The Supreme Court has refused to hear a case brought against the TSA over its use of so called naked body scanners by an engineer who proved that the machines were useless.
As reported by AP and Reuters today, the high court declined to hear the appeal brought by Michigan activist Jonathan Corbett, saying that the case can only be filed with the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.
The Supreme Court refused to reopen the case after The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous dismissal by federal courts in Florida.
Corbett, who runs the blog TSA Out Of Our Pants, argued that the use of the screening techniques by the federal agency violates Fourth Amendment rights, specifically protection against illegal searches. As such, Corbett became the first person in the country to sue the TSA for invasion of privacy.
Corbett’s lawsuit, which also challenged the TSA’s use of enhanced pat downs at airport security lines, hit headlines earlier this year after he posted a video of himself demonstrating how the body scanners can easily be bypassed.
The clip shows surveillance camera footage of Corbett passing through a body scanner with a metallic object attached to his shirt without being apprehended by TSA agents, illustrating how the federal agency’s $1 billion dollar fleet of scanning machines are completely useless.
Corbett performed the same stunt at both Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Cleveland-Hopkins, after which the TSA ordered both airports not to release footage of the incidents.
The TSA described Corbett as “some guy” who had launched a “crude attempt to allegedly show how to circumvent TSA screening procedures.”
The agency failed to even address the fact that Corbett had proven the body scanners could be easily defeated, and then it threatened journalists not to cover the story.
Corbett has continued his efforts to expose flaws in the body scanner program by interviewing TSA whistleblowers who have admitted that the scanners routinely fail to pick up prohibited items such as knives, guns and powder designed to resemble explosive material. Corbett also recently testified in a congressional hearing on the scanners.
Corbett also has a pending a lawsuit against the TSA for unlawfully detaining him at FLL airport after he refused to undergo an enhanced patdown.
Corbett’s case was provided increased gravitas when a recent Homeland Security report noted that federal investigators have “identified vulnerabilities in the screening process” involving the scanners.