Need writing help 9.28.2023 | Government homework help

Peer Response HSE 400

Scenario: You are arriving at an airport and you are confronted with the new biometrics identification system. 

Is the process violating your Fourth Amendment rights?

There has been heavy debate over whether or not biometrics violate Fourth Amendment rights. One argument is that biometrics can be utilized remotely and secretly by government authorities. However, in this scenario, biometrics are mostly used to determine if any suspects in an investigation are entering an area or around a scene of a crime. Furthermore, they are also used to identify persons of interest entering into the country at the border and in Airports such as known terrorists. So, in this case, I would say they are not violating Fourth Amendment rights as they are just ensuring the safety of public airlines. 

What if you are a foreign national, does that make a difference in the possible rights violations?

I think this just makes the usage of biometrics that much more important in this scenario so that they can confirm I am not on any watchlist or suspect list and that I am just someone visiting the country and pose no threat to national security by matching my face to any known terrorist lists. 

Does the United States- through the TSA and CBP- have the right to conduct pragmatic searches (search without having to show probable cause)?

They do this is what is known as the border search exception to the Fourth Amendment which allows law enforcement officers to conduct searches without the need for probable cause, a warrant, or even reasonable suspicion. 

What would be your recommendation to better protect the United States from possible terrorist attacks through the air if biometrics is found to be unconstitutional?

My recommendation, if biometrics were found to be unconstitutional, is to simply increase security in Airports worldwide to better detect suspicious activity in or around the airport. Secondly, I would recommend the use of canines being used in airports worldwide that have been specifically trained to be able to detect explosives. 

Works Cited

Detection canine program person-borne IED initiative fact sheet and video. S&T Detection Canine Program Person-Borne IED Initiative Fact Sheet and Video | Homeland Security. (n.d.).,as%20sitting%20or%20lying%20quietly

. Facial recognition: Potential and risk. (n.d.).

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s powers and limitations: A Primer. (n.d.-g).

Fourth Amendment Rights: Citizens of the United States are safeguarded by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which outlaws’ unlawful searches and seizures. The appropriateness of a biometric identification system at an airport is a key factor in determining whether or not it violates the Fourth Amendment. It is common practice for courts to balance an individual’s right to privacy against the state’s responsibility to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare.

Foreign National Rights: Just because someone is a foreign national does not mean they are no longer entitled to the protections of the Fourth Amendment. However, at U.S. borders and points of entry (including airports), the “border search exception” to the Fourth Amendment applies. In the interest of managing foreign business and securing its borders, the government is permitted to conduct routine searches without a warrant.

TSA and CBP Rights: Airport security personnel from the TSA and CBP are not required to have probable cause to perform random bag checks. Reasons for this include the “border search exception” and the need for heightened airport security.

Recommendation if Biometrics is Unconstitutional: In the event that biometrics are ruled unconstitutional, other options include bolstering existing screening and vetting procedures, investing in more sophisticated scanning equipment, deploying canine units for explosives detection, and increasing national and international intelligence sharing. Risks can be greatly mitigated by concerted effort and data-driven methods without intruding on individual liberties.

Source: U.S. Constitution, Fourth Amendment, and related court interpretations. 
(United States Courts, 2020)


United States Courts. (2020). 
What Does the Fourth Amendment Mean? United States Courts.

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