Cop Illegally Confiscates iPhone at TSA Checkpoint

From YouTube:

While legally filming a TSA enhanced screening pat-down at Nashville International Airport I was confronted by an Airport Police Officer and told to stop filming. The officer later removed my iPhone from my hands, despite my protests, saying “I don’t need a warrant.”

When TSA officials told him I was within my rights to shoot footage of the checkpoint, he gave the phone back to me. As I was leaving, TSA agents insisted that I could not show the footage without their permission, which is false.

This occurred at Nashville International Airport in Nashville, Tenn., Monday November 22, 2010. at 5:30pm CT.

ALSO: Blogger/photographer Steven Frischling writes that he was harassed by the TSA at Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT. While photographing TSA checkpoints, he was stopped by a Connecticut State Trooper who informed him that “photographing a TSA security checkpoint was illegal, and specifically a ‘Federal Offense.'”

Frischling knows his rights, though and informed said trooper specifically that, “the TSA publicly states that photography of checkpoints is legal, with limited restrictions.” (Uh….just how do you think all those photos of celebs going through airport security get into Us Weekly?!) The officer accused Frischling of hiding and concealing his camera, then detained him, and then another plainsclothes TSA employee in some unidentified capacity showed up — which is when Frischling speed-dialed the TSA communications office.

Less than 20 minutes after I was told I was being detained and that I was not free to leave the terminal the TSA agent approached the State Trooper, whispered something in the Trooper’s ear and I was quickly apologized to … with that both the TSA agent and the Trooper quickly leaving me alone.

The TSA has a major image problem right now, if you hadn’t heard. They’re already treading on a perilously thin line, quickly heading into invasion-of-privacy territory. So you’d think they’d train their officers, employees and the state police that work the airports of their clearly stated photography regulations. And maybe then those TSA personnel could instead focus on feeling up passengers.

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1 Response to “Cop Illegally Confiscates iPhone at TSA Checkpoint”


  1. 1 DT November 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Don’t even get me started on the TSA…

    This nonsense isn’t going to stop unless and until it becomes a felony to violate someone’s civil rights. While I’m grateful Title 42 Section 1983 is law, the simple truth is that it’s not working to deter violations like this. Most people cannot afford to see such a lawsuit through, and in the end the cop does not face any real punishment. The lawyers will pursue the employing agency which ultimately falls back on the taxpayer because that’s where the money is. The cop gets chewed out, if that.

    Now if cops faced jail time and the loss of their jobs (you can’t be a cop with a felony record) for violating civil rights, all of this would come to a rapid end. All it would take is a couple imprisoned and fired cops and every cop in the nation would get the hint.

    Good luck getting such laws passed though.


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