Court orders TSA to set rules for full-body airport scanners

Did you think the Transport Security Administration was reckless when it started installing full-body scanners at airports several years ago? So did the Competitive Enterprise Institute -- and the libertarian think tank just won a legal victory that could make the TSA clean up its act. In the wake of a lawsuit, the US Court of Appeals has ordered the TSA to finalize a rulemaking schedule for the scanners by November 22nd. The agency was supposed to have established rules for the scanners before it even installed them, but it has dragged its heels ever since -- even a 2011 order to "promptly" establish rules didn't do much. With this ruling, the TSA doesn't have much of a choice.

Provided the TSA honors the deadline, the verdict might just curb its use of the scanners, which some say are too invasive. The security body will have to justify how and why it uses the machines, and open itself to the same public commentary that you see with other kinds of government rulemaking. It's doubtful that you'll avoid the scanners entirely, but the TSA may have to give you more exceptions or think twice about some of its deployments.

[Image credit: David McNew/Getty Images]