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    Creative Commons License
    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    November 23, 2007

    Just frisk 'em all for the sake of better security

    There's a totally unwanted fracas going on regarding the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security decision to frisk India's armed forces chiefs at airports.

    Undoubtedly, what riles the armed forces (and former defence personnel) is the fact that they are frisked (and by implication, untrusted) while a lot of politicians, bureaucrats and others in the SPG umbrella are exempted from frisking (and by implication, trusted).

    My solution is to frisk everyone, from President to peon. In the interest of security. Nothing else. No-one should be trusted. What prevents someone from misusing his/her exemption from being frisked to do something illegal and dangerous? What prevents a terrorist who knows one of those who're exempted from frisking to use them as a messenger for a dangerous illegal act?

    I've travelled by some of the lower cost airlines a few times in the last few months from Bangalore, including a trip around 10 days ago. It was shocking to see the laxity with which the airline personnel (at the check-in counter) and the security personnel (at the entrance, security check area, etc.) were doing their job.

    The rules mandate that:

    • At the entrance, passengers with a valid ticket should be asked for proof of identity.
    • At the check-in counter, holders of e-tickets should be asked for proof of identity.
    • You are not allowed to carry batteries on your person or as part of the hand-baggage.
    None of the rules above were followed. The security guard at the entrance did not verify if I actually had a proof of identity when I produced my e-ticket. Surely it is not rocket science to produce a print-out claiming it to be an e-ticket. The personnel at the check-in counter (I was travelling by IndiGo) did not ask me for my identity proof despite the fact that I had an e-ticket. I was carrying just one unit of hand-baggage, which had a digital camera (with batteries inside) and had a spare set of AA batteries in my pocket. The security guard at the security check area told me I couldn't take the batteries in my pocket. He asked me if they were spares, to which I replied in the affirmative. He let me carry them on my person.

    Overall, it was amazing how those responsible for security at airports and in aircraft shirk their duties, putting everyone around in peril. If the same attitude towards security continues, I would not be surprised if a serious disaster in the form of a terror attack occured. By then, it would be too late.

    A simple adherence to the rules, by airline & security personnel as well as by passengers, would minimize the risk of disaster. It is likely that passengers will spend an extra 10 minutes in the queue, airline personnel at the check-in counter will spend an extra 10 minutes on the job and the security check folks will take 10 minutes extra to complete the necessary checks on all passengers, but those are minor irritants taking into account what could be prevented.

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