Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts in Security Theater

A man is suing the TSA after he says he opened his suitcase to find his mother’s ashes dumped out.

According to court documents, Mr. Thomas had followed all of the guidelines and properly packed his mother’s “heavy and sturdy” urn inside of his suitcase for check-in.

The urn was tightly screwed closed and he says it was packed with extra clothing for padding and protection.

But when he arrived in Puerto Rico, he found his mother ashes dumped inside of the suitcase, all over his clothing and with a TSA notice of inspection.

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A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) uses its Secure Flight Program to give many government employees special treatment.

In addition to members of Congress and federal judges, millions of employees of the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and intelligence agencies are automatically being considered low risk. As a result, they’re able to use the less invasive and more convenient Pre-Check line at the airport.

As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has pointed out, this program creates something of a caste system in which government employees get special privileges, while civilians placed in the high or unknown risk categories can’t even find out the rationale for their categorization. “Ultimately,” the ACLU argues, “when we start rewarding or punishing people because of who they are, as opposed to what they’ve done, we drift farther from the principles at the heart of our Constitution.”

There’s no need to complain when you get the perks no one else does. Read the report below.

Download (PDF, 3.37MB)

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Daniel Boykin, 33, of Meigs Drive in Murfreesboro, has been charged with unlawful photography, aggravated burglary, wiretapping, unlawful telephone recording and two computer crimes.

WKRN News 2

Police say Boykin was infatuated with the victim, whom he allegedly recorded while she was on her phone in the restroom. That’s why he’s been charged with unlawful telephone recording and wiretapping.

Detectives also say Boykin went into the victim’s Nashville home on multiple occasions and took data from her computers and electronic devices.

There is no evidence any public restroom facilities were targeted by Boykin.

No need to worry, Boykin doesn’t look at everyone, only women he’s infatuated with.

According to the TSA, Boykin resigned before he could be terminated when the investigation began.

In a statement released to News 2 Tuesday, TSA officials stated, “This individual is no longer employed by the agency. TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace.”

They also noted that Boykin worked in an administrative role and had no interaction with the general public, and that the restroom involved in the investigation was only open to TSA officials.

Well, don’t we all feel better now?

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Julian Sanchez joins Trevor Burrus and Matthew Feeney for a discussion on the surveillance state. If the government’s been spying on us for decades, what’s new now? Why is bulk data collection so particularly nefarious? What is metadata anyway, and what does the government do with it? Does the government actually catch terrorists through mass surveillance? Why do people treat terrorism differently from other violent crimes? The defenders of surveillance always say “if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to be afraid of” —does this justification hold water?

Julian Sanchez is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, where he studies issues at the busy intersection of technology, privacy, and civil liberties, with a particular focus on national security and intelligence surveillance.

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The original video from the TSA is below.

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