TSA Testing New Screening Policies for Books in Carry On Luggage

As if your privacy was not being invaded enough already by TSA, it’s possible that in the near future books passengers carry on in their luggage will be subject to their own screening.

TSA recently began a test run of the new process at three airports in the US: Detroit, Phoenix and Boston. TSA says that tightly packed luggage is hard to see through, so agents may look through the pages of your reading material to make sure nothing harmful resides between the pages.

Most people probably don’t take embarrassing reads on vacation with them but it’s still a huge invasion of privacy for TSA to start forcing people to publicly display what they are reading. Jay Stanley at the ACLU agrees and published this statement in a blog on their web site last Friday:

A person who is reading a book entitled “Overcoming Sexual Abuse” or “Overcoming Sexual Dysfunction” is not likely to want to plop that volume down on the conveyor belt for all to see. Even someone reading a bestseller like “50 Shades of Grey” or a mild self-help book with a title such as “What Should I Do With My Life?” might be shy about exposing his or her reading habits. And of course someone reading Arab or Muslim literature in today’s environment has all too much cause to worry about discrimination. To at least one woman who experienced the new policy, “The scrutiny of my books, magazines and food feels even more invasive” than the body scanners, swabs, and pat-downs.

As expected, public reaction is also not too favorable.

It’s pretty sad that we as American citizens have to keep giving up more and more pieces of our privacy to government agencies like the TSA. They already do an invasive body X-ray every time you fly, what more do they want to inspect?


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