It doesn't sound like the change will come anytime soon, but it's at least been suggested. At a Politico Playbook breakfast on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano gave hope to harried travelers everywhere by saying that the TSA requirement that passengers take off their shoes and scamper in their socks through backscatter airport screenings will eventually be phased out. What she said, exactly, was this:
"We are moving towards an intelligence and risk-based approach to how we screen," Napolitano stated. "I think one of the first things you will see over time is the ability to keep your shoes on. One of the last things you will [see] is the reduction on limitation on liquids." Politico's Josh Gerstein, however, pointed out that Napolitano didn't explain what future technology will hasten the change.
The remark arrives on the same day as a poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research detailed the public's comfort with trading personal freedoms for security. 54 percent said that "if they had to choose between preserving their rights and freedoms and protecting people from terrorists, they'd come down on the side of civil liberties." But with 58 percent of those surveyed in the poll favoring airport body scans, perhaps all they want to do is leave their shoes on.