THE "SPOT" INTERVIEW
SPOT, or "Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, is a process whereby selected passengers are questioned based on particular behavioral cues. Officers monitoring traveler behaviors ask questions such as your destination, or if this is a business or pleasure trip. Mannerisms are opinions, speculation, and prejudiced. not probable cause. If you are not suspected of wrongdoing, you should not have to answer questions from the government about your personal business.
You can decline to answer questions or reply to each question politely with the simple words, “personal business.” However, if the TSA officer does not feel that you are answering his or her questions, they may select you for secondary screening.
Many airports now require passengers to go through a body scanner that uses advanced imaging technology. The scanners use "backscatter x-ray" or "millimeter wave" radiation to see through your clothes and create an electronic image of your naked body. TSA says they won't use the body scanner feature that stores and transmits images captured images, yet this function is required in every scanner purchased for airports. The images of the body are extremely invasive, including breasts, buttocks, and genitalia. Images are viewed by a TSA agent in another room. New software is being installed in some of these scanners that only allow agents to see an outline of the body with potential “anomalies” highlighted. This is a definite improvement in privacy. The machine will, however, still highlight some medical conditions or other bodily “anomalies,” leading to pat-downs. Health concerns about the radiation have been raised concerning radiation emitted by the backscatter x-ray machines.
Ask not to go through this scanner You can tell the TSA agent that you do not wish to go through the scanner. TSA agents are required under TSA policy to honor your request, but might try to encourage or pressure you to go through anyway. To be as clear as possible, say, "I opt out." However, you should know that if you opt out, you will be subject to a pat down that many people find as or more troubling than the body scanner. You also have the right to opt your children out of the scan.
THE "STANDARD PAT-DOWN"
The TSA "standard pat-down procedure" is now more invasive than the pat-down search that you may have previously experienced. An agent of the same sex examines your head, shirt collar, waistband, and may use the front or back of the hand to feel your body including your breasts, buttocks, in between your legs to the top of your thigh. Women in tight skirts that don't allow an agent to feel the thigh area may be asked into a private room to remove the skirt and given a gown to preform the inspection.
Inform TSA of sensitive areas,injuries, or conditions that could cause you pain if certain parts of your body are touched or pressed, as well as any medical devices that could be dislodged by a search, or any other reason that TSA agents should be careful when touching your body. You may request a private room for the pat-down, but it is advisable that you bring a witness.
THE "RESOLUTION PAT-DOWN"
If an "abnormality" is detected during the pat-down or by the scanner, you will be subject to a "resolution pat-down". TSA agents will take you to a private area for a more intense pat-down, which includes using the front of the agent's hands for a more thorough search, including the groin area.
This search is performed in a private room by a person of the same gender. It is advisable to bring a witness with you, or ask TSA to provide a witness for you.
SEARCHES OF BAGS, LAPTOPS, AND ELECTRONICS
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claims the right to search and confiscate laptops, mobile phones, digital cameras, and other electronic devices upon entry to the United States, without any suspicion of wrongdoing. In some reported cases, CBP has held travelers' electronics for more than a year.
You have the right to have the initial search conducted in front of a supervisor. If your electronics are confiscated, ask for a receipt so you can track where they are and seek their return.
TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN
While you may opt your children out of an airport scan, there is no exemption for children from the pat-down search. TSA says it must “screen everyone, regardless of age (even babies).” However, in September 2011, TSA announced that it will no longer require children to remove their shoes before they go through airport scanners.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have the authority to ask your immigration status when you are entering or returning to the United States or leaving the country. They have the power to determine whether or not non-U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have the right of entry. Law enforcement officials reportedly ask some people about their political and religious beliefs, where they worship, and how often they pray.
If you think you are being asked inappropriate questions, you may decline to answer. This may cause you delay, but it is permissible. Request a supervisor. You should also ask for a supervisor if you are denied the right to use a restroom or to have family or friends told where you are. If you are delayed excessively, you should ask to have an attorney present and to make a phone call.
- U.S Supreme Court, City of Indianapolis v. Edmund
Most of these videos demonstrate that you do not have to furnish ID at a DUI checkpoint. The written rules on this page err on the side of caution, but the applied cases here prove to be more lenient. As always, consult an attorney for specific state laws and personal circumstances.
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