What the TSA’s new body-scanner rules mean for you

The Transportation Security Administration’s new rules for screening passengers with its controversial full-body scanners — which were quietly changed just before the busy holiday travel season — represent a significant policy reversal that could affect your next flight.
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3 TSA headlines you thought you’d never see

Don't go there. / Photo by Maxy Media - Flickr

Guess what? The TSA’s controversial full-body scanners are safe, after all.

The agency is working hard to repair its tarnished image, too. Not that it needs to; a vast majority of Americans are happy with airport security.
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Poll: Air travelers “more confused than ever” about TSA rules

With the busy Thanksgiving travel season just a few days away, a majority of air travelers say the Transportation Security Administration’s new security rules are unclear, according to a poll conducted in cooperation with the Consumer Travel Alliance.

A weekend survey of 547 air travelers found 56 percent of respondents were “more confused than ever” about the TSA rules, which include new name-matching requirements, a ban on printer cartridges and enhanced pat-down procedures for passengers who refuse full-body scans.

Just over 40 percent of the respondents said they felt “about the same” as before, when it comes to the TSA requirements. Only 3 percent said the rules were clear, and that they were less confused than before.

The results come at time when the issue of full-body scans has snowballed into a national issue. The TSA is aggressively pushing back against travelers who opt out of the scans and pat-downs, escorting them from the airport and, in extreme cases, threatening them with fines for allegedly refusing to cooperate.
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When will full-body scans become mandatory?

If you’re a fan of conspiracy theories, you might suspect the latest terror scare is just another cleverly-timed event that pushes us toward mandatory full-body scans at the airport — not unlike the clumsy underwear bomber, who conveniently ended a lively debate about the privacy problems of strip-search machines.

If you aren’t a conspiracy theorist, then last weekend’s foiled bomb plot will just strike you as an interesting coincidence. Which it certainly is.

No matter who you are, though, the happenings of the last two weeks, which include the Transportation Security Administration’s imposition of new enhanced pat-down procedures for passengers who refuse the full-body scans, the terrorism scare, and a pilot who refused to undergo the TSA’s new screening, all lead to the same question: When will the government force us to go through these new machines?

Probably a lot sooner than we think.
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