Invasive Airline Security vs. Public Apathy

As Twitter is my witness, over the past weeks and months we have been deluged with reports of impropriety from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and other airport security complaints from around the world.

Indeed we’ve read stories of humiliated men, women and children, watched videos and listened to audio recordings that all serve as a testament to an increasingly broken process that is clearly destined to culminate in an uncomfortable impasse.

Government responses have ranged from attempts to blame travelers for their naïveté to placating the public. Either way, I’m not here to waste additional ink nor recycled electrons to discuss the topic.

Claudiu Popa
Claudiu Popa

However, given the increasingly loud outrage about pat-downs, ‘naked’ millimeter-ray scanners and questionable policies reported in the news, it comes as a surprise (at least to me) that only about a third of Americans are against scanners and a full 50 per cent welcome the pat-downs (according to the Washington Post).

Naturally, the argument is that national security takes precedence over personal discomfort and privacy ‘preferences’. But in light of suspected health risks, allegations of sexual molestation and ridiculously offensive situations, it seems to me that the public’s reaction should be a little more vocal in light of the horror stories we’re seeing on a daily basis. I am not expecting public protests, but the surveys and polls cited by various publications don’t seem to reflect the apparent seriousness of the issues.

Why is there such a public outcry about every Facebook/Google/<insert Internet giant> privacy transgression while the numbers suggest a high degree of public apathy about “a few moments of inconvenience” at the hands of trained airport security professionals?

About the author:
Claudiu Popa, CISSP, PMP, CISA, CIPP is an information security/privacy consultant and CEO of Informatica Corporation ( A published author and media resource, Claudiu passionately discusses privacy issues, security breaches, governance and all matters of risk management. Write to [email protected] or simply contribute your comments to this blog. Follow him on or connect with him on
Claudiu Popa
Claudiu Popa
Claudiu Popa is a security and privacy advisor to Canadian enterprises, associations and agencies. He is an author, speaker and lecturer. Connect with him on Twitter @datarisk, Facebook, G+ or LinkedIn.

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