BCAS asks airports to immediately enhance security

A fresh directive has been issued by BCAS, which is responsible for aviation security, following growing threat perceptions weeks after the December terror attack at Moscow's Domodedovo airport, sources said.

The latest aviation security order instructs airport authorities to keep a tab on all movements, including the parking lots and the airside.

Restrictions on visitors inside terminals or carrying of baggage in the arrival and departure areas by non-passengers have also been put in place, the sources said.

The number of CISF personnel at entry and exit points as well as parking lots was being enhanced, besides installation of CCTV cameras in parking areas, they said.

The move comes ahead of a crucial conference here from Monday which is to be attended by security experts from various countries who would discuss the emerging threats to the sector and review aviation security activities.

The four-day Regional Aviation Security Conference, being held under the aegis of UN body International Civil Aviation Organisation, would evolve an aviation security roadmap which can be used by countries to proactively and jointly counter and prevent acts of unlawful interference against international civil aviation.

The sources said non-metallic explosive devices were now the foremost threat to passenger airlines and it was imperative that detection capabilities are enhanced.

However, they pointed out that when new technologies to detect and capture those who intend to carry out terror attacks are being implemented, it was absolutely imperative that all steps are taken to protect the privacy rights of the air travellers.

In this context, they said, the US government was bringing a law to forbid the posting of an airline passenger's full-body body scanner image on the Internet.

The proposed legislation, introduced last week in the US Congress, would criminalise any such posting and impose on violators fines of up to USD 1,00,000 and jail terms of up to one year, official source here said quoting reports.

Similar laws would be needed in India whenever such Advanced Imaging Technology is put in place at airports here, they said.

The US legislation, called the Security Screening Confidential Data Privacy Act, is the latest proposal to protect the air passengers' privacy after the Transportation Security Administration started using scanners which creates an image of a person's nude body through their clothing.

Posting on the Internet of such electronically scanned images, which are meant to detect weapons, drugs or other contraband, would be criminalised if this law is adopted by the US Congress.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents global airlines across the world, has recommended categorisation of passengers into three groups - trusted, regular and risky - to concentrate most intrusive searches on those who represent the highest risk.

It would primarily depend on global efforts to collate and collect passenger data and associated risk factor.

Serious privacy concerns have been raised on the issue by civil groups in the US and Europe where such advanced technologies are being or have been implemented. Some Western civil rights groups have described it as "profiling".


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