Sen. Cruz thinks there should be a ‘super Precheck’ level of screening for certain people — he’s right

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recently proposed a bill This would allow civil servants to quickly pass through airport security checks. He argues that such people may be at risk of attack and should be moved through airport security because VIP is safer for them.

Although the senator has personal conflicts with such legislation, During the arctic explosion in February 2021, many people in Texas were seen flying to Cancun when the power went out for several days. For one, the two-tier passenger screening model used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is ripe for enhancement. In fact, Mr. Cruz may be right for the wrong reasons when it comes to how airport security can be improved.

The two tiers currently used by TSA are: standard screening and Pre-check screening. Standard screening passengers will undergo enhanced procedures, including a physical search. advanced imaging technology (e.g. the obligation to remove shoes and coats for X-ray examinations) and the obligation to remove a number of items (such as electronic devices) from carry-on baggage prior to the examination.

PreCheck passengers voluntarily submit: Background check and fingerprinting in exchange for expedited review. Since you typically pass through a metal detector, you may end up leaving a number of items in your carry-on baggage during inspection. A portion of these passengers will be randomly selected for standard screening to ensure the integrity of the screening process.

What Cruz is proposing is essentially a third tier of passengers, which would require even fewer tests than PreCheck passengers. This means that airline flight crews known crewallow passage Known crew lanes.

This issue raises the question of what level of physical screening is required for each passenger to ensure the safety of aviation systems.

Implementing individualized screening protocols is impractical. However, the technology that supports physical screening is expensive, so over-screening some passengers is wasteful and does nothing to reduce risk and strengthen the security of aviation systems. not.

Advanced imaging technology (AIT) such as millimeter wave equipment costs about the same $200,000 per unit.Average cost of a recently introduced CT (computed tomography) X-ray machine for carry-on baggage Approximately $1 million each. It also requires ongoing maintenance and updates. All such costs (in dollars) are borne primarily by the taxpayer, and the costs (in time) are borne by the traveler.

Continuing risks exist for all air travelers. Air crews are an extreme example, with little risk to aviation systems. Items that are prohibited on board are less risky than items you bring onto the plane itself. At the other end of the spectrum is a traveler whose profile is a known risk that may be included in Homeland Security information. no-fly list.

PreCheck passengers buy risk by voluntarily allowing background checks and fingerprinting. Sen. Cruz’s bill proposes that certain people working in Congress or the judicial system could buy up more of their risk and be treated like known crew members.

While he is correct that such people pose the same risk as the crew, it is wrong to limit such classifications to only those who (like him) serve in Congress and the judicial system. mistaken. There are many people who fit the known crew statuses. The challenge is to reliably find such talent in a cost-effective manner.

What TSA could do is create a “super pre-check” passenger tier. These people would be subject to more stringent background checks than currently pre-screened passengers. Their identity must be authenticated using biometrics such as facial recognition. In the future, his second form of biometrics, such as an iris scan or fingerprint, may be required until the technology becomes available. The cost for registering in such a Super PreCheck tier is borne by the passenger and he is revalidated every year or every two years (instead of five years in the case of PreCheck).

Super Precheck passengers will effectively be treated like known flight attendants as far as airport security screening is concerned. They will pass through designated screening lanes, but at some airports there will be no physical screening, such as AIT, or screening of carry-on bags using CT X-ray machines. The main (and sometimes only) screening performed is identity verification.

Given that known crew lanes are primarily located at the largest airports, the Super PreCheck benefit is only available at such locations.

Some may think Mr. Cruz proposed the bill for his own personal benefit. Still, the principle of creating his Super PreCheck tier of enhanced passengers similar to known flight attendants makes sense.

By strengthening the facial recognition function, Credential authentication technology (CAT-2), TSA is poised to move airport security to yet another level of efficiency and effectiveness. Reducing the number of passengers who are over-tested is a step in the right direction.

Dr. Sheldon H. Jacobson is a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He uses his expertise in data-driven, risk-based decision-making to evaluate and inform public policy. He studied aviation security for over 25 years and provided the technical foundation for risk-based security that influenced the design of TSA PreCheck.

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