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"Enhanced Patdown" of Air Travelers Questioned

Transportation Security Administration employee John Carter demonstrates the stance in an advanced image technology unit as TSA supervisory officer Diana Hernandez operates the machine at Boston Logan International Airport, Friday, March 5, 2010, in Boston.
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is questioning the propriety of stepped-up security checkpoint procedures at airports in Boston and Las Vegas.

The Boston Herald reports that Transportation Security Administration screeners at Logan International Airport are testing what one official called an "enhanced patdown." It lets screeners use a palms-forward, slide-down search procedure on passengers' bodies.

It replaces the old back-of-the-hand patdown for passengers who don't want to go through full-body scanning machines.

The TSA says the new procedure is also being tested at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas before a national rollout.

The ACLU questions whether the new technique is effective enough to justify what it calls a "seemingly constant erosion of privacy."