Extraordinary of screening and profiling has contributed
Extraordinary challenges require extraordinary measures. The terrorist attacks onAmerica on September 11, 2001 required that we reform our nation’s aviation security system in fundamental ways.
Three years after the Sept. 11 tragedies, how far has airport and airlines come? It depends on the source. While it is important for airports to heighten security after the attacks of 9/11, the policies of profiling passengers are inadequate and a necessitate revision. The most visible changes to boost airport securities may be on the airplanes themselves.
Many planes have installed bulletproof, locked cockpit doors to secure the pilot and crew from the rest of the plane. Increased securities at airports have come along more slowly. The Transportation Security Administration has been unable to fully staff airports with federal screeners, have delayed mandatory baggage screening deadlines multiple times, and have overrun a $350 million budget (TSA). The only way that airlines will be able to recover from the massive economic setbacks they have suffered as a result of the attack is to make an attempt to combine customer service and security.
Most of the American public that has flown since 9/11 has been willing to put up with delays, personal searches, and increased security procedures (Young). New airport security measures have added unnecessary inconveniences and hassles. Airport security screeners need to carefully examine alternative screening measures for the future (Young). They need to do a better job in this whole process of screening and also profiling potential terrorists. The process of screening and profiling has contributed to numerous complaints from passengers who have been selected for additional screening. Passenger profiling at the airport should not be the sole means of protecting our flying public from would-be terrorists. If a present security measure is found to prevent potential customers from flying without providing a meaningful prevention to terrorism, that measure should be relaxed or eliminated.
Passengers profiling should be utilized in conjunction with information received from our intelligence community. Close examination and revision of this system is obviously necessary. Our current profiling system is based on a computer program that was developed several years ago. Many people have begun submitting formal comments to the Privacy Office of the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security, urging it to stop airline passenger screening programs that are administered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). These programs allow travel authorities to access personal information about each passenger from government and commercial databases (Privacy Activism). Authorities who rely on these systems run the risk of misidentifying individuals and “tagging” them as security risks. Some passengers have even been forbidden to board planes (Street Beat). Travel authorities believe that this sensitive data will help identify potential threats to passengers aboard airplanes.
The Department of Justice has reviewed this program and concluded that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or national origin (DOJ). While we can take comfort in the fact that the computer is not discriminating, what people really want in security screening is a process that has a little bit of sense. When observing the security measures at any airport it can be seen that the elderly, children, and the disabled are also being selected by the computer profile. Does this make any sense? It seems like the screeners are banned from selecting anyone who actually is a terrorist.
The Homeland Security Department’s plan to sacrifice the privacy and civil liberties of travelers without a logical connection to safety and security is dangerous. Passenger profiling schemes should not be used until its supports address serious questions about privacy, due process, accuracy, and effectiveness. The potential for government abuse of personal information in the context of travel security is no longer a theory but instead a frightening reality. Profiling, if properly done, can enhance aviation security, but I am concerned that as it is currently employed it is hindering the public confidence in our security system.
A lesson that can be learned from the chaos created by the government in the name of securing our airports is that the public needs to help by playing a role in providing a safe environment in our airports, at home, and on the streets.Works CitedMica, John. A Balance “Profiling” System Could Improve Aviation Security In the United States. 2/27/2002, 4/25/2004, www.house.gov/transportation/press/press2002/release195.htmlPrivacy Activism.
Passenger Profiling Violates Rights, Doesn’t Improve Safety. 4/19/2004, 4/25/2004, www.privacyactivism.orgSecurity Beat. Airport Security since 9/11: How far have we come? 9/22/2002, 4/25/2004, www.Transportationsec.com 2004, Primedia Business Magazine and Media, a PRIMEDIA companyThe United States Department of Justice (DOJ).
Civil Rights ; Liberties Violations 10/19/2003, 1/25/2005, http://www.usdoj.gov/civilliberties.
htmTransportation Security Administration (TSA). Traveler: Air travel in the United States. 1/25/2005, www.tsa.
gov/public/display?theme=175U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Travel ; Transportation: What to expect at airport security. 1/25/2005, www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?theme=20;content=3096