Another deadly rental van rampage occurred on Monday, this time on the streets of Toronto, Canada. The attack carried out by Alek Minassian left 10 people dead and even more injured. Similar attacks where assailants have used rental vehicles to cause damage has left car rental agencies finding new ways to screen potential threats and prevent their property from being involved in such violent acts. Efforts in the United States and Europe have seen major progress in which how car rental agencies conduct background checks since suffering from multiple similar attacks themselves.
"But rental agencies are still limited in how well they can screen customers," said Toby Poston, director of communications at the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association. "Members aren't expert at profiling customers," said Poston. "People don't come into rental branches wearing camo gear and stab vests and with that sort of glint in their eye. Quite often, these people just present themselves like any normal person." He continues "you have to remember that a criminal record is not always reason enough to not rent someone a vehicle. And you have to careful from a discrimination point of view."
However, in the end security checks still have no definitive way to prevent these attacks from happening. Car rental agencies could submit information to law and security officials to share data but with a criminal background check and a credit check cannot reveal a person's intention with the car rental. Alek Minassian is an example of how security checks could not have prevented this attack. Minassian was unable to raise any red flags, even when he did a brief stint in the Canadian Armed Forces last year. The Associated Canadian Car Rental Operators said government officials have yet to reach out to try to co-ordinate data sharing. And while such efforts would be complicated, the issue itself lies another question of when does that data sharing infringe on existing rights of the individual and rights to privacy.