Shoe Scanners May Result in Passengers Being Allowed to Stay Laced Up

Travel News — By Carlo Alcos on March 28, 2011 at 9:04 am

We know you love it when you have to remove your shoes going through security at the airport, which is why we know how sad you’ll be to find out this practice might become a thing of the past. As reported at Wired’s Danger Room, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has made an announcement that it will be accepting proposals for a Shoe Scanning Device (SSD) system.

It’s hard to believe, but removing shoes has been happening since 2001, when would-be “shoe bomber” Richard Reid attempted to blow up a plane with an explosive device concealed in his shoe. This isn’t the first attempt, though, to find a solution that would allow passengers to stay laced up. The TSA field-tested General Electric’s ShoeScanner back in 2007 and found it didn’t work. A USA Today investigation revealed that around half of the passengers still had to remove their shoes because they moved their feet during scanning.

[Image: Brett L. / Flickr]

The following year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tried out the PassPort explosives trace-detection, provided by L3 Communications. Rather than scanning, this system “sniffs” out explosive material.

Security expert, Bruce Schneier, is pretty skeptical about these implementations, calling them “security theater.” He had this to say:

Of course it’s not going to make anyone safer, but it will make the security theater go faster, and that’s a good thing.

He says that terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda will just become more innovative and find other ways to smuggle explosives. The danger may still be the same, but at least the lines will go faster.

Tags: airports, DHS, security, shoe scanner, TSA

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