As we’ve indicated umpteen times (yes, I, too get tired of having to use that phrase) and as the TSA itself indicates on its own website, photographing, videotaping, or otherwise recording at the TSA checkpoint is legal.
The only time it isn’t legal is when a specific airport indicates by a public sign that that particular airport in that particular jurisdiction has regulations against it. And that’s very few airports.
Nevertheless, TSA agents routinely lie to passengers and tell them that recording is illegal, as they did in the case of 3-year-old, wheelchair-bound Lucy Forck and her parents. Luckily, Lucy’s father, Nathan Forck, is a lawyer and knows his rights. So he refused to be intimidated by the blue-shirts.
But though he and his wife continued to videotape the harassment of their daughter, they didn’t videotape the faces of the TSA agents doing the harassing and lying. As photographer and civil rights activist Carlos Miller maintains, that was a mistake.
We are paying these people. We are paying their salaries. They are there to serve us, not the other way around. And we have every right to photograph/tape/record them.
In addition, if what the TSA is doing is so benign, then what’s the problem? What are security apologists and civil liberties naysayers always telling us: if you’re not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to hide. Fine. If the TSA agents aren’t doing anything wrong, then they have nothing to hide. On the contrary, they should be glad someone’s recording their interactions. Because then they have evidence for those times they claim passengers are lying.
But instead, what we get, time and time again, is TSA bullying and intimidation.
So let me repeat what Carlos Miller urges: take pictures. Take videos. Take audio. And get the faces and names of the TSA agents harassing you on those recordings. Then publicize them, the way Lucy Forck’s mother, Annie Schulte, did. Get the information out there.
It’s not to shame the TSA agents: you can’t shame the shameless. It’s to have a record of what was done.
(Photo: MartyPG13/Flickr Creative Commons)