In the wake of the attempted terrorism attack aboard a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day and President Obama's call for enhanced screening of airline passengers, the U.S. Travel Association is urging policymakers to embrace screening techniques that meet a three-part test: strengthen security, balance travelers' privacy needs and improve traveler facilitation. U.S. Travel highlighted "whole body imaging" (WBI) and increased use of canine security as examples of promising security measures in need of greater analysis, noting that WBI has received significant attention with regard to privacy, but significantly less focus has been paid to its security benefits, affect on wait times and any potential of reducing travelers' hassles at security checkpoints.
"A 21st Century security system can meet these objectives given the necessary financial resources and investment in research and development,"said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "Whole body imaging may or may not be a panacea for security and travelers, but one thing that is clear is that this technology has not received the necessary analysis to determine if it can significantly strengthen security and improve travel facilitation," said Dow. "Nearly all of the WBI focus to date has been on privacy. It is past time for a more detailed analysis."