TSA Launches 'Enhanced Pat Down'

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has officially rolled out a new "enhanced pat down." The procedure was earlier tested at airports in Boston and Las Vegas.

The new pat down involves a more aggressive, palms-forward method where TSA screeners run their hands down the body of passengers. Previously, security officers used the back of their hands on sensitive areas such as the torso.

Pat downs are conducted on a random basis. In addition, passengers who opt not to go through controversial full body scanning machines, which release a small amount of radiation, can opt for a hand search and screening with a standard metal detector.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts expressed concern during the test at Boston's Logan International Airport over the summer, a spokesman telling the Boston Herald the new procedure seemed to amount to an "erosion of privacy, and we wonder whether or not it's really going to be effective."

The TSA says pat downs are designed to find dangerous items such as explosives and bomb parts that can be concealed on the body, and that the agency continually reviews and updates its procedures.

Photo, eyeliam, flickr
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