Our friends and allies at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) have upped the ante in their ongoing legal battle with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I was in the EPIC office last January with three FlyersRights volunteers when theorganization filed suit against the TSA, challenging the constitutionality of TSA's full body scanners. Last week, EPIC moved the effort forward.
FlyersRights has consistently voiced our message -- we demand security measures that are effective, safe, constitutional, and consistently applied. We have hammered home the fact that the machines are useless against liquids and powders, both at the January EPIC conference on TSA security and in conference calls on the issue.
EPIC agrees. In their August 31 press release, they announced their issues with a recent federal appeals court decision that some elements of the lawsuit, but denied others. EPIC objected to the appeals court's assertion that the machines are effective, along with other reasons supporting a rehearing on the matter. Chief among those objections is EPIC's challenge of the court's finding that the devices detect "liquid and powders." They know that's simply not true, as we've been saying all along.
Remember, the GAO looked at the effectiveness issue last year, and said "It remains unclear whether the AIT would have detected the weapon used in the December 2009 incident." That was the famous "Underwear Bomber" incident, and the GAO cannot state that the scanners would have detected the powders in the bomber's underwear.
Stay tuned as we continue to work with EPIC on this vital air travel issue.
We are commited to solutions for promoting airline passenger policies that forward first and foremost the safety of all passengers while not imposing unrealistic economic burdens that adversely affect airline profitability or create exhorbitant ticket price increases.
All American air carriers shall abide by the following standards to ensure the safety, security and comfort of their passengers:
Establish procedures to respond to all passenger complaints within 24 hours and with appropriate resolution within 2 weeks.
Notify passengers within ten minutes of a delay of known diversions, delays and cancellations via airport overhead announcement, on aircraft announcement, and posting on airport television monitors.
Establish procedures for returning passengers to terminal gate when delays occur so that no plane sits on the tarmac for longer than three hours without connecting to a gate.
Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than 3 hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities, and access to medical attention.
Provide for the needs of disabled, elderly and special needs passengers by establishing procedures for assisting with the moving and retrieving of baggage, and the moving of passengers from one area of airport to another at all times by airline personnel.
Publish and update monthly on the company’s public web site a list of chronically delayed flights, meaning those flight delayed thirty minutes or more, at least forty percent of the time, during a single month.
Compensate “bumped” passengers or passengers delayed due to flight cancellations or postponements of over 12 hours by refund of 150% of ticket price.
The formal implementation of a Passenger Review Committee, made up of non-airline executives and employees but rather passengers and consumers – that would have the formal ability to review and investigate complaints.
Make lowest fare information, schedules and itineraries, cancellation policies and frequent flyer program requirements available in an easily accessed location and updated in real-time.
Ensure that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents.
Require that these rights apply equally to all airline code-share partners including international partners.