Too Much Passenger Screening Is Making Airports Less Secure

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Too Much Passenger Screening Is Making Airports Less Secure

Ever stricter security measures in place in U.S. airports is making air travel less safe and airports more vulnerable, according to University of Illinois mathematics professor Sheldon H. Jacobson. Too many resources are spent screening passengers who pose little risk, which steals time and money away from identifying real threats.

?A natural tendency, when limited information is available about from where the next threat will come, is to overestimate the overall risk in the system, ? says Jacobson in a press release. ?This actually makes the system less secure by over-allocating security resources to those in the system that are low on the risk scale relative to others in the system.?

Jacobson recommends airports work to distinguish high-risk from lower-risk passengers before subjecting every flier (and all that baggage) to zealous screening. More programs like the TSA?s Pre-Check, which expedites screening for eligible passengers by rating their risk against that of entire flying population, would help airports perceive security threats more accurately. His recently published paper also explores scenarios to expose security gaps.

Sources: University of Illinois.

Addressing Passenger Risk Uncertainty for Aviation Security Screening by Adrian J. Lee and Sheldon H. Jacobson, Transportation Science (December 2011):

Reducing Inequality in Europe Could Boost Growth

Rising socioeconomic inequality is one of the major risk factors portending an insecure future, warn researchers for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In a new report, OECD economists outline several policy proposals for reducing Europe?s wealth and income gap while simultaneously boosting economic growth.

First, the report recommends that governments adjust tax and benefits systems to promote ?growth in the middle? i.e., reform tax codes that favor the wealthy, thus enabling tax burdens on struggling middle-income taxpayers to be reduced.

The 25% wage gap between temporary and permanent workers could also be reduced by offering more protections for temporary workers. Women?s labor-force participation could be increased with the provision of more affordable child care. And improving educational opportunities and outcomes for immigrants and disadvantaged groups will have long-term benefits to the economy, such as enhancing the quality of the labor force, according to the report.

?The main challenge facing governments today is implementing reforms that get growth back on track, put people to work and reduce the widening income gap,? concludes OECD chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan.

Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

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