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US Changes How Air Travelers Are Screened 260

Posted by kdawson
from the curtain-falling-on-security-theater dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration is abandoning its policy of using nationality alone to determine which US-bound international air travelers should be subject to additional screening and will instead select passengers based on possible matches to intelligence information, including physical descriptions or a particular travel pattern. Under the new system, screeners will stop passengers for additional security if they match certain pieces of known intelligence. The system will be 'much more intel-based,' a senior administration official says, as opposed to brute force. For example if US intelligence authorities learned about a terrorism suspect from Asia who had recently traveled to the Middle East, and they knew the suspect's approximate age but not name or passport number, those fragments would be entered into a database, shared with commercial airline screeners abroad, and screeners would be instructed to look for people with those traits and to pull them aside for extra searches. Administration officials have said that, in hindsight, the central failure in the attempted bombing of an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight on Christmas Day involved inadequate sharing of information." In other TSA-related news, CNN takes a look at the full-body scanners that are beginning to be deployed in the US and elsewhere, concluding that they are good at finding concealed drugs but haven't found much that could bring down an airplane. John Perry Barlow is quoted: "Every time technology makes another leap forward, we have to reclaim the Fourth Amendment, and often we have to reclaim the entire Bill of Rights, because technology gives [the authorities] powers that were not envisioned by the Founding Fathers."
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US Changes How Air Travelers Are Screened

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