Random bag searches on public transit haven't stopped a single terrorist attack, but they do inconvenience travelers -- and violate their rights. So why is the Washington Metro Transit Police subjecting passengers to them?
"It's another 'public relations security system,'" security specialist Bruce Schneir wrote when other cities proposed the same idea. "It's a waste of money, it substantially reduces our liberties, and it won't make us any safer."
Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn says the random bag searches -- which began December 21 outside metro stations across the Washington, DC-area -- are intended to stop "the bad guys." But as critics have pointed out, any bad guy with a bomb isn't going to be dissuaded by an easily avoided random bag check. The searches will, however, ensure a lot of travelers have their rights violated in the name of security theater.
Join the D.C. Bill of Rights Coalition and other concerned citizens in calling for an end to invasive searches of public transit passengers in the nation's capital.
Security experts agree that these sort of searches do not make us safer -- and that they may in fact be counterproductive by diverting limited police resources away from investigating actual threats. The searches also violate our right to be protected from searches without probable cause. Please put a halt to them immediately.