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Court orders non-compliant TSA to hold public hearings on full-body scanners

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The US Circuit Court of Appeals is ordering the TSA to explain why it's failed to comply with a July, 2011 order to hold public hearings on so-called "nude" scanners at airports. The order is in response to a petition filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

scanner backscatter (tsa)
scanner backscatter (tsa)

It’s been more than a year since a DC circuit court ordered TSA to hold public "notice-and-comment" rulemaking hearings for its Whole Body Imaging "nude" scanners, but the transportation authority still hasn’t complied. Now, the US Circuit Court of Appeals is issuing another order, this time demanding that the Department of Homeland Security (which oversees the TSA) explain within the month why it hasn't obeyed the original order, reports Wired.

Passengers have had no chance to participate in the TSA's rulemaking

The new order comes in response to a petition filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) on July 17th, asking the court to compel the TSA to abide by the July, 2011 ruling. The petition was supported by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and others, which filed an amicus brief in support. The parties argue that despite the scanners' far-reaching effects, citizens haven't participated at all in the rulemaking governing their use.

Despite both mounting legal pressure and public concerns surrounding safety and privacy, rather than slowing down its adoption of the controversial security technology, the TSA is accelerating it. The brief mentioned above notes that "the TSA’s purchase of hundreds of new scanners after this Court’s July 2011 decision in EPIC suggests the agency intends to continue doing as it pleases without regard to public input or duly enacted laws."