Essay Sample on Contemporary Airport Legal Issue: Searches and Screening

Published: 2021-07-19
655 words
3 pages
6 min to read
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Over the years, the Aviation Security Commission has instituted and enacted security measures to enhance the safety of passengers at the Airport and during flights. However, according to the President's Commission concerned with Aviation issues, security measures in the sector has often ended up imposing and restricting essential individual freedoms, an aspect that violates the rights of persons. Of particular interest and concern are the screening technology and the use of searching devices that are seen to be invasive to passengers. Although the screening and searching devices are noted to function accordingly, legal experts and judicial responses have raised concern on their invasive and violation on the part of passengers (Howick 2016). According to a panel set up to investigate the challenges of the devices and security measures, the procedure raises legal aspects that include violation of passengers rights and injuries that may result from the exposure to the screening and searching devices (Howick 2016). According to the panel, the use of searching devices violates individual rights as enshrined in the Fourth Amendment and entails unconstitutional search. Ethically and socially, such a search violates ones privacy and exposes one to personal injury. The problem thus results in balancing individual rights and enforcing security measures at the airport.

The implementation of the screening and searching security measures, although a good measure creates an imbalance in law enforcement and privacy. According to the Howick (2016), people are protected against unreasonable seizure and searches that may result in personal intrusion and unreasonable grounds of security measures. According to the courts, several aspects determine a reasonable search that includes the level of frequency of the risks involved, the degree of intrusion, and any available option of searching. However, while considering the effectiveness of such a measure, limits need to be enacted to balance individual rights and enforcing the law to achieve the highest level of efficiency. For example, a situation that may not warrant a search is whereby there is little or no threat or a situation whereby the search is carried out by a non-government law enforcement agency (Howick 2016). However, as it stands currently, no accord has been enacted to ascertain if private or government entities perform a search.

On the other hand, it has been noted over the years that criminals take advantage of the Fourth Amendment to frustrate criminal prosecutions in situations where they are arrested with illegal items, guns, or drugs. According to Biggs and Mitroff (2015), criminals may argue that such searches are illegal and a violation of their rights. At the same time, an individual may sue to stop a search warrant or screening in advance. The situation may give rise to risks at the airport and put other passengers lives at risk as criminals take advantage of the Fourth Amendment to pass without screening or a search.

However, an adequate balance between enforcing the law and protecting individual privacy is to come up with legislations that address circumstances under which screening and searching are allowed (Biggs and Mitroff 2015). At the same time, individuals need to realize that societal purpose of safety at the airport is important and any search is for their well-being. It will thus put search and screening as a special need at the airport in which case, government law enforcement agencies, and airport security personnel understand the special needs at the airport that warrant screening and searches (Howick 2016). At the same time, the public need to be educated on the special need for tight security measures as a way of keeping the public interest of safety as a priority. Such provisions need to be made in line with the rights of individuals in line with the Fourth Amendment.


Biggs, A. T., & Mitroff, S. R. (2015). Improving the efficacy of security screening tasks: A review of visual search challenges and ways to mitigate their adverse effects. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29(1), 142-148.

Howick, J. L. (2016). The Fourth Amendment and Airports (No. ACRP Project 11-01, Task 05-03).

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: