Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Common Sense Takes a Holiday

Use of "no fly" lists that only include a passenger's name and birthdate have successfully kept such potential terrorists as an 11-month old boy off commercial flights. (CNN: 'No-fly list' keeps infants off planes). Passengers will certainly fly easier knowing that the innocent seeming kid watching Barney in the next aisle isn't a secret al Qaida operative.

The concept of the no-fly lists is fundamentally flawed in the first place. Pictures of the people being restricted are not provided. All the list contains is a name and birthdate. Even well-known congressmen have been delayed because their names appeared on the list. (Okay, maybe that's a bad example.) How difficult would it be given today's technology to at least provide a picture or description to go along with the name?

This nonsense underscores the fundamental problem. The TSA is very effective in making airline travel an exercise in frustration. What the TSA has yet to show, however, is any improvement in the level of safety aboard passenger flights.

A measure of common sense in the screening process would be in order. The re-introduction of profiling also makes a lot of sense. A casual glance at the demographics of those that conducted the 9/11 attacks in the US, or the July 7th attacks in London should give you a pretty good idea where to start.

As to the no-fly lists, stop wasting our time and money. The process is ineffective and does little more than create a tremendous hassle for the traveler.


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