Manufacturing Accomplices: ICT Use in Securing the Safety State at Airports

Abstract : Based on a study of ICT use at an airport security checkpoint, this paper explores a possible explanation to the paradox that travelers find existing airport security measures inadequate while at the same time believing air travel to be sufficiently secure. We pursue this explanation by showing that, for the security checkpoint to function properly in relation to the overall function of the airport, travelers have to be enrolled in a particular program of action. They are then locked into this program through sanctions. Travelers are forced into participating in a system many of them find ethically and morally objectionable. Yet, active participation makes it difficult for them to object to the moral and ethical issues of their actions without damning themselves. Our explanation of the security paradox is, therefore, that while travelers remain critical of airport security, they avoid damning themselves by criticizing the system in terms of its own logic. They have been made accomplices.
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Thomas Østerlie, Ole Martin Asak, Ole Georg Pettersen, Håvard Tronhus. Manufacturing Accomplices: ICT Use in Securing the Safety State at Airports. IFIP WG 8.2/8.6 InternationalWorking Conference on Human Benefit through the Diffusion of Information Systems Design Science Research, Mar 2010, Perth, Australia. pp.327-342, ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-12113-5_20⟩. ⟨hal-01060409⟩

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