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·      Legal. (other than health-related lawsuits, subsumed in ''Health" above). Do certain aspects of the technology violate the rights of individuals under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure? Does it violate the legal right to privacy? Will people perceive either of these possibilities to be true?

·      Operational. Will the technology require additional space in airport terminals? Will air carriers be able to screen passengers accurately and rapidly enough to maintain flight schedules?

·      Privacy. Even if not a legally cognizable invasion of privacy, will the technology make people feel as though their privacy is being invaded? Will the screening process reveal personal information that passengers would rather keep to themselves?

·      Convenience. Will passengers be able to proceed quickly through the system and to their gates? Will the new technology take more time to screen passengers than current procedures?

To examine these issues, the panel conducted three information-gathering meetings, including a workshop on new technologies for passenger screening. The workshop was attended by representatives of air carriers, airport operators, specialists in aviation security screening systems in other countries, and individuals interested in the legal aspects of passenger screening. With input from this wide variety of sources, panel members were able to address the five nontechnical issues listed above, along with other questions that emerged in the course of the study.

The major conclusions of the panel are as follows:

·      The level of discomfort, inconvenience, cost, and personal intrusion air carriers and travelers are willing to tolerate is strongly influenced by their perceptions of the severity of the threat, the urgency of the situation, and the effectiveness of the efforts to deter the threat.

·      Even without adding more advanced screening equipment, current screening systems and procedures can be improved significantly by placing greater emphasis on human factors.

The panel makes the following general recommendations to aid the FAA for determining which new technologies are appropriate for passenger screening:

·      Emphasize the link between the invasiveness and inconvenience of the screening technology and the threat being addressed in a strategy for implementing new passenger screening technologies.

·      Emphasize programs that improve the effectiveness of the operator as a part the security system.


The panel determined that air carriers and the traveling public relate the extent of passenger screening they consider acceptable and adequate to the severity of the threat they believe is being averted by the screening process. For example, air carriers and passengers accept the more intensive security procedures used for international flights because they perceive a higher likelihood of terrorists targeting international flights. Passengers would probably resent the application of similarly tight security measures to domestic flights, unless authorities could prove that the level of threat was higher than usual. The temporary intensification of security screening procedures, such as the procedures instituted in response to threats to air travel security at New York airports, appear to have been received by air carriers and the traveling public with little clamor.

Because of the strong relationship between public acceptance and the perception of risk, the panel believes the FAA should make this link explicit in a strategy for implementing new passenger screening technologies. Because it is impossible to predict the course that terrorism will take in the coming years, the FAA plan should include relating specific technologies to specific threats. As threat scenarios shift with changing national and international climates, this information would make it possible for the FAA to implement technologies quickly in response to specific threats. The FAA plan should also include information on how new technologies will be implemented over time in the absence of specific threats against U.S. air carriers or airports.

By immediately addressing the link between the perceived level of threat and the acceptance of more intrusive security screening processes, the FAA will help air carriers react more quickly to specific threats. Air carriers will also be able to plan for the purchase of equipment based on new technologies as part of their routine efforts to upgrade security screening equipment.


The panel can formulate some general conclusions and recommendations about new technologies for passenger screening. However, further steps must be taken to assess public acceptance and to incorporate information from these assessments into screening procedures for each technology under investigation to ensure that it is suitable for use in passenger screening. Assessing public attitudes is also important because, as the panel workshop clearly revealed, limited data are available on public opinion even regarding the implementation of current screening technologies. Because the successful implementation of a new screening technology will be influenced by the public attitude, data on public

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