A little blurb on airport passengers screening in the Washington Post caught my eye today:
AMSTERDAM — The airline industry has presented its vision for a security ‘checkpoint of the future,’ which would speed up safety checks by sorting passengers according to the level of risk they pose.
Under the system, airlines would make use of passport and other information to categorize a passenger as a frequent traveler, normal or ‘enhanced risk,’ and then steer them toward different checks. All passengers would walk through scanning corridors without stopping, unpacking their bags or stripping off clothing unless they trigger an alarm…
With the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) having diffused my main privacy concerns by rolling out (or at least promising to roll out) filtering software on full body scanners, I can actually picture myself walking through one without slowing down like the article hints above.
Of course the machines still have not been proven effective and the raft of legal concerns that would come with profiling passengers based on travel patterns and other behaviors is cause for concern.
But there is something that appeals me to about not even stopping on my walk from the airport ticket counter to the gate. Surely a world that decoded the human genome, sent a man to the moon, and developed cures for countless diseases can find a way to more smoothly and effectively screen passengers in a manner that properly balances civil liberties with security while providing more than just the false illusion of security.
The status quo will be hard to break, but I hope that as screening continues to evolve we can do away with the ridiculous security theatre currently on display in the United States and embrace a type of screening that refrains from burdening passengers for no other reason than to justify the existence of a bloated federal agency or provide a false sense of security to those who refuse think about the issue critically.