Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trust-Based Security System Pitched For U.S., U.K., Indian Airports

Neelam Mathews

With security an imminent consideration in London because of the Olympic Games in 2012 and other reasons, the U.K. government is expected soon to announce a pilot program using the trust-based security (TBS) method at London Stansted Airport.

A U.S. airport and a mid-sized Indian airport are also viewing the TBS model, crafted by security consultant AR Challenges, company representatives tell Aviation Week. The system incorporates suggestions made by the Air Line Pilots Association in a white paper.

AR Challenges, based in Israel, the U.S. and Canada, is in discussions with information technology integrators involved with Indian Safe Cities projects. "It is essential that all systems are put together and integrated,” says Rafi Sela, the company’s founder. Sela has made presentations to the Airports Authority of India.

“In India, we are saying, just give us the security tax at the airport, and we will install the system under Build Operate Transfer (BOT) method … The airport also gets additional benefits beyond security.
Retailers are willing to pay to get their message to passengers by offering spot discounts, airport operators can track vendors and employees and airlines can service their premium passengers as soon as their arrive,” Sela says.

The system has been tested for the past right months at arguably one of the most secure airports in the world—Ben Gurion International in Tel Aviv. Ninety percent of terrorist prevention there has been enabled by intelligence gathering, Sela asserts.

AR Challenges says it has the expertise, technologies and systems to support an immediate deployment of the TBS. Once the tests are completed, it plans to introduce TBS to the International Civil Aviation Organization.

“Asset protection must be threat-driven with a focus on the individual and the intent to do harm. In this system, the passenger is viewed as an asset rather than a liability to security. The philosophy on airport security, particularly in the U.S. is wrong. It is proactive rather than reactive,” says Sela.

TBS argues that it makes security more efficient while keeping costs constant or even lower. Each passenger’s identity is verified through a combination of means. Using a unique “Smart Card” approach and an enrollment system, TBS verifies the identities of travelers.

TBS will also resolve the dispute of the No Fly List for airlines by identifying high-risk passengers before they board a flight to the U.S., saving the cost of having to fly them back for free.

Under the system, a trustworthiness assessment is created as passengers watch the screen when checking in at a kiosk. Those who pose no or only a negligible threat will be processed quickly through metal detectors, and their carry-on bags will be examined by X-ray.

“The equipment will be enhanced by AR Trace Detection features and turned into automatic systems to speed up the process. AR Challenges has proposed an RFID sticker (costing 10 cents) that will enhance the efficiency and provide separate screening procedures,” says Sela.

Passengers categorized as unknown threats will meet with safety officers trained to identify threat-related behaviors. These officers will determine whether additional screening measures are warranted, and if so, what types. “Our suspect detection system can provide an initial automatic screening that in most cases will be sufficient,” adds Sela.

Passengers classified as known threats will be prohibited from flying. “Our system will be able to record their information for future reference,” says Sela.

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