There has been much discussion today about a Washington Post-ABC News poll which reported that Nearly two-thirds of Americans support the new full-body security-screening machines at the country’s airports, as most say they put higher priority on combating terrorism than protecting personal privacy, but half of all those polled say enhanced pat-down searches go too far.
As another tool in airport security efforts, this poll finds broad support for passenger profiling – but with that support heavily dependent on profile elements. Eighty-six percent say personal behavior should be a factor, and 78 percent say a passenger’s travel history should be included in his or her security profile. Fewer, but 55 percent, favor including a passenger’s nationality, and half would include his or her personal appearance.
Other potential elements, however, garner majority opposition as elements to include in a security profile. Fifty-nine percent oppose using a passenger’s race or religion, and 65 percent say sex should not be a factor.
There are differences among groups, with profiling generally winning more support from Republicans, conservatives, men and whites, as well as, naturally, among those who see security as a higher national priority than protecting privacy rights. But there are commonalities as well; racial profiling, for instance, is opposed by six in 10 whites and non-whites alike.
In the past, Americans had nixed anything close to the Israeli system of profiling. (for a full explanation of how Israel works click here) claiming it casts suspicion on one sector of the population mostly Arabs and Muslims. According to Robert Gibbs the reason US authorities refused to adopt Israeli methods was because “Israel has one international airport and we have 450 of them that makes all the difference”.
But based on the latest information, maybe America is ready to give it a try.