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How Security Has Changed Essay Sample

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“Please take off your shoes before entering the line to speed the process. Place all electronics, coins, wallets, jewelry, cell phones, and metals in the grey bins. Be sure to unpack any laptops and tablets before sending your bags though the scanner. When you walk through the metal detector, be sure to keep your arms at your sides and avoid touching the walls. Make sure you are not wearing any metals that could set off the detector. Thank you and have a nice flight.” Sound familiar? This is how rigorous airport security is present day. The 9-11 attacks caused such a huge shock to America’s security that they had to rethink everything; they had to change the whole system that the American people believed would keep the safe. The question is though, how did they change it? Were the changes for the better? And how safe is are the American people now after the changes have been made? Since 9-11 America’s securities throughout all airports have been drastically changed for the better, there have been advances in technology, employee training, airport layout and more. Thanks to the 9-11 attacks security experts were able to learn from their mistakes and create a system that keeps airport terrorism to a minimal level.

If one were to take a walk through the airport 11 years ago and compare it to how it is now, they would find multiple differences, from the people working there to the machines they worked with, everything would be different. For now, let’s look at the people, “ten years ago airport police were viewed as a little more than custodians”Those who were hired did not have the ability to detect things that could be harmful to the plane of its passengers, things like knives, bombs, guns, poisons and other dangerous substances. This lack of skill was the result of “constant turnover in the workplace coupled with poor training due to unattractive wages and benefits which resulted in the hiring of an unskilled, inexperienced labor force”2. Not to mention how the job was seen to be similar to working as a janitor at a school in terms of accomplishment. And as if that wasn’t enough, “there were no real regulations with regards to employee or passenger background checks.” That means anyone could be hired, regardless of what they’ve done in the past or are currently doing.

The next change falls under the security of the airport itself. Prior to the 9/11 terrorists attack, the access control of airports were not secure as the government had intended them to be, it was so bad that in May 2000, the department of transportation inspector general had agents set up with fake law enforcement badges and credentials to gain access to secure areas, bypass airport checkpoints in 4 locations and walk unescorted to airport departure gates. Out of the many airports they tested, they were able to gain access to 70% of them. Had those men not been agents just doing their job but instead terrorists intending to hijack a plane, they would have been able to so easily that it would be compared to the simple task of putting on a costume and taking a stroll to the airplane.

The technology of the airport is almost as important as the people who work it. Without proper machinery to back up the security, people would be able to smuggle in all kinds of dangerous materials, and while there are always non technology based methods that are just as effective as its technology based counterpart, the technology path is always more efficient and generally more accurate. So when the security technology of an airport is easy to cheat, horrific events like 9/11 are bound to happen. Since 9/11 airport security has been on its toes, ready to upgrade or modify itself every time something gets past it. And the threats don’t seem to give up either. If modern day terrorist were to walk into an airport before 9-11, they would laugh at how easy it would be to take over a plane. Prior to 9-11 the most advanced screening most airport security systems had was a metal detector, that’s right, someone could have snuck in any item on the plane as long as it wasn’t metal. Now the reader might be asking, how harmful can something be if it’s not metal? Well if a terrorist needed a sharp nonmetal
object, he could just buy plastic knife reinforced with fiberglass.

If a he wanted to take on a bomb, he could use a liquid based one. And if the terrorist really wanted to be creative, he could take a rolled up magazine, a shotgun shell, a nail, a rubber band and put it all together to get a one shot shotgun (this was attempted on a plane flight in Europe in 2002). The point is, as long as there is someone determined enough to figure it out, there will always be a loophole, trick, or fault in security, and it’s the security’s job to find it before the they do, and although security experts can’t be the terrorists to every punch, they are able adapt so it won’t happen again. To find proof of this, one would just need to take a look at the news. In December 2001 Richard Reid attempted to detonate explosives in his shoes, to combat this airport security started making fliers take off their shoes before going through the metal detector. In 2006 there were multiple attempts with liquid bombs throughout airports around the world, in response airport security severely limited the amounts of liquids that could come through a checkpoint as well as what kinds could be brought. Then on Christmas day 2009, Umar Farouk was able to get a liquid based bomb in his underwear past security checkpoints and almost on the plane, this resulted in the development in advanced imaging technology units which scan bodies without physical contact.

“These include millimeter wave technology, which uses millimeter wavelength radio waves to generate three-dimensional images as well as backscatter scanners, which employ low-level x-rays.” Another issue with the technology comes with how it’s placed throughout the airport. “Before the 9/11 attacks, passenger screening involved metal detectors, but these were closer to the gates than they are now, making it easier to stash or cache weapons such as the box cutters [the 9/11 attackers] used,” says Joshua Marpet, security evangelist at security firm DataDevastation. “Now the checkpoints act as choke points, severely limiting the availability of stash spots.”5 It’s flaws like these that technology experts have to keep an eye out for, the technology is pointless if it’s never able to do its job. The fight for stronger more advanced technology will never end, as long as there are terrorists; there will need to be more advanced technology to keep them in their place. It’s a never ending cat and mouse game that requires both sides, terrorist and security, to be on the lookout for any weakness, any flaw, any breach that could put one side in jeopardy.

Even though airport security is making some amazing progress, there is another problem that experts must address. With security advancing as fast as it is, experts must also keep in mind that there is such a thing as too much security. They have to balance the protection of the people with the happiness of the people. If one were to take a look at the most recent technology airports have started using, the Backscatter scanners, he would find piles of complaints that people have with them. The most common issue is privacy. “Backscatter scanners emit X-ray radiation that reflects off a traveler’s body into a sensor. TSA officials receive a grayscale nude photo showing all the contours of the traveler’s body, a virtual strip search.”6 it’s a valid complaint, no one wants to have themselves exposed to people in a backroom who can do anything with the images they get, and while they can deny the scan and have a pat down instead, but as stated here, “TSA Officials are trained to run their hands up a traveler’s thighs until they meet “resistance.” This means officials will actually touch genitals.” that option is just as privacy invading as the first.

The next issue is the health of the people, people say the backscatter scanners are harmful to the health of those who step through them, they say that the “X-ray body scanners, which use “backscatter” ionized radiation technology, emit enough radiation to theoretically damage DNA and cause cancer. While the level of radiation is extremely low, some studies have found that over time a small number of cancer cases could result from scanning millions of people a year.”7 This became such an issue that in November 2011 The European Union banned all airport body scanners, to balance out the lack of security, they replaced them with older millimeter wave scanners which use low level radio waves, (so far there have been no creditable studies that linked radio wave exposure with cancer).

In response to the ruling, the TSA sent out statistics showing that over 300 airport passengers who did not partake in the backscatter scanner were found carrying dangerous items onto the plane. There have also been movements against the advancement of security systems like the backscatter scanner. For example the ‘we won’t fly’ movement pledges to resist airport procedures until scanners and pat downs are removed.8 The problem with managing the happiness and safety of the people is that the further experts come in airport technology, the further they push to crossing the line of the privacy of the people. But this is just what terrorists want, they don’t care about the privacy of the people, they just want it to be easier for them to get in, and when airports are constantly switching out the systems they use, the terrorists are taking every opportunity.

Airports are an amazing thing; they take economic progress to a whole new level. Sadly while airports can be used for progress, they can also be used as a weapon. The terrorist’s attacks on September, 11 made that very apparent, and even though that was such a horrific event, security experts were able to greatly learn from it. Since 9/11 security experts have been on the lookout for any possible way to improve the safety of American airports, and so far the improvements have been incredible9, American airports have come from simple metal detectors to scanners that can give a full body view of whoever steps though it. And they just keep getting better; for example, one advancement that is in the works is “terahertz scanning. These use terahertz rays, which lie between microwaves and infrared radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum. They can penetrate common materials, do not seem to harm living tissue and can identify compounds, such as hair gel or explosives.”10 So when someone asks the big question “are the American people really safer now?”11 They can rest assured that the answer will be, yes. Where the 9-11 attacks caused America so much devastation, they also started a new age of technology where America can be safe from threats that any terrorist might pose. But the advances cannot stop, as long as there is anyone who might want to harm the American people or anyone around the world, the airports and other public transportation systems need to have securities in place to stop them because the terrorists are not going to rest now or ever, so neither will they.

Works Cited

DeGeneste, Henry I., and John P. Sullivan. Policing Transportation Facilities. Springfield, IL: C.C. Thomas, 2004. Print.

Dillingham, Gerald Lee. Federal Aviation Administration: Reauthorization Provides Opportunities to Address Key Agency Challenges : Statement of
Gerald L. Dillingham, Director, Civil Aviation Issues : Testimony before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate. [Washington, D.C.]: U.S. General Accounting Office, 2003. Print.

Taylor, Alycia B., and Sarah Steedman. “The Evolution of Airline Security Since 9/11.” Security Training. CPO, Dec. 2003. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://ifpo.org/articlebank/evolution_of_airline.html>.

Choi, Charles Q. “Have Post-9/11 Airport Screening Technologies Made Us Safer?” Http://www.scientificamerican.com. Scientific American, Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=have-new-airport-screening-technologies-inspired-by-9-11-made-us-safer>.

Roberts, Alex, Jessica Bader, and Brett Flora. “Frontline: Airport Scanners Invade Privacy.” The Western Front. The Western Front, 09 Nov. 2010. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://westernfrontonline.net/opinion/17-opinion/12779-frontline-airport-scanners-invade-privacy>.

DiSalvo, David. “Europe Bans Airport Body Scanners For “Health and Safety” Concerns.” Http://www.forbes.com. Forbes, 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2011/11/15/europe-bans-airport-body-scanners-over-health-and-safety-concerns/>.

Babb, James. “We Won’t Fly until the TSA Full Body Scanners and Pat Downs Are Replaced with Real Airport Security.” We Won’t Fly until the TSA Full Body Scanners and Pat Downs Are Replaced with Real Airport Security. We Won’t Fly, 31 Dec. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. <http://wewontfly.com/>.

McCamey, William P. Editorial. Journal of Security Administration. 2002. Print.

McClure, George. “IEEE-USA Today’s Engineer.” 02.12 Ieee-usa Today’s Engineer. 2007. Web. 21 Feb. 2012.
http://www.todaysengineer.org/2005/Jun/security.asp

Outline

Thesis: Since 9-11 America’s security throughout all airports have been drastically changed for the better, thanks to the 9-11 attacks we were able to learn from our mistakes and create a system that keeps airport terrorism to a minimal level.

I Introduction:
A. Describe the average airport security process American’s go through while going to their gate. B. Describe why it’s like this
1. The 9-11 attacks caused such a huge shock to America’s security that we had to rethink everything C. Announce topics of change
1. Technology such as Scanners, employee training and procedures, airport layout and accessibility II Body Paragraphs:
A. First body paragraph, Airport employees.
1. “ten years ago airport police were viewed as a little more than custodians” a. Those who were hired did not have the ability to detect things that could be harmful to the plane of its passengers, things like knives, bombs, guns, poisons and other dangerous. 2. “There were no real regulations with regards to employee or passenger background checks.” a. That means anyone could be hired, regardless of what they’ve done in the past or are currently doing. B. Second body paragraph, Airport accessibility and Security. 1. Prior to the 9/11 terrorists attack, the access control of airports were not secure as the government had intended them to be a. In May 2000, the department of transportation inspector general had agents set up with fake law enforcement badges and credentials to gain access to secure areas bypass airport checkpoints in 4 locations and walk unescorted to airport departure gates. Out of the many airports they tested, they were able to gain access to 70% of them. i. What if those men were actually terrorists?

C. Third body paragraph, Airport Technology
1. Explain the importance of technology for airport security.
a. What
happens when airport technology is inadequate?
2. What was airport technology like prior to 9-11?
a. Prior to 9-11 the most advanced screening most airport security systems had was a metal detector i. What if the item wasn’t metal? What kinds of threats can come from nonmetal items? (1). Plastic knifes renforced with fiberglass, liquid based bombs, homemade shotgun.

3. How do Airport security experts respond to attempts of terrorism so it never happens again? a. December 2001, shoe bombing (resulted in removal of shoes for separate scanning) b. 2006, multiple liquid bomb attempts (resulted in limiting of liquids allowed past security checkpoints) c. 2009, liquid bomb hidden in underwear got past security scanners (resulted in new scanner technology [millimeter wave technology]) 4. Address how security technology is placed throughout airports a. How was it before 9-11?

i. “Before the 9/11 attacks, passenger screening involved metal detectors, but these were closer to the gates than they are now, making it easier to stash or cache weapons such as the box cutters [the 9/11 attackers] used,” says Joshua Marpet, security evangelist at security firm DataDevastation. “Now the checkpoints act as choke points, severely limiting the availability of stash spots.” 5. Conclude with creative analogy

a. The race for technology is a never ending cat and mouse game that requires both sides, terrorist and security, to be on the lookout for any weakness, any flaw, any breach that could put one side in jeopardy. D. Fourth body paragraph, issues with airport security.

1. Is there such a thing as too much security?
a. Are our privacy rights being violated by scanners and patdowns? i. “Backscatter scanners emit X-ray radiation that reflects off a traveler’s body into a sensor. TSA officials receive a grayscale nude photo showing all the contours of the traveler’s body, a virtual strip search.” ii. “TSA Officials are trained to run their hands up a traveler’s thighs until they meet “resistance.” This means officials will actually touch genitals.” 2.
Harmful Technology

a. “X-ray body scanners, which use “backscatter” ionized radiation technology, emit enough radiation to theoretically damage DNA and cause cancer. While the level of radiation is extremely low, some studies have found that over time a small number of cancer cases could result from scanning millions of people a year.” i. in November 2011 The European Union banned all airport body scanners, to balance out the lack of security, they replaced them with older millimeter wave scanners which use low level radio waves, (so far there have been no creditable studies that linked radio wave exposure with cancer). 3. Movements against airport security

a. We won’t fly movement
i. The ‘we won’t fly’ movement pledges to resist airport procedures until scanners and pat downs are removed. 4. Conclude with risks taken when security measures are reduced. a. TSA sent out statistics showing that over 300 airport passengers who did not partake in the backscatter scanner were found carrying dangerous items onto the plane. III. Conclusion:

A. Introduce with the importance of airports and the threat they pose. B. Explain what we’ve gained from the 9-11 attacks
1. Since 9/11 security experts have been on the lookout for any possible way to improve the safety of American airports, and so far the improvements have been incredible C. Brief overview of how far security has come.

1. We’ve come from simple metal detectors to scanners that can give a full body view of whoever steps though it. D. Show that we’re still moving forward
1. And we just keep getting better; for example, one advancement that is in the works is “terahertz scanning. These use terahertz rays, which lie between microwaves and infrared radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum. They can penetrate common materials, do not seem to harm living tissue and can identify compounds, such as hair gel or explosives.” E. Are we safer now? Has airport security really improved? 1. Where the 9-11 attacks caused America so much devastation, they also started a new age oftechnology where America can be safe from threats that any terrorist might pose. F. End with nice finish.

[ 1 ]. DeGeneste, Henry I., and John P. Sullivan. Policing Transportation Facilities. Springfield, IL: C.C. Thomas, 2004. Print.

2 Dillingham, Gerald Lee. Federal Aviation Administration: Reauthorization Provides Opportunities to Address Key Agency Challenges : Statement of Gerald L. Dillingham, Director, Civil Aviation Issues : Testimony before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senate. [Washington, D.C.]: U.S. General Accounting Office, 2003. Print. [ 2 ]. Taylor, Alycia B., and Sarah Steedman. “The Evolution of Airline Security Since 9/11.” Security Training. CPO, Dec. 2003. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. . [ 3 ]. Choi, Charles Q. “Have Post-9/11 Airport Screening Technologies Made Us Safer?” Http://www.scientificamerican.com. Scientific American, Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. . [ 4 ]. Choi, Charles Q. “Have Post-9/11 Airport Screening Technologies Made Us Safer?”

5 Choi, Charles Q. “Have Post-9/11 Airport Screening Technologies Made Us Safer?” [ 5 ]. 6 Roberts, Alex, Jessica Bader, and Brett Flora. “Frontline: Airport Scanners Invade Privacy.” The Western Front. The Western Front, 09 Nov. 2010. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. .

7 DiSalvo, David. “Europe Bans Airport Body Scanners For “Health and Safety” Concerns.” Http://www.forbes.com. Forbes, 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. . [ 6 ]. 8 Babb, James. “We Won’t Fly until the TSA Full Body Scanners and Pat Downs Are Replaced with Real Airport Security.” We Won’t Fly until the TSA Full Body Scanners and Pat Downs Are Replaced with Real Airport Security. We Won’t Fly, 31 Dec. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2012. . [ 7 ]. 9 Choi, Charles Q. “Have Post-9/11 Airport Screening Technologies Made Us Safer?”

10McCamey, William P. Editorial. Journal of Security Administration. 2002. Print.

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