Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Rebekka Murphy


In the beginning of 2011, the United States Transportation and Security Administration ("TSA") gave notice that it would begin using Advanced Imaging Technology ("AIT") to screen all passengers travelling in airports. While the TSA has an unquestionably important function of detecting on-body explosives and thereby augments flight safety, the use of AIT has been controversial and has raised health concerns. This Note analyzes the special needs doctrine and argues TSA officials must have a reasonable suspicion before scanning passengers so long as AIT health effects are not properly understood. Until independent scientific research can establish that advanced imaging technologies do not pose long term health risks, the TSA violates the Fourth Amendment by conducting suspicionless searches.