The Transportation Security Administration has adopted "enhanced" security procedures — presenting people with the horrible choice of either submitting to body scanners that show passengers unclothed or submit to what are called "groping" pat-down techniques which include touching both breasts and genitalia. As some have noted these processes appear to have little likelihood of increasing the safety of fliers.
Individuals appalled by these procedures have a right to submit formal complaints to the TSA. It is important the passengers and crew submit complaints to showcase the widespread resistance to these procedures. TSA maintains that they have seen no increase in complaints about the new security procedures. EFF will be filing FOIA requests to test this claim, but in the meantime we wanted to make sure that people who wished to complain knew how to make their thoughts and feelings heard.
How to Complain About TSA’s Invasive Screening Procedures
Online Forms and iPhone Apps
You can submit a formal complaint against the TSA about the new body scanners and frisking techniques by filling out the form on their website. Select "Inappropriate Screening/Pat Down Screening" from the drop down list.
Survey on the Spot is a third party survey company that conducts feedback surveys for the TSA. Access the survey online or through an iPhone app. To submit a complaint, search for "TSA" in the text block. You will then select the TSA location closest to you. You will be asked, among other things, to:
- Rate the thoroughness of the passenger screening you received.
- Rate your confidence in the TSA’s ability to keep air travel secure.
- Should body-scan technology be used in passenger screening?
At the end of the survey, you will have a chance to submit a free text complaint. It is unclear whether these responses are compiled with other complaints, so it is important that you fill out the TSA-designed complaint as well.
My TSA is an iPhone app produced by the Transportation Security Administration. Select "About" in the upper right hand corner, then select "Provide Feedback to TSA." You’ll be able to submit a free text complaint of up to 4,000 characters.
Other Ways to Complain
When you are at the airport, you have a right to complain to a supervisor at the security screening. If you don’t want to speak to someone while going through security, you may also complain to one of the airport’s Customer Service Managers.
You can also submit a written complaint to:
Transportation Security Administration
Office of Civil Rights and Liberties (TSA-6)
External Compliance Division
601 S. 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598
You may also submit a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
Department of Homeland Security
Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Review and Compliance
245 Murray Lane, SW
Building 410, Mail Stop #0190
Washington, DC 20528
Toll Free: 1-866-644-8360
Toll Free TTY: 1-866-644-8361
The Electronic Privacy Information Center is collecting incident reports about passenger experiences during airport security screening through an online form.
The American Civil Liberties Union is conducting a survey regarding passenger profiling during airport security screenings through an online complaint form.
Let EFF Know
If you submitted a complaint to the TSA, please send us a copy too. When you submit complaints to EFF, our lawyers will compare them to complaints we receive through Freedom of Information Act requests. We will not use it for any other purpose without your prior permission. However, if you wish to allow us to use your complaint for advocacy and public discussion purposes, you can provide us with that permission when you submit the complaint to us.
2016 update: We've ended this program. Thanks to all who shared their TSA complains with us.