US airline passengers in airport security screening areas can be searched at any time, and may no longer refuse to be searched by leaving the airport, according to a ruling today by the nation's largest federal appeals court. Snip from summary at Wired News Threat Level blog:
The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the circuit's 34-year-old precedent that over time was evolving toward limiting when passengers could refuse a search and leave the airport after they had checked their bags or placed items on the security screening X-ray machine. Citing threats of terrorism, the court ruled passengers give up all rights to be free of warrantless searches once a "passenger places hand luggage on a conveyor belt for inspection" or "passes though a magnetometer."Link to blog post, Link to PDF of court decision.