back to article Airport security boss calls time on tech

The security boss of Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is calling for an end to endless investment in new technology to improve airline security. Marijin Ornstein schiphol security boss Marijn Ornstein Marijn Ornstein said: "If you look at all the recent terrorist incidents, the bombs were detected because of human intelligence …

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Anonymous Coward

old-fashioned intelligence

So, more shocking evidence of common sense from someone in the security business.

I do however see a flaw in her argument for getting rid of pointless tech and using intelligence. They would have to start recruiting people with some kind of discernable IQ instead of the mouth breathers currently infesting airport security gateways.

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Intelligence cometh before screening

I think the idea is that the intelligence needs to be on the part of local and international law enforcement organisations, so that the threats get identified and eliminated before they even get within sight of an airport.

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Anonymous Coward

It is easy to apply intelligence...

I suggest looking at El Al and how their security is being handled.

Passengers are watched and continuously re-evaluated by trained intelligence personnel who can spot nervous/suspicious pax easily. They are then re-evaluated as they move through the security cordon and if necessary, pulled aside for a secondary check.

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Or further up?

Intelligent Government.

Oops! I think I've just oxymoroned...

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Joke

@Raumkraut

Well yes obviously that's what she meant, but I didn't see that as a reason not to slag the security drones off.

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Pirate

Wow

"But she also criticised the European move to lift restrictions on liquids. She said legislators did not understand the operational implications and that the change would confuse passengers."

"Confuse passengers," really? I mean, REALLY?

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Joke

REDACTED

Crap! They better sort their shit out, or I'm [REDACTED]

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Spot on

I for one welcome our clear thinking Dutch Airport Security overlords - balanced, accurate, proportionate!

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FAIL

The thing is...

...it only takes one trip through a BAA airport to realise that 'old fashioned intelligence' is something that is not present in abundance among the 'security' staff there. Many's the time I've been through, wondering whether perhaps we'd be safer if *I* was checking the grunt who's allegedly responsible for checking the security of my bag.

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Anonymous Coward

Point?

She wasn't talking about airport security staff when she spoke of intelligence. She was talking about intelligence in the sense of information gathered by intelligence operatives, you CIA, MI5, Interpol, those sorts of guys.

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Anonymous Coward

Well said.

<EOM>

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Case in point

Recently flew from Bergamo airport in Italy to Tangier. Got talking to the guy sitting next to me when he suddenly pulls a pretty substantial bolus of hash out of his pocket and offered me some. So much for all the security screening.............

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Anonymous Coward

not exactly a security matter

Hash isn't an air security problem. It's a different can of worms.

Unless he tries to light it on the plane, of course

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Why do I need a title?

Is this a glimmer of common sense?

<Hoping that this makes a difference to security practices>

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Black Helicopters

sadly, she's not going to last long in her job

Far to sensible and sane.

The security equipment concerns (the Rayethons, BaEs, Siemens, whoever) of this world will make sure she is shunted out of the way. Far too much bubble in the FUD business.

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Black Helicopters

i bet you're right

wouldn't surprise me if there was incident at that or traced back to that airport just to make a point. The military industrial complex is alive and well.

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Anonymous Coward

Remarkably street-wise person...

Big respect!

How long will it be before others in the industry start to recognise that brown bears live in the woods and ducks quack?

What I want next if for the Border control services to have the right number of desks open to deal in a moderately swift manner with incoming passengers - but maybe that is asking too much too soon....

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Coat

AC@14:30

"What I want next if for the Border control services to have the right number of desks open to deal in a moderately swift manner with incoming passengers - but maybe that is asking too much too soon...."

Not sure but I believe that they are a chargeable service provided to the airlines.

Guess what? Airlines don't like paying for stuff.

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Joke

I wander

how longbefore easy jet/ryan air insint you do your own screening and security checks on your self?

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Anonymous Coward

Sudden outbreak of common sense proves contagious?

Best put 'er in quarantine right quick then. And that BA chap too.

It's not so much an arms race, as the "arms" on one side are essentially immaterial and on the other side just that much extremely boring job opportunities to man overly expensive kit and have excuses to harass people. The people our beloved overlords are trying to protect are caught squarely in the middle.

Where the military-industrial complex had actual weapons to counter and counters to defeat, the security-circus complex is matching show move for show move. Who can scare our citizens the most? You? No no no! Me! Watch this! Ha, you ain't seen nothin' yet, watch this! Ad nauseam.

Not to mention that financially it's trying to defeat an adversary with a shoe-string budget by trying to ruin the treasury. Somehow that seems a bit skewed.

How long did it take us to realise that? Nevermind, don't answer that. If we could trust our security services to take out the threat before it became actually dangerous, in the case of airlines well before it reached the airport, then they needn't campaign to scare us about what might happen. We know lots of stuff might happen, and we can do even less about it. Who's the intelligence service here then, hm?

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Anonymous Coward

The more this goes on.

The more I think this security theatre and fear mongering isn't about protecting anyone but the politicians.

They whip up scare stories and insist on ever intrusive security just in case there is another major attack, not to prevent one. We all know there will be another major attack attempted somewhere, someday and it is the security services that will prevent it if it can be. It certainly won't be prevented by a bunch of jumped up twits in Airports or nosey neighbours rifling through peoples rubbish looking for peroxide bottles.

Then if the worst happens and we fail to stop another atrocity the governments of the world can wash their hands of it saying "what else could we have done"

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Bravo

Thank God someone's taking the initiative here. Perhaps this will spread to other areas and we'll see the police back on the beat tackling crime instead of filling in forms and worrying about upsetting criminals too much!

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Unhappy

Oh, dear.

Now she's said that, I suppose we'll be getting another false flag "terrorist incident" in the next few days, to scare us all back into submission. Only took a couple of days last time round.

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Paris Hilton

Hmmm

I'm just about to leave work to go to Schiphol to go home...

Paris - because she prefers a human to technology...

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Finally a breath of fresh air

I agree and the ink cartridge example is a good case in-point.

Police at East Midlands airport, where the cartridge was discovered, took the move to allow the flight to leave the UK and continue on to the US because the cargo wasn't identified as explosive until later in the day. The reason it was not identified as explosive? Technology. The scanners were using out-of-date software.

Despite the fact that (allegedly) wires were showing and white powder was leaking from it, the police were powerless to hold the flight any longer because the technology said it wasn't explosive, yet any idiot could have guessed that it was just by looking at it.

Humans should be allowed to make decisions based on their own instinct - not based on whether a computer says no.

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Crap

Police were not powerless! Reasonable cause, human or machine is good enough.

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Anonymous Coward

Devil's advocate.

Well, those body scanners are pretty effective at keeping unwanted things out of the cabin. Totally intrusive and overkill, but a good deterrent. That's why the latest plot involved cargo, because that's where the weak point is now.

Israel does a pretty good job, they're a pretty big target. I think they take airport security pretty seriously, and therefore it's a job that's actually desirable and requires someone who knows what they're doing. Obviously the best way to prevent these attacks are in the planning stages.

russell 6, customs and security are two very different things. Security screening (as it is now) should be concerned only with stopping prohibited items (things that are a danger to the plane or passengers) from getting on the plane. That's it! Don't invite the comparison, those guys have too much power as it is.

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Anonymous Coward

The pants bomber...

... tells a slightly different story about body scanners, not so?

But recall the things that make /terrorism/ go. It's terror. So you think you're pretty safe behind those perv scanners? Why would teh terrists disabuse you of that notion, if they can scare you somewhere else first? They'll get around to showing you just how naive you were later, maybe.

That is, assuming there is any strategy behind it at all. If there isn't, well, then there isn't, and you can't really draw conclusions on statistically insignificant samples, at least not without deluding yourself. And terorrists are still statistically insignificant parts of the complete traveler population.

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@old-fashioned intelligence

Spot on.

That is all.

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Headmaster

Schipol - at gate security

Schipol has a different security model to most UK airports. Hand baggage scanners and metal detectors are at the gates which eliminates a whole set of risks especially involving collusion between passenger and one of the thousands of employees in the terminal.

It does however mean that an equipment upgrade has to be done for each gate and needs space around the airport rather than one zone. It also means the boarding time needs to include one at a time screening.

At most UK terminals the screening is at entry to airside which is the segregated into departures and arrivals. If they needed to double the security check area they need another 10 machines and to close the duty free. AMS would probably need 100 new machines and to rebuild every gate.

I do agree with the woman though I can see she has extra reason not to beef up the scans.

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Anonymous Coward

And a good thing too

Having one big phat zone full of queues waiting for perv scanners is a wonderful target. Bonus points for not needing to fudge around to try and pass your bomb or gas grenades through the scanners. The phrase "sitting ducks" comes to mind.

I recall that once or twice cars have been driven at high speed into airport front entrances. That clearly was mostly for show, not to do real damage. Walking in with a cart stuffed with large luggage and queueing for a while in a large hall full of bored people seems a lot easier. You might even get away with a polite "I have to go to the toilet" and buggering off two minutes before the bomb goes off.

That is just one more reason why, once /the adversary/ reaches the airport, the secret services have basically already lost the game.

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Its pretty standard for the rest of the world

Hong Kong and Singapore have the same model.

It provides a lot of benefits to passengers and airport, as you can freely wander around anywhere on the airport, there is no need for duplication of shops on either side of security, and you can actually buy some decent food at a reasonable price. The have passport control near the main entrance and scanners at each gate, but the scanners only get turned on when the gate is due to be used, so staffing doesn't have to be 1:1 with the machines either.

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FAIL

By Jove! I think she's got it. Yes she has, she's got it!

This is a brave woman to be standing up for sense.

The words of Hans Christian Andersen come to mind: The Emperor has no clothes!

The US airport security is a pantomime to satisfy the travelling public's perception of security. The US even searches pilots, how crazy is that? After all a pilot doesn't need a nail file or clippers to down an aircraft - switching off the autopilot and pushing the yoke hard forwards should do the trick, as the pilot of a Silk Air flight demonstrated a few years back.

It's the combination of human perception, interaction or psychology that gets the bomber.

What the Americans are doing reminds me of the powdered scrambled eggs we had in the Army. The menu board also called for a dozen eggs with shells to be thrown in to the blender with the egg powder. The sergeant cook explained that when men found the bits of eggshell they would be convinced the eggs were fresh!

The US security apparatus is making scrambled eggs!

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Headmaster

I might help too

If Israel was told that they cannot have the West bank regardless of God.

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Well said that woman

I'm currently sitting in Schipol, reading El Reg as I wait for my turn in the perv scanner at the gate. Ms Ornstein is only saying what the authorities in N. Ireland have known for 30-odd years: you'll never be able to catch every attack once it's under way. Background intelligence gathering and profiling (that we the public will *never* know about) is the only reliable solution.

The trouble is that this is under the control of the new breed of celebrity politicians for whom 'background' is a dirty word. They're only happy when people see them apparently doing something, the idea of just being quietly effective at running the country hasn't occurred to them. Our fault, we elected them. No wonder election turnout is at an all-time low, given the choices we get.

We can only hope that the background stuff is going on anyway

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DrM
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Yes!

Yes!!!!

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