TSA Mission Creep

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
TSA expands searches of Parked cars at airports 
They can strip you, pat you down, feel you up, take pictures, steal your luggage, read your emails, listen to phone calls and now search your car.
A New York woman who valeted her car at Greater Rochester International Airport returned to find a notice on her car informing her that it had been searched without her consent. 
She got in touch with a local TV station, and the story went viral. TSA quickly put out a statement saying that its agents don’t search cars, but searches are included in TSA’s security plan.
Mother Jones has found that not only does TSA approve searches of the trunks and interior of unattended cars in an undefined perimeter that’s considered close to the airport, but if a valet attendant finds illegal drugs instead of bombs they will call the police. 
Privacy experts say these searches could be a violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment rights.
The problem occurs when cars are searched without the driver’s consent. “If you pop your trunk, you’ve consented to the government looking into your car, and you’ve waived your Fourth Amendment right,” says Ben Wizner, the director of ACLU’s speech, privacy & technology project. “But no court has ever indicated that TSA can conduct unwarranted searches, without suspicion, for anything other than explosives at the checkpoints where people are actually getting on the plane…this raises serious constitutional questions.”  
The policy, which first came to light earlier this summer after complaints from people who found notes inside their cars which read, “your vehicle has been inspected under TSA regulations,” continues to cause confusion and stoke concern amongst privacy advocates.
When the story first broke, the TSA was quick to deflect responsibility by explaining that although, “the plan is approved by the TSA, it is up to each airport authority and its state and local law enforcement partners to follow the plan that has been implemented.”
At some airports the searches are being conducted with no notification whatsoever. Also disturbing is that the details of the policies vary and are left up to each airport independently without any legal vetting.
Critics have lambasted TSA and airports that participate in this policy for entrusting searches of vehicles to valet parking attendants, who wouldn’t normally be considered to be highly trained in bomb detection skills.
“Take note of that, America. Your safety is guaranteed by a crack security team composed of valets,” wrote  TechDirt’s Tim Cushing
This is just more TSA mission creep. First it’s keeping weapons off planes, then keeping a safe perimeter around airports, and then soon, you have justification for searching cars in front of any building, anywhere.
As Benjamin Franklin said. … if we give up liberty for security we will have neither.  
Qantas steward to launch landmark pesticides lawsuit
Flyers fume over planes treated with pesticides
Long haul flight attendants who have been forced to spray insecticide throughout aircraft cabins every time they landed in Australia fear the chemicals may have given them Parkinson’s disease.
Former Qantas steward Brett Vollus has been diagnosed with the disease and is preparing a legal action against the Australian government, which enforces the need for spraying to prevent disease.
Experts have warned that international frequent flyers exposed to repeated doses of insecticide within an enclosed aircraft cabin could also face the same risk.
“We all blindly sprayed this insecticide as we landed in Australia after every long-haul flight. Why wasn’t I warned that it could give me this disease?” he said.
Mr. Vollus, 52, worked as flight attendant with Qantas for 27 years until May this year and was referred to a neurosurgeon as the symptoms of Parkinson’s began. 
The spraying was mandated by the Australian government on World Health Organization guidelines to prevent the spread of insect-borne diseases such as malaria. Known as “aircraft disinsection”, such spraying has been in practice since the 1920s.
Australia’s Transport Workers’ Union said it would consider filing a class action on behalf of the nation’s aircraft workers if a health link could be established with insecticides, urging anyone with such concerns to come forward.
Airline Passengers Sprayed for Bugs
A flight to the tropics may involve greater health risks than a dose of airline food. Pesticides are routinely sprayed in aircraft cabins by U.S. airlines sometimes over the heads of passengers during flight.  Disinsection continues despite evidence of risk to passengers and crew. 
The United States ended the in-flight spraying of insecticides in passenger cabins of arriving airliners in 1979, after determining that the health danger it posed outweighed any benefits. But the United States cannot forbid other governments from requiring spraying aboard airliners.
To counter disease-bearing pests, certain governments require flight attendants to spray d-phenothrin, an insecticide that has a low toxicity to humans, 30 minutes before landing at airports in the Caribbean, South America and South Pacific. The ventilation system must be turned off as flight attendants walk down the aisle spraying the insecticide into the air.  
Six countries: Australia, Barbados, Fiji, Jamaica, New Zealand and Panama require the use of residual pesticides. In this case every surface in the cabin is sprayed with a solution that contains 2% permethrin. 
This process takes place shortly before crew and passengers board, without their knowledge. Babies and children are said to be more sensitive to the effects of permethrin. Once an aircraft has been residually treated, foreign quarantine officials will allow it to land without additional pesticide treatment for the next 56 days.
Alternatively, passengers on US domestic flights may find themselves on an airliner that has just been sprayed. United Airlines, for example, treats all of its 747-400 aircraft in Hong Kong. These aircraft are not restricted to the South Pacific routes; they are simply scheduled to fly to Australia or New Zealand during the next 56 days, but in the meantime, can be flown on both international and domestic routes.
The International Civil Aviation Organization reports that most airlines use permethrin and pyrethroid, both are suspected endocrine disruptors, and permethrin may be a carcinogen. The Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) points out that pesticides cause even greater harm on airplanes, where up to 50% of the air in the cabins is recycled.
The airlines are not required to inform passengers at time of ticketing of flight sprays, and there is also no control over how much pesticide is applied. 
The Association of Flight Attendants reported in 2001 that one airline used 50-60% more pesticide than the maximum recommended by the World Health Organization. Between 2000 and 2001, one cabin crew union received complaints of pesticide-related illness on more than 200 flights. 
The Association of Flight Attendants suggests that passengers contact the airline to find out if pesticides will be sprayed on their flight, or if they will be boarding a “residually sprayed” craft. The U.S. Department of Transportation website also lists countries that require spray.
More Skepticism on Airline Merger
On Monday, USAirways and American completed their deal to create the world’s biggest airline.
The American Antitrust Institute (AAI)
released a White Paper questioning the ‘efficiencies’ claimed by the airlines.

The merger was consummated less than four weeks after the Justice Department negotiated an eleventh-hour settlement with the carriers.

Previous airline mergers have been accompanied by fare increases and capacity cutbacks, with harsh effects on medium size and smaller cities.

The AAI study looks at the track record on the benefits that were claimed by carriers in previous large airline mergers, including Delta-Northwest, United-Continental, and Southwest-AirTran.

They doubt the carriers can actually deliver cost savings and benefits. AAI opposes the USAirways-American merger on the grounds that it would likely harm competition and consumers.

Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights said, “American and USAirways merged yesterday with court approval before the legally required public comment period mandated before settlements of the Justice Department can be approved, under the Tunney Act.”

He added, “This makes a mockery of the intent of this law and shows once again the political power of airlines to persuade both the Obama Administration and the courts to ignore public and passenger views.” 
Last Call for Comments
on FlyersRights’ New Passenger Bill of Rights!

A reminder that tomorrow is last day for member comments on the Passenger Bill of Rights before it is finalized and presented to DOT and Congress next week. Please email to Paul Hudson, [globetrotter1947 at].
Special for You!

Just In Time For The Holidays
Founder of FlyersRights Kate Hanni’s husband, Tim, is a prominent wine expert in Napa Valley and North America’s First Master of Wine.  
He has a new book out that’s making a splash in the wine industry and beyond, “Why You Like The Wines You Like.” 
Order signed copies before December 18th and you will get them in plenty of time for Christmas!
Tim will sign copies and donate 10% of the proceeds from all of his sales for the month of December to FlyersRights!  
A great holiday gift for the wine lover and for anyone interested in a fascinating look at sensory perception and human behaviors.  This makes a perfect gift for anyone who enjoys wine at any level – especially interesting for sweet wine lovers and also a way to give a gift to the “overzealous” wine aficionado (dare we say wine snob?) in your life!
· Single signed copies are $28.00 and this includes priority shipping.
· 5 signed copies are $115.00, including priority mail shipping.
· Single, unsigned copies can be purchased directly from for $22.50 with whatever shipping Amazon charges.
Also, why not pickup some fine wines from our Napa Valley wine shop for your holiday table!
Recent book reviews:

Kate Hanni, who gave six years of her life to airline passengers rights and her husband Tim Hanni, Master of Wine have been asked to present an audition tape and application to “The Amazing Race”.  
If they win the $1,000,000 prize they will give a handsome donation to FlyersRights which would help secure us into the future. 
Kate and Tim are recent empty-nesters and they really want to get chosen to compete in the Amazing Race. Please watch the video and have your friends watch it and “like” it with a thumbs up to show the producers that they have the public’s support to be on the show! 
Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights

Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights

Please consider an “end of the year” tax write-off donation to our 501(c)3

Founded by Kate Hanni in 2007, FlyersRights
 is funded completely through donations and our Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) charity, to which contributions are tax deductible.
Thank you. 



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