|Montréal, 23 oct. - 5 nov. 1999||
|How safe is safe?
Would-be President Gore did say that there is no
CAPS uses data which is already available in an airline's reservation system, the passenger's last name, destination, whether a rental car is waiting, the type of travelling companions, whether the tickets involve a return or are only one-way, whether the ticket was purchased with cash and how long before the flight, history of travel to a terrorist linked country; to name a few. The most pernicious part of all this is the linking of such essentially commercial information to the
I, for one, cannot think of any place where a person would have a more reasonable expectation of privacy than under his or her clothing. We all have private things in our possession, things such as medications we do not want others to know we are taking, catheter tubes and bags, evidence of mastectomies, colostomy appliances, penile implant devices, and artificial limbs, to mention just a few. We certainly do not expect that we will be required to show these to others before boarding an aeroplane. The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution holds that people’s property shall not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures. It requires warrants based upon probable cause of criminality.
Hopefully, the US courts will find that such searches are intrusive and insist upon their use only when there is an extremely high level of suspicion involved. Where for example there is probable cause to believe that the individual is involved in a criminal activity such that a strip search would be conducted under existing law. Not a search based on a profile such as that the passenger is young, Muslim, born in the Middle East, olive skinned, bought a ticket this morning and frequently travels on business to the Middle East.
Some months ago, the National Research Council released a report entitled Airline Passenger Security Screening. Their report suggested that passengers might be more willing to sacrifice their privacy to aviation security measures if they could be convinced that the threat that their aeroplane would be bombed was relatively high. Ignoring walking, flying today is probably the safest form of travel. This has prompted at least one commentator to suggest that the enhanced security measures proposed by the Gore Commission would actually cost, not save, lives. People would become more inclined to travel by car – a more dangerous mode of transportation – because of the inconvenience, cost and invasive nature of security measures.
When you check your bags at the airline counter you are not checking your right to privacy. Airports should not become some kind of
The security systems adopted for airports today will undoubtedly find their way into other areas tomorrow. Already, X-ray machines and magnetometers have found, or are finding, their way into US government buildings, courts, banks and schools. Our own provincial government is already employing magnetometers to scan visitors to the august halls of what it is pleased to call the National Assembly. It is doubtful that much time will elapse before these more intrusive devices make their appearance in this land, assuming that they have not already done so.
Articles précédents de Ralph Maddocks