New York, Geneva (AirGuide - Airline News Africa / Middle East) Apr 25, 2010
Privacy advocates question the millions of background checks conducted each year in the U.S. and Canada Some privacy advocates question the millions of background checks conducted each year by U.S. and Canadian officials accessing the other country's databases. In the first four months of this year, the U.S. has queried Canadian databases 1.4 million times, while Canada has accessed U.S. data 400,000 times. Officials say the 1999 arrest of Ahmed Ressam, an al-Qaida operative convicted of smuggling explosives across the border to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, is proof that sharing information is key to security. But some Canadian lawmakers are "very nervous" about the open-database policy, and the ACLU calls it a "dangerous practice that needs a tremendous amount of accountability." Apr 22, 2010
US says global aviation security has improved markedly Global aviation security has improved markedly since Umar Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. In meetings with leaders from Europe, Africa and South America, Napolitano says she has encountered "remarkably little resistance" to greater coordination of security efforts. "When al-Qaida and al-Qaida-related groups go at aviation, they're really going at the citizens of the world and the global aviation system," she tells Fox News. As for the concern that terrorists may enter the system in a country that has not yet boosted security, Napolitano says there are "processes in place that allow us to identify travelers who may be trying to avoid" highly secure airports. Apr 20, 2010
Canadian Airport Israel's former airport security chief says Canada is wasting money on full-body scanners rejected by Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport, considered one of the safest in the world. "I don't know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines," Rafi Sela told parliamentarians. "I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747," he added, while declining to say how that could be accomplished. Sela said "trusted traveler" programs are more effective because they expedite screening for low-risk passengers, allowing greater focus on potential threats. But a top Canadian Transport Ministry official disagreed with Sela, noting scanners "are used by dozens of countries around...