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How Far Is to Far

In: Social Issues

Submitted By cindynsteve
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TSA: How Far is too Far?
ENG 122 English Composition II
Dr. Rigney
January 2, 2013

TSA: How Far is too Far? September 11, 2001(9/11) was the day the country was reminded that terrorists attacks on the United States is real and is a serious threat. On that fateful day in 2001, we lost thousands (to date there is still no official number) of our fellow Americans because nineteen terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets. The members of this group were able to pass through airport security with box cutters and “explosives” (this has never been proven to date), to board the passenger jets that would be used in the attack that day. Once the terrorists had taken over the jets in mid-flight, they re-routed the jets to their intended targets. Two of the jets crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. One of the jets was able to hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the last jet never made it to its intended target because of the brave passengers on board that day. The passengers were able to take back control of the jet from the hi-jackers and the jet was crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania (9/11: timeline of events, 2013). Immediately following these attacks, a nationwide shut down of all aircraft was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Hoffman, 2011, Roberts, 2011, and Hoyer, 2011). This nationwide shut down began to slowly lift on September 12, 2001; this was when the planes that were re-routed the day before were allowed to travel to their intended destinations. By September 15, 2001 most airports were allowed to re-open with new safety rules and regulations. When George W. Bush signed into law the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) in November of 2001, this helped to establish the agency of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), within the Department of Transportation (Blackburn, 2012). This agency was created to help strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems and ensure the freedom of movement for people of the United States of America. As the years have passed since 9/11, it has been argued that TSA has crossed the line and is now invading the privacy of the individuals who wish to travel the “friendly skies”. In order to show that TSA is not in the wrong, the researcher is going to be looking at how TSA has been keeping Americans safe as they fly to their destinations throughout the country. The researcher will also need to show how TSA has made it their priority to respect an individual’s privacy. The facts will show that TSA has done exactly what it was created to do. TSA has strengthened the nation’s transportation system and ensured the freedom of the American people. One of the difficulties in managing transportation and homeland security is often likened to the challenge of finding a needle in a haystack, because the fraction of criminals in the population is very small (Schneier, 2006, Harris, 2007). This puts a heavy burden on TSA because they have to decide the best way to proceed with the screening of the passengers boarding flights. TSA has a few different options for screening passengers. One is a metal detector and on the other hand they could use a three dimensional x-ray machine. Although screening devices are considered to be highly efficient and effective in detecting these items, they also suffer from the false-alarm problem, which might give rise to the baserate fallacy phenomenon (Axelsson 2000, Lippmann and Cunningham 2000, McHugh et al. 2000). These false alarms make it very difficult for TSA to implement their security procedures properly. How will TSA handle these false alarms while they are trying to respect the privacy of passengers? TSA has implemented a variety of measures, both technical and operational, to integrate and incorporate privacy considerations from the start, including providing signage at all Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) locations to inform the passenger of what the scanned image looks like and of their option to decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening. There are approximately 400 AIT machines installed in 69 airports nationwide (Silverleib, 2010 Hunter, 2010). While the equipment has the capability of collecting and storing an image, the image storage functions will be disabled by the manufacturer before the devices are placed in an airport and will not have the capability to be activated by operators (Golden, 2008). The transportation security officer (TSO) who views the image will be located remotely from the individual being screened so the TSO will not be able to see the actual individual (Golden, 2008). The TSO at the check point will be able to communicate with the TSO operator who is viewing the image by radio. If there is a problem the TSO viewing the image will relay that problem to the other TSO who is with the person being scanned. This is when will they will conduct a physical pat-down only of the spot that looked suspicious on the image. According to a new CBS poll, four out of five Americans support the use of advanced imaging technology at airports nationwide (Condon, 2010). It is believed that most passengers that have had a knee or hip replacement prefer these scanners, because it is easier than the metal detector that they would always set of when going through it. This advanced imaging gives these people dignity during the boarding of their planes, because they are not setting off alarms at every check point they go through. Although most Americans agree with this new technology, there are a few people out there that are outraged by it. There is one particular article that showed that outrage and stood out from the rest. This article was written by David Pogue on June 26, 2012. David Pogue is a writer for the New York Times and has also won an Emmy Award for his correspondent work for the CBS News. Here is just an example of what David had to say, “The attacks of September 11, 2001, changed everything, especially in air travel. Since that day, the U.S. government has spent billions on technology, enacted rafts of new rules and turned flying into a far more upsetting, complicated procedure than it needs to be”(Pogue, 2012). Now after reading that, many people can’t help but remember the day of 9/11 and think how could someone say that and live with themselves on a daily basis? We had lost so many loved ones on that day, that having to take a little longer at airport security and follow a few new rules should not take away that memory. To many Americans it is upsetting to read an article like this and the ignorance that it displays. How can the author of that article compare the amount of money the government has spent since 9/11 to the lives that were lost on that day? Knowing that life can never be measured by a dollar amount, David Pogue is showing how ignorance is bliss. As Americans, it is our duty to keep the memory of the lives lost on that eleventh day of September alive and never to be forgotten. On the other hand, to some it may seem that David Pogue ‘hit the nail on the head” so to speak. You can find countless numbers of articles with one search online for those who oppose the new security measures that TSA has set into motion. Have the citizens of this country become so vain that having to follow some new security measures pose an inconvenience for them? In response to all the negative press about the new security measures, TSA launched a pilot program on October 4, 2011 at airports in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Miami (Serrie, 2011). The initial trial is being rolled out to some U.S. citizens enrolled in Delta and American Airlines frequent flier programs, as well as some government "Trusted Traveler" programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS (Serrie, 2011). Members of these groups need to provide additional information to the TSA in order to become a part of this new program. Providing this additional information will allow the passenger to go through an expedited security lane. In this lane the passenger will no longer have to remove their shoes or their belts and will be able to keep their laptops in their cases (Jansen, 2012). The TSA plans on expanding the Pre-check program by the end of the year. The following airports will be included in the expansion, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Boston Logan, Charlotte Douglas, Cincinnati, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston's Bush, Honolulu, Indianapolis, New York's LaGuardia, St. Louis Lambert, New Orleans, Puerto Rico's San Juan Luis Munoz Marin, Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, Anchorage and Washington Dulles (Jansen, 2012). The Pre- check programs opening run in Atlanta earned positive reviews from several of the passengers who used it (Serrie, 2011). Even though one of the passengers bag was searched after he went to the expedited security lane, he referred to the whole process as a “piece of cake” (Serrie, 2011). “ As part of TSA’s ongoing challenge to balance security against customer service, TSA is reviewing existing security procedures in order to eliminate those that do not enhance security or customer service” (Mihm, 2003). In conclusion, since 2001 when TSA was created, it has implemented many new rules and regulations for the fliers of the “friendly skies”. Some are going to agree and others will disagree with how TSA is handling the way these new programs are coming to be a reality. The facts have shown that even though there have been a few” bumps in the road” along the way, TSA has strengthened the nation’s transportation system and ensured the freedom of the American people.
In doing this, TSA is trying to ensure that the events if September 11, 2001 will never happen again.

References
Axelsson, S. 2000. The base-rate fallacy and the difficulty of intrusion detection. ACM Trans. Inform. System Security 3(3) 186-205.
Blackburn, M. 2012. “Not on my watch”: 50 Failures of TSA’s Transportation Security Officers http://blackburn.house.gov/uploadedfiles/blackburn_tso_report.pdf Condon, S. 2010 Poll: 4 in 5 Support Full-Body Airport Scanners http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20022876-503544.html Harris, S. 2007. Shadow hunter. National J. 18-24.
Hoffman, J., Roberts G., Hoyer J. 2011 9-11 Research An Attempt to Uncover the Truth About September 11th, 2001 http://911research.wtc7.net/post911/index.html
Homeland Security Privacy Impact Assessment for TSA Whole Body Imaging 2008 http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/privacy/privacy-pia-tsa-wbi-jan2008.pdf Jansen, B. 2011. Tsa to expand expedition “pre-check” screening option. http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/post/2012/02/tsa-pre-check-expands/623029/1 Lippmann, R., R. Cunningham. 2000. Improving intrusion detection performance using keyword selection and neural networks. Comput. Networks 34 597-603.
McHugh, J., A. Christie, J. Allen. 2000. Defending yourself: The role of intrusion detection systems. IEEE Software 17(5) 42-51.
Mihm, J. 2003. Actions and plans to build a results-oriented culture. www.gao.gov/new.items/d03190.pdf
9/11: Timeline of events. (2013). The history channel website. http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-timeline.
Pogue, D. 2012 The TSA's Dumb Air-Security Rules Are Not Based on Science http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=tsa-dumb-security-rules-not-science-based Schneier, B. 2006. Why data mining won't stop terror. Wired News. March 9, http://www.wired.com/politics/security/commentary/ securitymatters/2006/03/70357.
Serrie. J. 2011. Tsa launches program for fast-track airport screenings http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2011/10/04/tsa-launches-program-for-fast-track-airport-screenings/ Silverleib, A., Hunter, M. A primer on the new airport security procedures
http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/11/23/tsa.procedures.primer/index.html

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