Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Global Airports Need to Adopt Open Architecture in the Fight Against Terrorism

International Push to Standardise and Communicate
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Whereas national governments squabble over security sharing arrangements in the light of such things as Brexit, the Huawei controversy and the like, it seems the world's major airports have realised that such pettifogging cannot be endured when it comes to facing up to terrorism at the coal face.

Last month regulators and airport operators from across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East joined forces to promote the introduction of open architecture in airport security systems, laid out in a paper prepared by Heathrow Airport Limited and Avinor AS and backed by such as the Airports Council International (ACI), Transport Security Administration (TSA), UK Department for Transport (DfT) and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA)/ACSTA) with a host of endorsements from around the globe.

The paper concentrates on the fact that global security in air transport rests on the communication between international partners sharing fully what they know and who they know about, stating that a safe and secure aviation system is the foundation of the global economy. In a joint statement David Pekoske, TSA Administrator, John Holland-Kaye CEO, Heathrow Airport, and Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE said:

“The key to our success is the shared ability to collaborate across the public, private and academic sectors. It is through these partnerships that we bring the best technologies and brightest minds together and rise to the collective challenge of outmatching a dynamic threat.

The partners agree that the security threat to this global system is real and continues to evolve, with technology changing the way the world and those with malicious intent operate. The document sets out broad guidelines for how airport security systems can share data and how airports can work with partners to provide a path forward for new innovative software developers to help defeat terrorism.

The paper drills down into the sophisticated requirements needed to maintain a safe overall system including both hard and software with the need to protect against everything, from cyber-attacks to hacking of scanning machines and the algorithms responsible for every facet of the security chain. The need for communal equipment is stressed as is the requirement for interoperability.

The document also shows the possibility of creating a truly safe and workable open architecture system with comparisons to active military examples currently in use. The paper can be downloaded in its entirety HERE.

Photo: Courtesy of TSA.