Ideas for fixing airport security

Last week Slate held a contest calling for the best ideas to improve airport security. Yesterday, the site announced the winning entries as chosen by a panel of security experts. Among the winners:

  • In third place, Marianne Nassef suggests prohibiting those on the No-Fly list from purchasing airline tickets. “Nothing gets denied faster than a credit card,” she says. Of course, this idea faces the “false positive” problem that has presented itself repeatedly with the No-Fly list, with children and other innocents ending up on the list. And as Slate notes, “[T]he bad guys are likely to catch on and work around the system…”
  • In second place, Neil Stelzner and Phil Nettl call for using FBI trainees at airport security, which would introduce bona fide law enforcement personnel to the airport security process.
  • In first place, Benton Love suggests what any Econ 101 student knows: Incentives matter. Under this plan, undercover federal agents would constantly test TSA agents by trying to sneak bombs and other contraband by them. Screeners would be paid a bonus for each prohibited item they detected, and docked for every similar item that passed. This would give screeners a major incentive to keep a careful watch at all times.

Slate is forwarding the winning ideas to the White House, the TSA, and Congress. More here.