The situation we have here is trying to do something smart, i.e., identify persons who are potential threats to aviation safety before they walk into an airport terminal, rather than simply screen every passenger for items that could be used to commit acts of terrorism.
The problem is that so much of the improvements in aviation security are being done on the fly, without allowing adequate time to think through ideas and test them. After Pan Am 103 blew up, the British took four years to get security to a level that the government felt was adequate, and another 2 to 3 years to get the security to a level that was considered very good.
The Federal government is notorious for being too slow, until a crisis occurs. On the other hand, the American public wants most everything today, and the really important things should be done yeserday.
Certainly, time was of the essence after September 11th, but Congress set deadlines for federalizing the screening force, imposing bag matching, and screeing all checked luggage, without giving any thought to the logistics of testing and implementing improved security measures.
That said, I have what appears to be a measure that would achieve some of the goals of CAPPS II
without the intrusiveness that is inherent in the system.
Most state driver's licenses have security measures that include digital photos, holograms, and barcodes or magnetic stripes that contain identity information. My suggestion is that when a person makes a reservation, he be required to give either his license number or his passport number, in addition to his name, address, and phone number. Since everyone has to present photo ID
at the airport, this is not an invasion of privacy.
Then, the information on the ID
can be run against various databases for known terrorists and criminals (CIA
, FBI, Interpol, British Intelligance, Mossad, etc.) This should certainly be better than CAPPS I, and it shouldn't be as intrusive as CAPPS II