November 21, 2013 6 Comments
My case against the TSA’s nude body scanners and invasive pat-downs has had an interesting month after court officials accidentally posted one of my sealed briefs — containing secret and embarrassing TSA documents — which was later published by the media. I was then ordered not to talk about the contents of those leaked docs, even though, by now, tens of millions of people have read about them. The TSA then unilaterally declared that it has the right to edit and file my own briefs for me.
Pending before the court now is another motion filed under seal, listed on the public docket as “MOTION to compel filed by Respondent Transportation Security Administration…”
I have a copy of the motion, but I’m prohibited by court order from publishing it here (and it appears the clerk’s office has learned how not to accidentally post sealed documents). A “motion to compel,” as a general matter, is a request for a court to order someone to do something. Why would the TSA need to do this under seal? I unfortunately can’t answer that question for you yet. What I can say is that I filed my opposition to the motion today and asked the court to unseal the motion in its entirety.
The TSA is not an organization that needs to operate in secrecy. “Security through obscurity” — a security mechanism that requires its operations to be hidden — doesn’t work, because people always find out how things work. It is universally derided in the tech security world, and the same logic applies to physical security. The alternative is to open your security model such that experts all over the world can review it, identify issues, and fix them. That’s the security we need. It’s too bad the TSA doesn’t feel the same way.