Thursday, 6 October 2011

Airport security - there is another way

I posted this last November  and think it's time for a re-post...

'The Star reports on why security is so much better and less intrusive at Israel's airports than in the USA (and indeed Europe). Here's an extract, do read the whole piece:

'"The first thing you do is to look at who is coming into your airport," said Sela. 
The first layer of actual security that greets travellers at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport is a roadside check. All drivers are stopped and asked two questions: How are you? Where are you coming from? 
"Two benign questions. The questions aren't important. The way people act when they answer them is," Sela said. 
Officers are looking for nervousness or other signs of "distress" — behavioural profiling. Sela rejects the argument that profiling is discriminatory. 
"The word 'profiling' is a political invention by people who don't want to do security," he said. "To us, it doesn't matter if he's black, white, young or old. It's just his behaviour. So what kind of privacy am I really stepping on when I'm doing this?" 
Once you've parked your car or gotten off your bus, you pass through the second and third security perimeters. 
Armed guards outside the terminal are trained to observe passengers as they move toward the doors, again looking for odd behaviour. At Ben Gurion's half-dozen entrances, another layer of security are watching. At this point, some travellers will be randomly taken aside, and their person and their luggage run through a magnometer. 
"This is to see that you don't have heavy metals on you or something that looks suspicious," said Sela.
You are now in the terminal. As you approach your airline check-in desk, a trained interviewer takes your passport and ticket. They ask a series of questions: Who packed your luggage? Has it left your side? 
"The whole time, they are looking into your eyes — which is very embarrassing. But this is one of the ways they figure out if you are suspicious or not. It takes 20, 25 seconds," said Sela. 
Lines are staggered. People are not allowed to bunch up into inviting targets for a bomber who has gotten this far. 
At the check-in desk, your luggage is scanned immediately in a purpose-built area. Sela plays devil's advocate — what if you have escaped the attention of the first four layers of security, and now try to pass a bag with a bomb in it? 
"I once put this question to Jacques Duchesneau (the former head of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): say there is a bag with play-doh in it and two pens stuck in the play-doh. That is 'Bombs 101' to a screener. I asked Ducheneau, 'What would you do?' And he said, 'Evacuate the terminal.' And I said, 'Oh. My. God.' 
"Take Pearson. Do you know how many people are in the terminal at all times? Many thousands. Let's say I'm (doing an evacuation) without panic — which will never happen. But let's say this is the case. How long will it take? Nobody thought about it. I said, 'Two days.'" 
A screener at Ben-Gurion has a pair of better options.
First, the screening area is surrounded by contoured, blast-proof glass that can contain the detonation of up to 100 kilos of plastic explosive. Only the few dozen people within the screening area need be removed, and only to a point a few metres away. 
Second, all the screening areas contain 'bomb boxes'. If a screener spots a suspect bag, he/she is trained to pick it up and place it in the box, which is blast proof. A bomb squad arrives shortly and wheels the box away for further investigation.
"This is a very small simple example of how we can simply stop a problem that would cripple one of your airports," Sela said. 
Five security layers down: you now finally arrive at the only one which Ben-Gurion Airport shares with Pearson — the body and hand-luggage check. 
"But here it is done completely, absolutely 180 degrees differently than it is done in North America," Sela said. 
"First, it's fast — there's almost no line. That's because they're not looking for liquids, they're not looking at your shoes. They're not looking for everything they look for in North America. They just look at you," said Sela. "Even today with the heightened security in North America, they will check your items to death. But they will never look at you, at how you behave. They will never look into your eyes ... and that's how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys." 
That's the process — six layers, four hard, two soft. The goal at Ben-Gurion is to move fliers from the parking lot to the airport lounge in a maximum of 25 minutes.'

Why are we so fixated on looking for liquids and bombs rather than doing some intelligent profiling?' Why do we inconvenience the majority?

1 comment:

Smoking Hot said...

The difference is that Israel terrorist threat is real whereas ours is not. lsrael begins their security before entry to the airport terminal unlike ourselves where 'security' begins deep inside the airport.

This alone shows our threat of terrorism is extremely low, in fact virtually non-existent. Think of the Moscow arrivals bomb here, once inside the airport a terrorist could choose arrivals, check-in or the departure security area itself. Once a terrorist is inside the airport it is already too late ... there will be an expolsion no matter what. You'll note that there was only very little attention from the MSM regarding Moscow. We didn't have 'security experts', 'terrorist experts' etc adorning our screens. No in-depth analysis at all. Why? because it would show airport security to be useless.

Because of 9/11, flights are safer than they have ever been. The cockpit area is secure and passengers will no longer sit meekly in their seats if there is an attempted hijack. Those 2 reasons alone have made flying so much safer.

Airport Security that we have is purely PR, in fact as Schneider says a circus with only clowns as performers. Because there is no terrorist attacks, airport security claims the laurels for that. They could as easily proclaim that they save us from rampaging rogue elephants ... we haven't had those either!

Airport Security is a massive industry now that achieves only one thing on the public ... it turns them into sheep who obey the uniform.