The Transportation Security Administration decided to eliminate the five options for physical pat-downs after a study by the Department of Homeland Security showed that the TSA failed 95% of TSA security tests conducted by undercover agents.
Last year, the TSA discovered 3,391 firearms in carry-ons, an increase since 2015. A universal pat-down procedure will be utilized and will apply to pilots and flight attendants as well. The pat-downs have been criticized before due to their humiliating and invasive nature.
Further changes to the pat-down procedure include airport employees receiving more random checks, “inspection of the head, neck, arms, torso, legs, and feet“, and inspection of head covering, groin, breasts, and buttocks (although the genitals are not to be touched). Those who opt out of technological screening are subject to these new pats downs and even those with TSA Pre-check may be patted down as well.
TSA’s Bruce Anderson spoke with Bloomberg and stated that the new procedure will not increase security delays but that it may slow down those who get patted down. However, one can request a private screening with a witness if needed.
One more update that the TSA has with their technology is the possibility of replacing ten year old technology with CT technology to produce 3-D images for airport screenings. The radiation used for the CT scans will be the same previous technology by use of radiation shields and can detect explosives in laptops, liquids, and gels.
Given the millions of people who go through airport security, it is important to improve the methods of screening but there is a balance of the preservation of our Fourth Amendment right and security that should be maintained.