While technology plays a key role in airport security, it needs to be designed with users at the centre, says Dr Steven Shorrock.

Dr Shorrock, psychologist, ergonomist and senior lecturer with the University of New South Wales’ Department of Aviation, says in an interview that recent international events show that security threats have not diminished.

“The security landscape has obviously changed and there’s really no justification to relax security measures even after a prolonged period free from security incidents,” he says.

Australia needs to maintain a high level of airport security. The fact that there have been no terrorist attacks may be due to the constant vigilance and attention paid to security. Any lapse or holes in security will increase vulnerability.

“One of the problems is that the reliability of any system can never be guaranteed 100 per cent."

“Yet people become very reliant on technology soon after its introduction. Research in aviation shows that people tend to trust automation more than is actually warranted and they can become quite out of the loop.”


Dr Shorrock will address the Asia Pacific Airport and Aviation Security 2009 conference on 11-12 March in Melbourne.

He wants to ensure that people are at the centre of security systems rather than at the periphery.

“Developers need to pay as much attention to the people who are using the technology, maintaining the technology and managing the technology as they do to the individuals that they are actually trying to detect and identify using these security systems.”


Article courtesy of Informa Australia