Get through airport security in five seconds?

In a perfect world, personal privacy and national security would not seem so mutually exclusive for airline travelers.

Although we’ll likely never live in a perfect world, the International Air Transport Association unveiled a new contraption June 7 that could get you through an airport security line in five seconds, writes the Telegraph’s David Millward. For travel-weary frequent fliers, that might sound a little like a utopia. In addition, you wouldn’t need to remove your belt, empty your pockets or take off your shoes if airports adopt the technology that IATA introduced at its 67th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Singapore.

Instead, airline travelers would pass through one of three 21-foot tunnels based on the passengers’ status as known travelers, normal travelers or enhanced security travelers, according to IATA’s website. To prove you’re a known traveler, you would need to pass through an iris-recognition system, which would verify your identity and confirm that you’re not a suspected terrorist. From there, you get to pass through a tunnel with minimal scanning technology in place: an X-ray machine and a metal and liquid detector.

Normal travelers — or those who feel like iris scanning is too creepy — would pass through those scanners in addition to a machine that detects explosive material, Millward writes. That tunnel also would scan travelers’ shoes.

If you qualify as an enhanced security traveler, you’ll go through a tunnel that features a full-body scanner, Millward writes. This lane would be reserved for travelers who display suspicious behavior, such as buying a one-way ticket in cash and checking no bags.

Dylan Loh of Channel NewsAsia show how these tunnels would work. He swipes his passport once, then a second time in conjunction with an iris scan at the known traveler lane.

IATA and the Homeland Security Department have not commented on the cost of collecting and storing millions of travelers’ iris scans. According to IATA, the association is working with the Homeland Security Department on DHS' Checkpoint of Tomorrow program to revamp a tedious and often contentious security process at airports.

About the Author

Michael Protos is a web content editor with 1105 Government Information Group.

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Reader Comments

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 Earth

Well Captain Obvious your comment reminded me of the “Well he did it too.” response from some little kid. Hero’s take responsibility for their actions and correct themselves. That is what makes them standards for others to aspire to. Pre adolescent children try to deflect and thereby evade their responsibility to self discipline. When is this country ever going to grow up?

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 Captain Obvious Earth

"Judeo-Christian history books are little more than catalogs of wars....' yadda yadda.. How about the atheists? Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler? Or the muslims, like Bin Laden & his buddies?

Thu, Jun 9, 2011

There will never be a perfect world, but in a rational world, the 2 or 3 million people with CAC cards, and the millions more with HPSD-12 cards, (most of whom have already had extensive background screening), could stick their card in a slot, punch in their PIN and/or scan their finger, and be on their way in seconds. At 'company town' airports like DC or near military bases, that alone would help a lot. But DHS/TSA say they 'can't trust' DoD background investigations. Smells like turf and job justification to me.

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 Gideon Pennyroyal

Not checking bags is suspicious? So the fee to check bags becomes baksheesh to go through reduced scanning and frisking?

Wed, Jun 8, 2011

The part about "you get to pass through a tunnel with minimal scanning technology in place: an X-ray machine and a metal and liquid detector" is crazy. X-rays are ionizing radiation which is very harmful, and the effects are cumulative.

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