Matthew Bell: For Israeli officials, it's all about questionsï¿½
And I'll get to that in a moment.
Travelers at Ben Gurion International Airport might not be aware of it.
But by the time they get to the metal detectors and x-ray machines, they've already been through several layers of security.
There's a checkpoint at the entrance to the airportï¿½
Where licenses plate are scanned and checked against a data base of suspicious vehicles.
Sometimes, you're questioned there.
When you get to the main terminal a college-aged kid approaches, asks to see some ID and a boarding passï¿½
ï¿½And starts asking a list of seemingly innocuous questions.
The Israel Airport Authority relies on technology, of course, including a huge network of closed circuit cameras.
But profiling is an important component of airport security in Israel.
Passengers are observed and questioned by security personnel to determine if they fit the kind of profile that authorities view as high risk.
I've been asked if I speak Hebrew.
Do I have family in Israel?
What kind of reporting I do.
The questions are designed to detect anything out of the ordinary.
And in my case, it doesn't take very longï¿½ usually.
On one flight out of Israel, I was pulled aside and questioned for over an hour.
Where exactly did you travel?
Who have you been talking to?
And what was your translator's name again?
I didn't have to take off my shoes or belt.
And there wasn't a single pat-down.
It did leave an impression, though, about how seriously Israelis take airport security.
Lisa Mullins: As we just heard, German airports are stepping up security. We're going to be hearing how airports in the Netherlands, India and Israel handle security screening, but first some American airports have been rolling our full body scanners that leave very little to the imagination. If you refuse to go through the scanner you have to submit to a thorough pat down, and some people have been complaining loudly about that. They say it's a total invasion of privacy. US officials have been scrambling this week to defend the machines, but those scanners are not new. The BBC's Geraldine Kaufflin says that at Schipol airport in the Netherlands, they started using them earlier this year. That followed the foiled bombing attempt by a Nigerian who flew out of that airport.
Geraldine Coughlin: Since then they have introduced a lot more scanners. The airport now has sixty scanners; they aim to use at least 75.
Mullins: Does there seem to be just a different mindset regarding personal privacy and how far they can go in security?
Coughlin: Yes indeed. But there is scepticism in the debate here, and the Dutch view now is that well scanners could have helped foil terrorism attempt, but there is never 100 percent guarantee, and also there's concern over cost and privacy as well which have held back the use of scanners until now. And what's happened in Schipol airport is that they've added screening technology known as "millimeter wave technology" and they're calling it security scanners rather than body scanners because the images are analyzed by computer, not an operator. They're still experimental, but there are some protests as well because parts of the public are saying that it violates privacy and there are concerns over people with medical conditions, the elderly and pregnant women.
Mullins: Is this still very much an issue there?
Coughlin: Yes, it's still much an issue here. There's criticism from the business community and within the parliament about the models that are now being used at Schipol airport because some experts say that they can detect weapons and metal but no liquid or powder explosives, so this is the tone of the debate. The thing is, the installation of scanners at Schipol airport doesn't just come under Dutch law but European law and regulations as well, so the debate extends to the European parliament, and until now, the European Union has not approved the routine use of the scanners at European airports.
Mullins: Geraldine Coughlin of the BBC, thank you.
Mullins: From Europe to India now, here's the BBC's Jyostna Singh in New Delhi.
Singh: There are no full body scanners here at airports or anywhere in the country at the moment, but the plan is to have them installed here very soon across the country on important government installations, as well as the airport. But people here in India are pretty used to great detailed security checks. For years now, more than a decade, complete frisking, people here are quite used to being patted down. The security here has been fairly intense, even before 26-11 attacks in Mumbai, particularly because, even before the world woke up to the dangers of terrorism, India has known these things for very long, the militancy in Kashmir. There have been several attacks in the country, in trains, in shopping malls, on Indian parliament, even before 9-11, so across the country there's very detailed security. In ?, the capital of Indian administered Kashmir, there are several layers of security. There is a security check post that's been created a few kilometers from the airport. You have to go through the same drill of being frisked, your baggage is x-rayed, you have to take everything out of the taxi. Then, before you enter the airport there is another round of checking and then inside the airport you have once again to go through the same exercise. It's fairly long, detailed, but people generally are very, very cooperative; people go through that without ever asking any questions. I'm Jyostna Singh in New Delhi.
Matthew Bell: For Israeli officials, it's all about questions. I'm Matthew Bell in Jerusalem and I'll get to that in a minute. Travelers at Ben-Gurion airport might not be aware of it, but by the time they get to the metal detectors and x-ray machines, they've already been through several layers of security. There's a check point at the entrance to the airport where license plates are scanned and checked against a database of suspicious vehicles, sometimes you're questioned there. When you get to the main terminal, a college-age kid approaches, asks to see some ID and a boarding pass, and starts to ask a seemingly innocuous list of questions. The Israel airport relies on technology, of course, including a huge network of closed circuit cameras, but profiling is an important component of airport security in Israel. Passengers are observed and questioned by security personnel to determine if they fit the kind of profile that authorities view as "high risk". I've been asked if I speak Hebrew? Do I have family in Israel? The questions are designed to detect anything out of the ordinary, and in my case, they don't take very long usually. On one flight out of Israel, I was pulled aside and questioned for over an hour. Where exactly did you travel? Who have you been talking to, and what was the name of your translator again? There wasn't a single pat down but it did leave an impression though about how seriously Israelis take airport security. For the World, I'm Matthew Bell.