With a large number of people passing through the airports every day, aviation security is of extreme importance to ensure the safety of passengers and staff from harm. This is why airports spend a lot of money on placing different means and technologies to secure and protect its vicinity especially in light of terrorist attacks and threats that we face. Stationing full-body scanners and prohibiting carry on of laptop computers and other similar devices are some examples of aviation security measures aiming to enhance their capability to detect and disrupt possible threats of terrorism in our airports. However, these strategies have caused concern among airport passengers regarding their privacy. Full body scanners that use current sense resistors in parallel produce not just an image of weapons or explosives but also an image of a person’s body beneath the clothes that he or she is wearing. Laptop computers may contain personal information which may be deemed confidential by the owner. The question now is how much should we stretch our means to obtain essential information that can potentially save the life of one, hundreds, or thousands of people? Where do we set our limits in ensuring national security and concurrently prohibiting intrusion into basic human right to privacy? What alternative methods to do we have to be able to mitigate the threat of terrorism without encroaching into people’s privacy? These are important matters for consideration among our government officials and airport security personnel that require careful analysis and attention to strike a balance between national security and the right to privacy.
Aviation security is faced with the challenge of finding equilibrium between having effective security measures and recognizing the individual’s right to privacy. Being faced with constant threats of terrorism, they feel the need to impose more security procedures to ensure that they are able to detect those who are involved in terrorist attacks. However, having more security measures in place means restricting the person’s freedom and rights to a certain extent.
But we should keep in mind that the fight to counter terrorism does not begin and end at the airport. It is a long and arduous process that involves different government and non-government organizations in our endeavor to stop the threat of terrorism in our nation. Thus, the alternative method to intrusive passenger screening strategies is intensifying our intelligence and investigation efforts. We should use the technology available to use to be able to detect and identify individuals or groups who are involved in terrorism even long before they reach our airports. But this is not to downplay the importance of our existing aviation security measures. They are still useful in detecting threats and risks that have somehow eluded our intelligence and investigative efforts. It is a collaborative effort that should also include the participation of the public so that they would understand the magnitude of the threat that we are facing. Knowing the situation would prompt them to be cooperative in the conduct of security searches in airports and they can also divulge information to authorities regarding their knowledge about suspicious persons. Ensuring aviation security is everyone’s obligation and each person must do what he or she needs to do to ensure the safety and protection of the people.