TSA chief John Pistole said Thursday the agency is looking at new technology such as scanner images that show passengers as “stick figures” and security methods used in Israeli airports as part of his pledge to make air travel “as minimally invasive as possible.”
Some of the nation’s biggest airports are responding to recent public outrage over security screening by weighing whether they should hire private firms such as Covenant to replace the Transportation Security Administration. Sixteen airports, including San Francisco and Kansas City International Airport, have made the switch since 2002. One Orlando airport has approved the change but needs to select a contractor, and several others are seriously considering it.
We need to scuttle the TSA’s equal-risk policy in favor of one that concentrates on genuine potential risks.
Each passenger wiould be categorized into one of three risk groups, and then screened accordingly. Biometric proof-of-identity, such as a fingerprint or encoded passport, will be checked against a stored profile containing various personal data, and also against passenger watch lists. This, together with flight booking data, will determine which of three screening lines a traveler is then assigned to.
Wednesday afternoon, Orlando International Airport officials took their first step toward getting rid of TSA workers. The federal agency would still oversee screening, but a private contractor would conduct it.
North Americans would be better off focusing efforts on “sophisticated intelligence gathering and analysis, coupled with observing non-verbal behaviour.”
Out of 14 million passengers during the year, there might be zero to five or so terrorists. To find them by checking everyone else in that huge group more or less equally is virtually certain to fail, especially because terrorists have the choice of so many tactics.