Think ... People,  THINK!


Profiling: the act or process of extrapolating information about a person based on known traits or tendencies:  the act of suspecting or targeting a person on the basis of observed characteristics or behavior

Since September 11, 2001 national security has affected almost all of our lives. The traveling public has been most affected with progressively increasing screening measures to assure that terrorists are not traveling with us. As these measures get more invasive and more personal, we get further and further away from personal freedom and what we had previously considered a normal life. One can't help but wonder what life will be like in the coming years. What will be the new norm?

The Israeli airline, El Al, has been free of terrorist attacks for about 30 years. Israel is the world model for airport security. Every passenger receives a verbal screening. Appearance, behavior, reason for travel and other factors are scrutinized. Electronic body scanning is backup, not the primary screening.

We currently rely heavily on technological screening. Although use of background checks to determine safe-to-fly status has been considered, the specter of "profiling" seems to prevent this from becoming a regular part of our security program. When race or color or religion or anything else is mentioned about a specific individual (is he left-handed? is she 36-B or 36-C?) you hear the cry "profiling". The word has gotten to be a turn-off for anything even hinting at infringement on civil rights or personal privacy. And yet we willing give out personal information freely to Facebook.

I think a set of background checks can be devised that could result in both increased security and increased throughput (minimum delay) at travel terminals, and yet have minimum intrusion on our liberties. Many government employees and civilian contractors, active or retired, have already had extensive background and personal investigations (SBI's - Special Background Investigations) conducted on them to give them Top Secret and special security access to highly classified programs. Similar background investigations could be made on others, especially frequent travelers. I think we need to stop being scared of "profiling" and apply common sense in determining who is and who is not a threat to our security.

What do you think?

I think the time is right for a national identification/information card. Besides the visual information on the card, the information that could be embedded in the card electronically could replace Social Security cards, Medicare and insurance cards, and might even replace passports and driver's licenses. It could include national security clearance information and private work clearances. It could include fingerprint and DNA data. It could include additional information desired by an individual such as critical medical information (e.g. heart stent location), medical directive (living will), medical contact information, family contact information, work contact information, work history, education, society memberships, legal will, etc. A validation code would indicate what and when anything was changed.

What do you think?

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