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On Attempted Bombings, Airline Security, and Privacy

January 6, 2010

By **Adaeze Elechi**

Unless you’ve been in a coma, trapped under a rock, or stranded smack in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle over the past couple of weeks, you know that young Umar Farouk Abdulmutallib attempted to blow up Delta Flight 253 on Christmas Day with a PETN explosive device tacked into his undies. Since then, U.S. international airline security has been picked apart under a giant microscope. Now vital, provocative questions are being asked about what security measures to take, and what all this could eventually mean for travelers and U.S. citizens.

Frederick S. Lane, author and Beacon Broadside contributor, is one of those asking questions specifically about privacy. Here are the highlights from his recent article “The Nudists Were Right”:

Is there an alternative to spending hundreds of millions of dollars on technology that might marginally increase passenger safety but most assuredly will decrease the privacy of those compelled to submit to a full body scan? Ironically, the answer might lie not in more invasive technology but less clothing.

More seriously, the TSA’s push to roll out more full-body scanners should spur us to ask two important questions that don’t get discussed thoroughly enough: Should we continue to put faith in increasingly expensive technology to protect us, given the seemingly infinite ways in which competing technologies can be used to attack airline flights?

And is it in our best long-term interests to yield more and more control over our private information to the government in the equally futile pursuit of perfect security? As difficult as it is to say, the pervasive loss of control over our personal information is a far greater threat to our society as a whole than the suicidal impulses of a radicalized student.

Read the full article here.

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Frederick-Lane-200x150_bigger.jpgFrederick S. Lane is an author, attorney, expert witness, and lecturer who has appeared on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, the BBC, and MSNBC. His fifth book is American Privacy: The 400-Year History of Our Most Contested Right (Beacon Press, 2009). For additional information, visit www.FrederickLane.com

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