Does anyone really give a crap about taking off your shoes at the airport?

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07/23/2010

Seriously. Is it really that bad? I’m no George Clooney, but I fly enough to have an opinion, and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that I have to take my shoes off, go through the detector, and then put them back on. And I never hear anyone else grumble about it anymore, either, unless it’s an older person with health issues who hasn’t traveled in 20 years or so and can’t bend over very well.

Yet GE Homeland Security - now Morpho Detection - has spent years chasing the holy grail of providing people a fully shoe-on experience at the airport. Now, finally, they’re unveiling a test implementation at Indy airport.

It looks like this:

Does that look like a toaster to anyone else?

I’m sure this thing works like magic, but it’s got me thinking about a subject that’s come up a lot while we’re developing this year’s TechSec call for presentations (I’ll quote from the draft document): “We seem, in security technology circles, to be continually creating solutions to imaginary problems. End users aren’t important because they’re the ones who buy stuff. End users are important because they’re the ones who actually use the systems to protect people and property!”

And in this case, I wonder if people are even identifying the right end user. Is the end user the security director of the airport or is it me, the guy who doesn’t really care about taking his loafers off?

Who is creating the demand that Morpho’s CEO references here:

“We’re excited to take this important next step towards the acceptance and adoption of advanced shoe screening technology,” said Dennis Cooke, president and CEO, Morpho Detection, Inc. “There is a growing global demand for a convenient and effective shoe scanning option, and we’re pleased to offer Indianapolis travelers the opportunity to be part of the final development of this solution.”

And what’s one of these shoe-scanners go for, ya think? $100,000 each or something? If there is demand, is the added convenience worth the price tag? If the grant money is there, airports will buy them, but would they buy them if they had to come out of the capital budget?

I guess we’ll find out. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s a pending mutiny whereby people will suddenly stop traveling altogether because of the indignity associated with going barefoot through a security checkpoint. But I’ve been seeing those stupid sock things they offer for people who are uncomfortable going barefooted (or sock-footed) through the scanner and I’ve never in my life seen anyone take advantage of the offered sock. Not once.

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Comments

<p class="comment_time">July 25th, 2010 at 7:06 am</p>
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<p>I think you are wrong. I know lots of people that think it&rsquo;s disgusting that they have to remove their shoes at airports.</p>
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