Primary Purpose. This method/technology is used primarily to screen for what type of threats?
Operation. How does the method/technology work? Who or what is required to make it work?
History. How was the method/technology developed? What is its history?
Cost. What costs are associated with this method/technology?
Advantages. What are the advantages of using this method/technology?
Disadvantages. What are the disadvantages of using this method/technology?
Future Developments. How is this method/technology expected to be changed or improved in the future?
Passenger Profiling is carried out by behavioral experts and involves analyzing people and situations that could present security risks. Passengers appearance, their travel documents and behaviors are scrutinized to ensure they are in line with the requirements of the international air travel. This method mainly aims at combating terrorism attacks in the travel industry.
Passenger profiling was introduced in 1994 by Northwest Airlines and endorsed in 1996 by other governments after incidences of terror attacks. However, it totally picked up after the 9/11 incident. The Homeland security now requires airlines to share their list of passengers in order to compare with the list of known terrorist names. Passenger information was also to be availed to Homeland security but this method has been abandoned. Screening of passengers through the secure flight program was also introduced. However, low technological forms of passenger profiling are being considered today (Huseyin, Koh, and Raghunathan).
Today, passenger profiling is based on passenger behavior rather than race or ethnicity. Security officers and behavior experts look out for suspicious behaviors in passengers. This technique is called Screening Passengers by Observation Technique (SPOT). This method is used in major cities since 2004.
The major advantage of this method is that it increases security in airports. It is evident that in the US, behavior pattern recognition has stopped people from faking their identity, reduced drug trafficking and incidences of crime. This together with baggage screening technology is believed to fully combat terrorism in the travel industry (Huseyin, Koh, and Raghunathan).
Passenger profiling has however been considered inadequate in detecting potential bomb components. Those opposed to it claim that it relies on race and religion factors in identifying potential suspects as it uses assumptions and lacks concrete evidence. Therefore, most Asian men and Muslim passengers are discriminated against since they are believed to embrace terrorism.
This method may also not be able to identify most terrorists as these are trained on controlling suspicious behaviors. It is also hard to tell how terrorists behave. Civil rights experts claim that passenger profiling violates the rights of passengers and that their privacy is put at stake.
This method is expected to be more effective in future as the technology used will be improved. Other technologies will also be incorporated to ensure high reliability. This will be essential in curbing terrorism and other ills in the travel industry.
In conclusion, if passenger profiling today is effective or not, it is something that has not been proven. However, with more advancement in this method, it is hoped that security in airports will be guaranteed and passengers can travel without worrying about security concerns.
Cavusoglu, Huseyin, Byungwan Koh, and Srinivasan Raghunathan. An Analysis of the Impact
of Passenger Profiling for Transportation Security. Operations research 58.5 (2010):
1287,1302,1524,1526-1527. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web. 12 Oct. 2012.