Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Fliers Can't Balk at Search

Wired News: "The old Hunter S. Thompson slogan, 'Buy the ticket, take the ride,' took on a new meaning Friday when a federal court ruled that airline passengers who enter the airport screening process cannot change their minds once they're singled out for a more extensive search.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (.pdf) that travelers who walk through the airport metal detector implicitly consent to a search of their persons and bags, and they can't revoke that consent once the process has started.
The ruling moves domestic security policy closer to the rules that govern international border crossings, according to travel expert Edward Hasbrouck.
'Once you have attempted to cross the border, you are committed to a search of your person, up to and including sequestering you in a room for 72 hours while they examine your (feces) for bags of heroin. This case seems to be applying more and more a similar argument.'
Domestic airline searches are still legally limited to screening for items the TSA has declared to be a threat to airline safety -- such as guns and cigarette lighters. However, if drugs or other contraband are found during screening, the evidence can be used in a criminal prosecution."

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