Airport Security: The Post 9/11 Age
Airport security in the world we live in today is drastically different then the security we knew before the events of September 11, 2001, when four passenger airliners were high-jacked over the skies of the United States, causing a global terror pandemic that still has long lasting effects today. We will look at, discuss and break down some of the key features of airport security in Canada as well as the United States, that have been improved, as well as certain security programs and features which were freshly implemented as a direct result. We will discuss “no-fly lists,” personnel training and armament, and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority or “CATSA,” including their security screening techniques and procedures (screening, responsibilities, Air Marshalls).
The “No-Fly List” was created shortly after the events of 9/11, by the United States government’s Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). The list includes the names of people who are deemed unsafe, or a threat to Airline security and are no longer permitted to board a commercial airline for the purpose of travel coming in or out of the United States. The list now contains roughly 10,000 names (2011), the number people on the list fluctuates based on threat, and intelligence reporting. Canada also has a similar list called the “Passenger Protect,” a similar initiative to that of the United States list, implemented on June 18, 2007 in order to identify people who could be a threat to the security of aviation, and prevent them from boarding Canadian domestic flights as well as International flights to or from Canada. The Passenger Protect program has two main parts: a set of “Identity Screening Regulations” which requires all passengers 18 years of age and older to present a valid form of government-issued Identification in order to board a flight, as well as a “Specified Persons List” which has a name, birth date, and gender of the individuals believed to pose a security threat. The list contains roughly 1,250 names. Individuals who have been denied boarding and are in fact on the list can submit an appeal to a branch of Transport Canada, called the Office of Reconsideration. The program works by the government supplying the Specified Persons List to Airlines, who then compare names of people on the list with individuals who intend on boarding flights. When the airline finds a name match, they then reference the individual’s government-issued identification to confirm. The identification is then once more confirmed in person at the airport check-in area, when a confirmation has been established Transport Canada is immediately notified. Training is also provided by Transport Canada to the airlines to teach staff and agents how to implement the ID verification process, and establish procedures to ensure the rights of the passengers are respected. Of course with a system like this, controversy is brought up by civil liberty organizations citing their concerns for civil liberties, racial profiling, privacy, and the perceived failure of the no-fly list created in the United States. In the United States, several anomalies’ referred to as “false positives” have risen. A “false positive” happens when an individual who is actually not on the no-fly list, has a name matching or similar to a name on the list. One notable case of a false positive includes a United States Marine in April of 2006, who was flying home from Iraq when he was prohibited from boarding his flight home, as his name matched one on the no-fly list. The lists, although very controversial both here in Canada and in the United States play an important role in establishing airport/airline safety and security, and ensuring an event such as the attacks on September 11, 2001 will not re-occur.
Secondly, the way Security Personnel are trained and armed has been drastically affected in the post 9/11 world. In the United States,...
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