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NO WAY OUT

The TSA can now require you to be body scanned

Passengers make their way in a security checkpoint at the International JFK airport in New York October 11, 2014.
Reuters/Eduardo Munoz
Fewer choices at the end of the line.
David Yanofsky
By David Yanofsky

Editor of code, visuals, and data

This article is more than 2 years old.

Some US air travelers will no longer be able to opt out of going through the body scanners at TSA checkpoints. On Dec. 18, the US Department of Homeland Security issued a ”Privacy Impact Assessment Update” announcing (pdf) the change in policy.

Previously, anyone who did not wish to be analyzed by the body scanners could opt for a procedure that involved a pat-down from a TSA agent. The new policy directs that passengers who opt out will “generally” be allowed to choose a physical screening over a body scan, but the TSA now has the ability to require any passenger to be body scanned “as warranted by security considerations in order to safeguard transportation security.”

Citing “security reasons,” the TSA was unable to provide Quartz with an example of what a “warranted security consideration” might be. But an agency spokesperson told Quartz via email that mandatory scans for passengers who would prefer to opt out “will occur in a very limited number of circumstances where enhanced screening is required. The vast majority of passengers will not be affected.”

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