According to an article posted on the New York Times website this week, tough airport screening procedures may get a face lift. After much scrutiny over security check point screenings at airports many different organizations (U.S. Travel Association and International Air Transport Association were specifically quoted) are proposing new procedures be put in place to give certain travelers the right to bypass those annoying and sometimes very intrusive airport screenings.
The article states that, “A crucial part of the group’s ‘checkpoint of the future’ proposal, and similar plans under discussion by other industry organizations, is creating a trusted traveler program that would allow passengers to undergo a background check to gain access to an expedited security lane at the airport.” The article goes on to say that travelers that want to be apart of the program will have to go through an application process, which will have certain fees attached to it, but in the end the travelers that are approved will be clear from the intrusive airport screenings.
Even though there are proposals on the table, the risks are not very far away. The fact that every country is different and has their own needs and resources, costs associated with making travelers feel safe and the ability to keep a certain level of privacy and protection of individual rights are all concerns that make changing the current procedures a long process. Making sure every “t” is crossed and “i” is dotted is a big deal when it comes to airport security.
While there are risks about creating a program like this; John Pistole, head of the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), is open to ideas and understands the need for a trusted travelers program. A spokesman from the TSA said, “If people have ideas, [John Pistole] wants to hear them because he’s looking at ways to make changes.” Robert Poole, director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation finished the article by being quoted saying, “For the first time since 9/11, I think we have the conditions where it might be politically possible to have a serious debate about [airport security]”
Read the full article here – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/business/08security.html?_r=1
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