits.
  2. The test for whether to issue a stay is a balancing of whether: 1) the requesting party is likely to succeed on the merits, 2) the requesting party will suffer irreparable injury, 3) the opposing party will be injured, and 4) the public’s interest will be harmed.  The only one the government even tried to address was irreparable injury, by saying that Darweesh was already released and therefore couldn’t be harmed.  The judge was not interested.
    not_so_moot
  3. But, the 3 attorneys for the plaintiff from the ACLU successfully argued that they would likely meet the requirements to proceed as a class-action, and thus were arguing on behalf of everyone who was detained or threatened with deportation under Trump’s new order — so Darweesh being released didn’t end the case.
  4. The judge made clear that her ruling applied to all affected by Trump’s order.  Thus, if at other airports across the country CBP was still detaining people, they were clearly in violation of the court’s order.  And for those who feel that Trump’s order is totally constitutional, the judge specifically ruled that it was likely that plaintiffs could prove otherwise:
    so_classy
  5. The judge at times was clearly irritated with the government’s lack of response to her questions, and at one point told them that they would not be able to speak any longer.say_no_more_fam

Apparently, Trump is upset that his Acting Attorney General refused to defend his executive order.  But the real question is: What defense could they have plausibly given, especially given that apparently Trump gave the Department of Justice no notice of his plans?

If you want your executive agencies to work with you, they have to be kept in the loop.  Even then, however, it will be a hard sell for any attorney to walk into a courtroom with a straight face and say that the executive order by the guy who said he’d ban Muslims isn’t about banning Muslims, but just happens to be directed at 7 almost-all-Muslim countries.

I don’t envy anyone in the U.S. Attorney’s office’s civil litigation division right now.  They’re not getting paid enough for this shit.


“Jon Corbett is a civil rights advocate known for filing the first lawsuit against the deployment of TSA nude body scanners, as well as defeating the body scanners live in ‘How to Get ANYTHING Through TSA Nude Body Scanners.’  Presently a law student, he continues to advocate for travel and privacy rights.  Twitter: @_JonCorbett, Web:https://professional-troublemaker.com/

Fighting for civil rights in court is expensive!  Want to contribute to the fight against government assholery? Donate via PayPal, Venmo, Chace QuickPay, Bitcoin, or check

Federal Judge Sends U.S. Marshals to Prevent Trump from Enforcing Muslim Ban

foreign-us-customsOn Friday, our new President signed an executive order banning those from 7 Muslim countries from entering the United States, even if they had been granted refugee status, and even if they were green card or visa holders.  This blatant discrimination based on national origin (and, let’s be honest, it’s really based on religion, given that all 7 countries are Muslim-majority and Trump had flat-out said he would ban Muslims during his campaign) guaranteed a legal showdown which began yesterday after at least a dozen people with passports from those 7 nations were detained at JFK airport in New York.

Yesterday, attorneys for Hameed Khalid Darweesh filed a class action lawsuit requesting a writ of habaes corpus (court order to free a person) on behalf of Mr. Darweesh, who apparently was detained under this new order, and anyone similarly situated to him.  It’s worthy of note that this man is a refugee from Iraq who cannot return to his home country because he assisted the U.S. military during our operations there.  Filed with his petition was a motion for an emergency temporary restraining order, asking the court to prohibit U.S. Customs & Border Patrol from enforcing Trump’s order, and U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, after conducting an astoundingly prompt hearing,  granted that request, ordering all officers of the United States be:

ENJOINED AND RESTRAINED from, in any manner or by any means, removing individuals with refugee applications approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, holders of valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and other individuals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen legally authorized to enter the United States.

This is widely reported by the media (CNN, The Guardian, New York Times), but perhaps because of the late hour and lack of legal analysts on hand, they missed the significance of the next paragraph of Judge Donnelly’s order:

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that to assure compliance with the Court’s order, the Court directs service of this Order upon the United States Marshal for the Eastern District of New York, and further directs the United States Marshal Service to take those actions deemed necessary to enforce the provisions and prohibitions set forth in this Order.

I’ve never seen an order like that directed against the U.S. government in my life.  What the judge just did is sent federal law enforcement affiliated with the court to JFK airport to make sure other federal law enforcement obeys the order.  In other words, Judge Donnelly does not trust that the Trump administration will follow the law and pre-emptively sent muscle to carry out her order.

If you’re to believe the Daily Kos, a source that I don’t necessarily consider reliable due to political bias on par with Fox News, but in the other direction, the U.S. Marshals were sent with good reason: they report that in other airports, U.S. Customs & Border patrol has ignored the order.  [Update: The Guardian also reporting non-compliance by CBP.]

If Trump chooses to direct his agencies to ignore court orders, this could be a very rapid beginning and end to his administration, as I cannot imagine Congress not impeaching a president who does so.  This situation may come to a head quite soon… stay tuned…


“Jon Corbett is a civil rights advocate known for filing the first lawsuit against the deployment of TSA nude body scanners, as well as defeating the body scanners live in ‘How to Get ANYTHING Through TSA Nude Body Scanners.’  Presently a law student, he continues to advocate for travel and privacy rights.  Twitter: @_JonCorbett, Web:https://professional-troublemaker.com/

Fighting for civil rights in court is expensive!  Want to contribute to the fight against government assholery? Donate via PayPal, Venmo, Chace QuickPay, Bitcoin, or check

What Are My Rights At The TSA Checkpoint?

tsacheckpointGoing through airport security manned by the TSA is an unpleasant at best, panic-inducing at worst experience, and it definitely helps to know what to expect and what you can do to ensure that you are harassed as little as possible.  The TSA is absolutely horrible at informing travelers as to the procedures they will face (often times declaring that they are “sensitive security information” and therefore cannot be published) and those working the checkpoints often misrepresent the rights and responsibilities of travelers (sometimes to be intentionally difficult, but generally because they were poorly trained).

So, here’s what every traveler should know before they collect their boarding pass at a U.S. airport:

  1. You have the right to opt-out of the body scanners and request a pat-down.  Unless your boarding pass indicates that you are subject to heightened security, which will be denoted by four S’s in big bold letters, you may simply tell the person running the body scanner that you “opt out.”  Try to keep a close eye on your belongings while they find someone to pat you down.
  2. You have the right to take pictures, video, and audio recording.  It can be comforting to many to know that they may document their interaction, especially if it looks like there’s going to be a problem.  You can take pictures, video, and audio recordings of the entire screening process with the following two exceptions: a) you can’t take pictures or videos of the x-ray monitors, and b) you can’t hold your belongings (including a camera) while you’re walking through the body scanner or metal detector, or while receiving a pat-down, but you can have a travel companion who has already been cleared do so on your behalf.  If the TSA ever denies you the ability to record your interaction other than for those two exceptions, please contact me.
  3. You have the right to request the TSA’s video of your experience!  Video from security cameras is almost always a public record covered by the federal Freedom of Information Act or similar state laws.  Generally, the video is in the possession of the local airport authority, so your request should be made to them, but I highly suggest sending simultaneous requests to both the TSA and the airport.  How?  Read about submitting FOIA requests to the TSA.
  4. You have the right to carry medicinal liquids as a carry-on, even if they are over 3 ounces.  Any liquid that you need for a medical purpose must be permitted through the checkpoint.  It does not have to be a prescription, and you do not need a doctor’s note.  If you have diabetes, you can easily justify a bottle of Gatorade.  If you have a baby, you may bring breast milk.  You also need not detail your condition for the TSA; simply take the items out of your bag to be separately screened and let the screener know that the items are medical liquids.
  5. You have the right to fly without ID.  If you forget, or lose, your ID, you may still travel.  They will simply verify your identity by calling in your information.  Leave extra time for the process, but fear not.  Note that if you can, but simply refuse to, show ID, the TSA’s policy is to refuse to screen you, although that policy does not exactly square with court rulings.
  6. You have the right to speak to a supervisor.  Blue-shirted TSA screeners come in 4 varieties, represented by 0 through 3 stripes on their shoulders.  0 = trainee, 1 = Transportation Security Officer (TSO), 2 = Lead TSO, 3 = Supervisory TSO.  If you have a problem and the person with whom you are speaking has less than 3 stripes, ask for an STSO.  If the STSO still gives you trouble, ask for a Transportation Security Manager (TSM), who will be wearing a suit.  A TSM is required to be on duty in the airport; do not believe any assertions that one is not available — they are.  Finally, if the interaction with the TSM is still unsatisfactory, you may ask to contact the Federal Security Director (FSD), who is a regional airport director and may not be on-site but generally has staffers who are.  Another resource is the TSA’s national “TSA Cares” hotline.  While the name is a misnomer, as the TSA certainly does not care, they may be of assistance at (855) 787-2227.
  7. You have the right to make a complaint.  Ask for a comment card on your way out, and the name of anyone who made your TSA experience more unpleasant than usual.  You can also file your TSA complaints online, but it makes them more nervous when you ask for a paper copy.
  8. You have the right to request a police officer supervise.  Did the TSA just ask to conduct an invasive search on your person?  Feel free to request that airport police supervise the situation.  Most, but not all, airport cops understand that the TSA is a disaster and that 0% of the times the TSA has demanded absurd levels of screening has the target actually been a terrorist.  As the saying goes, “‘I just caught a terrorist!’ said no TSA employee ever.”
  9. You have the right to refuse to take off anything but outer garments.  This includes, obviously, your clothes, but also includes any medical devices, prostheses, etc.  The TSA is not permitted to conduct strip searches.  If you are asked to do anything to the contrary, contact a supervisor and airport police.
  10. You have the right to refuse screening.  I cannot stress this enough: if the TSA demands that you continue screening in a private room, you should refuse.  You may miss your flight, but think about it: if the TSA does what you see at the checkpoint in full view of the world, you can only imagine what they will do if they determine you need “private screening.”  And, if you can’t imagine, let me fill you in: they will be touching your genitals with the front of their hands.  Know also that the TSA has not successfully leveled a fine or any other penalty against anyone for refusing screening, and their current policy is to simply escort the traveler out of the checkpoint.  Your airline will almost certainly re-book you at no cost.  It is your body, and your choice — do not let the TSA persuade you otherwise.  Just remain calm and firm.

Finally, if you have a negative experience, please don’t keep your story to yourself.  I would love to hear your story and may be able to help you to find resources to help.  Be in touch.  And, please share, print, and distribute to help others avoid TSA assholery.


“Jon Corbett is a civil rights advocate known for filing the first lawsuit against the deployment of TSA nude body scanners, as well as defeating the body scanners live in “How to Get ANYTHING Through TSA Nude Body Scanners.  Presently a law student, he continues to advocate for travel and privacy rights.  Twitter: @_JonCorbett, Web: https://professional-troublemaker.com/

Fighting for civil rights in court is expensive!  Want to contribute to the fight against government assholery? Donate via PayPal, Venmo, Chace QuickPay, Bitcoin, or check

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