Cybersecurity

By Ben Bain

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Majority OK with airport full-body scan, report says

Sixty-five percent of people quizzed in a recent survey said they’d be willing to submit to a full electronic body scan at airports, according to a new report from Unisys.

The Unisys Security Index, released April 13, used people's answers to a series of questions to come up with a "social indicator" of how safe they feel regarding national, financial, Internet and personal security.

This time the semi-annual study included a supplemental question about whether different types of security screening measures are acceptable, and 729 air travelers responded.

In addition to the 65 percent who said they're OK with a full electronic body scan, 57 percent said they don't mind proving their identity through biometric data and 72 percent were willing to provide personal data in advance. Meanwhile, 7 percent said they were unwilling to submit to any of the measures, the report states.

The findings come as the Transportation Security Administration moves to greatly increase the use of whole-body imaging to detect nonmetallic explosives. The agency is also moving ahead on its Secure Flight program, which uses information technology to check fliers' names against watch lists.

Patricia Titus, chief information security officer at Unisys Federal Systems and former CISO at TSA, said she thought people would continue to support the use of full electronic body scans as long as there isn’t a breach that results in someone’s scan ending up on the Internet.

Meanwhile, U.S. respondents showed a moderate concern about safety with an overall score of 147 out of a possible 300. U.S. adults were more concerned about national security, with a score of 160, than they were about financial, personal or Internet security, which garnered scores of 153, 143 and 132, respectively.

The study was conducted by Lieberman Research Group, which made phone calls from Jan. 29 to 31 to 1,004 people ages 18 or older.

Posted by Ben Bain on April 13, 2010 at 8:31 AM