Airport Screening: Shoe Removal Policy Could Come to an End

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Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday that in the near future, air travelers should be able to keep their shoes on while being screened by airport security.

“We are moving towards an intelligence and risk-based approach to how we screen,” said Napolitano, repeating a line spoken frequently by a number of high-ranking security officials over the past year. While Napolitano foretold a time when shoe-removal at the airport will be a thing of the past, she warned that it will be a long time before liquid restrictions on planes would be eliminated.

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Although Napolitano did not give details about the kind of technology or screening methods that could be introduced to make shoe removal unnecessary, she did note that research and development on the shoe front are progressing well.

In the walkup to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Transportation Security Administration head John Pistole has also announced a few important changes to security procedures at airports including creating a trusted traveler program, testing a “casual conversation” screening technique at Boston’s Logan airport and limiting pat-downs on children under the age of 12. In June, the International Air Transport Association also unveiled a mockup of its “Checkpoint of the Future” that could potentially shorten security lines and make screening easier for frequent and trusted travelers.

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Frances Romero is a writer-reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @frances_romero or on Tumblr. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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