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    Associated Press: Airlines aim to take hassle out of security checks

    The Associated Press reports on new proposals for air traveler security that could affect individual privacy:

    Eye scanners and futuristic security tunnels may be standard in airports soon as the airline industry seeks to maintain safety while reducing the hassles of boarding a plane that deter some people from flying.

    The International Air Transport Association unveiled a mock-up Tuesday in Singapore of what it dubbed the “Checkpoint of the Future,” where passengers separated by security risk would walk through one of three high-tech, 20-foot-long (6.1-meters-long) tunnels that can quickly scan shoes and carry-on luggage and check for liquids and explosives. […]

    U.S. Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole said he thinks IATA’s security system, which it hopes to implement within five years, is a great idea. […]

    The TSA will likely start a pilot program this year in some airports that allows frequent flyers or other travelers with clean records to receive minimal checks, he said.

    In the IATA prototype, passengers would be categorized based on the results of a government risk assessment that is put into a chip in a passenger’s passport or other identification. An eye scan would then match the passenger to the passport.

    Low-risk passengers would walk through a tunnel with their carry-on luggage in just a few minutes — much quicker than the current average security screening of 35 minutes, IATA said. High-risk passengers would be directed to walk through the tunnel that performs a full body scan while searching for items like explosives. […]

    One obstacle to the proposed system is that governments could be reluctant to share passenger background information, said Ron Noble, secretary-general of Interpol, the France-based international police agency. “Most countries don’t want other countries to have data of their citizens,” Noble said.

    Airline executives were also concerned about whether the new system would rely too much on technology at the expense of human observation.

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