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January 31, 2011


Phil Mocek Acquitted on TSA’s No-ID and Recording Charges

In November 2009, Phil Mocek (@pmocek) was arrested by Albuquerque Police at Albuquerque Airport for not providing a piece of identification, and recording the TSA process on camera (video below). In the US, one’s right to fly is guaranteed by Federal Laws and the Constitution, and as long as you do not break any other laws, local or state police cannot legally prevent you from flying.

Mocek was charged with things like criminal trespass, refusing to obey an officer, concealing his identity, and disorderly conduct. On 21 January 2011, he was acquitted on all charges by a jury without the defense having to call any witnesses or provide any evidence. The prosecution’s case simply did not stand up.

In a previous court case against another man who refused to show ID, the TSA admitted that there is actually no law that requires travelers to present ID in order to be able to fly. In the US, it is also perfectly legal to record video in public areas of the airport, despite what signs, staff or police may claim.

This case is reminiscent of John Tyner, who was thrown out of San Diego Airport for refusing the new TSA (grope) patdown. Note that you may want to familiarise yourself with the relevant laws regarding ID and recording in your own country.

Full details are available here. Well done to Phil for protecting his rights, and in the process, all of ours as well. Speaking of TSA security measures, I thought this recent Dilbert comic was particularly fitting.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 31 2011

    The “public right of freedom of transit” by air is guaranteed by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, and the TSA is required by Federal law (49 USC § 40101) to consider this right when it issues regulations. Freedom of movement is required in order for us to exercise our right to assemble, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment. Freedom of movement is also guaranteed by Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a human rights treaty signed and ratified by the United States.


    (c) General Safety Considerations. — In carrying out subpart III of this part and those provisions of subpart IV applicable in carrying out subpart III, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall consider the following matters:

    (1) the requirements of national defense and commercial and general aviation.
    (2) the public right of freedom of transit through the navigable airspace.

  2. Jan 31 2011

    Thanks Phil, I’m sure that this is something that many people are not aware of!

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  1. TSO interaction today: "I am a federal officer, I can detain you" - Page 6 - FlyerTalk Forums

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