The security week that was: 11/19/10 (Commercial monitoring trends)

A weekly surveillance of the news shaping your profession

On a side note, Kenning has been heavily focused on studying the ROI of security technology and monitoring investments for national and global companies, but that's material for another column…

Going private?
Airports remember they have the option to drop the TSA

Somewhere in the whole mix of complaints about the TSA's new policy that if you aren't being body scanned, you'll be getting a pat-down, the public seems to have forgotten that TSA security screenings are an option. Obviously I don't mean it's an option for people standing in the security lines; instead it's an option for airports to choose to use the TSA or to go with private screening services. In fact, Orlando's Sanford International Airport (the second largest in Orlando), is considering adopting private screening services, rather than using the TSA.

What does this mean for security? Not much, if you ask anyone in the know. The airports still have to follow TSA-approved procedures to the "T" -- including those much loved pat downs. For the airports, this is more about considering costs and responsiveness. According to airports that use or are considering the private screening contractors (which still have to be approved by TSA), the goal is to have a more responsive security screening staff. As the CEO of Orlando Sanford International Airport explained, "competition drives accountability." But there are reasons not to go private. As Elaine Sanchez, the spokesperson for Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, said in an archived article on this subject: "In a word, liability." In adopting the TSA, the airport guarantees it's meeting the national standard on airport security and hands off the liability of that security to the TSA.

In other news
Pistole defends TSA screening procedures, Wi-Fi seen as a security threat on flights, more

As the furor continues over the TSA's use of full-body scanners and more invasive pat-down searches at airports, the agency's head, John Pistole, appeared before a Senate committee this week to defend the new screening measures. ... In the wake of the failed air cargo bomb plot, there is a groundswell of support for banning Wi-Fi on flights fearing it could be used to trigger an explosive device onboard. ... False alarm calls have dropped dramatically in Columbus, Ohio, after the town instituted a sharp increase in fines. ... Data storage firm EMC Corp. has agreed to purchase Isilon Systems for $2.25 billion. ... Michael Flink has been tapped to lead ADI North America.