Security measures in American airports have continued to raise alarms on the way security issues are handled. It is quite relieving to understand that the government and airline companies have continued to step up security operations in the airports to ensure passengers’ safety.
It is also refreshing to understand that passengers can travel safely without fear of terrorist activities perpetrated against them. Security measures such as travel advisories to countries considered unsafe for American citizens are pretty mandatory. Security surveillance at the airports monitors the inflow and outflow of specific people and products. The intensification of security parameters in American airports has been welcomed by a large section of the American citizens.
However, there are so many problems affiliated to these security parameters. These problems are caused by the Advanced Imaging Technology gadgets and pat downs. The bone of contention arises in the invasive approaches both methods employ. This paper tries to analyze the problems these two methods have caused in the American airports.
The problems caused by the advanced security parameters in major American airports relate to the use of invasive approaches to the passengers’ body. Currently there are two methods being used. The Advanced Imaging Technology employs a machine that scans the entire body of a passenger (West & Smith 12).
The machine has a private kind of approach to passengers intending to board a flight. The scan is carried out by the TSA thus sparking a lot of controversies. The main reason why security firms are using the AIT is that it is more advantageous than other methods. The advantage of this technology to the older one is that the new technology can detect both metallic and nonmetallic objects that can form components of an explosive device (Ali 13).
The main controversy of this process comes in the area of its private invasion. Since the entire outline of the passenger’s body is viewed, people find it uncomfortable. To make it worse, those who are not comfortable with the complete body scanner do receive a pat-down, a process which also has its own controversy. The essence is that some method of screening has to be used to ensure safety of passengers on board a flight (Airsafe 6).
To explain the moral erosion and the health impacts of these security parameters, consider the situation of parents traveling together with their children. They are forced to undergo a complete body scan or a TSA pat down with their children having this idea on their minds. This is because the TSA pat down method includes the physical touch of the hips, the groin and other private body parts by the security personnel. The situation is very embarrassing to the parents and this is one of the reasons why it brings discomfort.
It is morally degrading for a person to be touched in their private parts by a person with whom they do not have a moral sexual relationship. The situation also doesn’t suffice to the gays and lesbians who are forced to undergo this rigorous check up done by security personnel of the same sex. The gays and lesbians also have their own rights. Security operations alone should not cause them this discomfort to the least.
In the complete body scans by the AIT, the person moves into a private compartment whereby their entire body is screened. The image of the person is then viewed in a remote place by a security official. Many people feel uncomfortable because their entire body outline is exposed. Recent studies have also detected some aspects of radiation, produced by the scanners, which can be harmful to the human body (Poslad 409-410). Therefore, the other negative effect of body scanners is that they can cause cancer to passengers who travel by plane.
One of the challenges of dealing with this issue is that opposing the already set policy put in place by major stake holders such as security firms is not an easy task. The task is further compounded by the fact that these security firms receive backing from the government. There are so many prime factors to be taken into consideration in order to find the appropriate solutions to this problem.
The United States has to find methods that will counter these problems. One of the methods is to device some more advanced technology that can detect explosives and other potentially dangerous objects without exposing the entire body outline (National research council of the national academies138).
This will help in dealing with the invasive approaches that make passengers uncomfortable. Americans should also take it as their role in ensuring the corporate social responsibility is enhanced among them. In doing this, terrorists plots can be thwarted beforehand thereby preventing the gross effects of such criminal activities.
Recent studies have been able to reveal that many Americans would prefer more rigorous security arguing that compromise of security is quite not an option in the airports. They say that it is better to be frisked so that one’s safety is guaranteed than not to pass through the hassle with an unsecured safety. However, it should be noted that a good policy is one that takes care of the majority as well as addressing the plight of the minority.
Whereas it is good for the stakeholders in airline companies to ensure the safety of their passengers, it is also prudent enough to ensure that the methods used do not cause alarming reactions from a section of the public. It is therefore incumbent that better methods need to be employed that suffice both the majority and the minority so as not to cause an outcry.
Should the government and the major stakeholders fail to act on the issue, many Americans may look for other means of traveling that do not require the kind of rigorous security check up that ends up exposing their bodies and making them feel uncomfortable. Rail, sea and road transport are other modes of transport that passengers may contemplate using.
On the other hand, if the major stakeholders find it prudent enough to act, there will be an improvement in service provision at the airports. This will act as counter measure to correct any misdoings and improve the perception of passengers traveling by plane.
It has been noted that the advancement of security parameters at the American airports has been accompanied with its own problems. Many Americans have expressed their displeasure citing discomfort caused by body scans and pat downs. The two methods are rigorous security check ups meant to ensure the security of passengers on board a plane.
Due to the problems caused by the scans and pat downs, the concerned stakeholders need to take necessary action to alleviate the plight of the affected. It is incumbent for the government to protect its citizens against harmful radiation caused by the body scans. It is also needful for the major security stakeholders to protect the citizens from moral decay so as to respect individual privacy.
Airsafe. “Airport Security Issues.” Airsafe, 23 July 2010. Web. 9 Dec. 2010.
Ali, Umarah. “Body Scans in Store for some Travelers,” The Red and Black Publishing Company Inc. November 19, 2010. Web. December 9, 2010.
National Research Council of the National Academies. Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment. Washington D.C: The national Academies Press, 2008.
Poslad, Stefan. Ubiquitous Computing: Smart Devices, Environments and Interactions. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2009.
West, Lord & Smith, Stephen. Home Affairs Committee: Evidence Counter Terrorism Measures in British Airports. Ninth report of section 2009-10. January, 26 2010.