Americas Nations Agree To Boost Airport Security

By Dialogo
February 19, 2010

Eight nations from the Americas, including the United States, agreed to boost air travel security by improving information-sharing, screening and coordination at a meeting in Mexico City. US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and representatives from the other nations signed an agreement Wednesday pledging to bolster travel document security and use modern screening technology at airports. The United States Mexico, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Panama and the Dominican Republic pledged to "broaden existing cooperation mechanisms among our countries... for information exchange and early detection of security threats to passenger security and the industry's well-being." "Do not exclude that groups Al-Qaeda would like to strike again at aviation," Napolitano warned at the meeting, which comes just after a failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a US-bound jet. After the attempted attack for which a Nigerian has been detained, nations around the world have stepped up airport security, including through the use of full body scanners. Civil rights groups and privacy advocates have criticized the scanners as invasive and Canadian Transport Minister Rob Merrifield cautioned that authorities "have to balance security with the privacy" of individuals. In January, Napolitano made a similar aviation security declaration with European counterparts.