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This Just In: Amtrak Is Just Curious About What’s Inside Your Purse, Ma’am

Over at the law blog Concurring Opinions, Daniel Solove points to an AP article reporting that “Amtrak will start randomly screening passengers' carry-on bags this week in a new security push that includes officers with automatic weapons and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling platforms and trains.” Solove sees a parallel between this and the New York subway’s security push, which he says was “largely symbolic.” As the head of Amtrak said, “[t]here is no new or different specific threat” that led Amtrak to add the new security measures, lending credence to Solove’s conclusion. It’s not clear what effect random searches of passengers’ carry-on bags will have beyond simple deterrence, though that seems to be offset by the apparent decision not to screen checked bags. Forcing people to undergo random warrantless searches of personal property makes me a little queasy – and more likely to take Greyhound next time I’m going to New York.

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