Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Heather Mbaye


One of the objectives of the U.S. government is to balance the individual’s right to privacy and national security interests. Trusted Traveler programs create a risk-based security model where the traveling public is categorized into low or high risk. There are, however, some privacy concerns related to the acceptance of the use of biometric technology in the adoption of expedited security screening procedures in commercial airports. The theoretical construct of this case study of the TSA Pre-Check Program is based on Ajzen and Fischbein’s theory of reasoned action, specifically through Davis’ technology acceptance model. The purpose of this case study was to explore the perceptions of the traveling public regarding the protection of privacy and the use of biometric technologies. Data for this study included 325 social media postings, 50 privacy complaints reported to the Department of Homeland Security between 2009 and 2014, and publicly available data from the Government Accountability Office about expedited screening for the years 2011 – 2014. Data were coded into a priori themes and then subjected to a content analysis procedure. Findings indicate that the traveling public generally support expedited security screening and consent to waiving certain privacy rights in order to facilitate expedited screening. Complaints from travelers were also primarily related to wait times and secondary screening, and not privacy concerns. The positive social change implications stemming from this study include recommendations to the TSA to expand the Trusted Traveler programs such that the primary concern of the traveling public, reduction of wait time is balanced against privacy concerns about the collection of biometric data as part of a measured response to aviation security.