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Lie Detectors to be Used for Airline Security 504

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the obviously-a-machine-knows dept.
swimgeek writes "A new walk-through airport lie detector being made in Israel may prove to be the toughest challenge yet for potential hijackers or drugs smugglers. The product has been tested in Russia and should be commercialized soon. The software in the detector picks up uncontrollable tremors in the voice that give away liars or those with something to hide, say its designers. Passengers that fail the test are then required to undergo further questioning or even search."
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Lie Detectors to be Used for Airline Security

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  • So.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Alaren (682568) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:48PM (#14058500)

    My voice is my passport?

    • Your Rights Online (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm so glad that this new airline security will protect my rights as I surf the 'Net.

    • Hello my name is Werner Brandes. My voice is my passport. Verify me
      Best "hacking" movie ever!
    • by commodoresloat (172735) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:35PM (#14058918)
      So how many people will get searched as terrorists because their voice is shaky because they're cheating on their wife, didn't tell their parents they were going to costa rica with their friends, or told their employer they were going to a family reunion? Not everyone with "something to hide" is a lawbreaker.
      • Not everyone with something to hide is a law breaker, however they're not talking about using this to convict people of crimes (nor to question people about their extramarital affairs) - they only want to use it to help determine who they should check more closely.

        I am sure I would set such a machine off every time I walk through a security gate - I'm just a generally nervous person. Do I care? Of course not - It's for a good cause! It improves security, reduces the cost effectiveness of security, and ma
        • by Sarisar (842030)
          OK so about 18 months ago I lost my job outsourced to India and I went travelling. Had a ticked UK -> Oz stopping off in the US. I had a flight in to the east coast of US, flight out from west coast and I was making my own way across by planes trains and automobiles. I got stopped EVERY SINGLE FLIGHT for extra security checks, and I got talking to various TSA guys and one of them said basically because I was a single guy flying one way it was causing the extra checks. It seems stupid, if you want to
          • by Achra (846023)
            Ok, the airport security is silly. I might note that I am currently writing this post from inside a US airport.
            I'm a commuter. I fly home for the weekends. There's lots of us like that here. The economy bites.
            The 2 things that will absolutely get you a special going over are:
            1) One-way ticket
            2) Buying your ticket with cash
            I fly a LOT. I've never even been looked at. I constantly fly with super weird computer equipment, today I have a handheld ultrasound machine. Does the TSA guy have any idea what that
        • by Speare (84249) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @10:58PM (#14059529) Homepage Journal
          Do I care? Of course not - It's for a good cause! It improves security

          I've heard way too much of this attitude. The USA founders defended personal liberty, but the average USA sheeple just assumes that if someone tells them "it's for a good cause: security," they feel all warm inside and let everyone get herded. Stand up for your rights, tell your congressfolk that the government doesn't need more powers, or just fuck off, please.

          • by zazzel (98233) on Friday November 18, 2005 @03:34AM (#14060749)
            Count me as another guy who can't stand this attitude any longer. It's for a good cause! For the sake of security, cut my balls off! Sorry, but I am a German who has just had to accept that his Secretary of the Interior bypassed parliament to get RFID passports with biometric information (fingerprints, face vectors) through. You know where this guy came from? He was a lawyer defending a leftist terrorist organization in the 1970s. Now it's obviously a small step from the extreme left to the (semi?-)fascist right - at least the "individual liberties" question is a no-brainer for them. Okay, it was an "or else" question: the US threatened to demand tourist visa from everyone traveling to the USA - but i'd rather accept the lenghty process of applying for a visa everytime I want to go see New York City instead of having my OWN government collaborate without any public discussion and bypassing parliament through some EU loophole.

            It's the US's right to demand visa, and I would gladly comply (or not go there, whatever!) - but it's MY government's duty to act in my interest, not constantly threatening me. And besides, what's a mere 130 EUR ($150?) for a passport that's going to be microwaved in my kitchen anyway?
        • by japa (28571) on Friday November 18, 2005 @01:38AM (#14060379)
          Do I care? Of course not - It's for a good cause! It improves security

          There's always a chance that terrorists smuggle tweapons in their rectums. That's why people should be randomly taken to rectal search. I'm sure you wouldn't care, it's for good cause and you have nothing to hide in your ass.
        • by famebait (450028)
          I am sure I would set such a machine off every time I walk through a security gate - I'm just a generally nervous person. Do I care?

          You will after the first 10 times when you get stopped for further questionong every fucking time and it's always you and not the other guys.

          it improves security

          No it doesn't. Proof? Let's see yours first.

          reduces the cost effectiveness of security

          I think it's supposed to increase it. Not sure it would, though.

          and makes it quicker for the average person to get where they're go
      • by mpe (36238)
        So how many people will get searched as terrorists because their voice is shaky because they're cheating on their wife, didn't tell their parents they were going to costa rica with their friends, or told their employer they were going to a family reunion?

        Or who are doing nothing wrong but have a phobia about flying...
  • What if they... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TarrySingh (916400)
    Tell the truth and then blow up themselves near the lie detector?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:49PM (#14058512)
    they just shoot your ass.
  • Oh goodie (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aussie_a (778472) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:50PM (#14058519) Journal
    I can't wait until I have to take a lie detector test before boarding a plane. I'm really getting sick of all these invasive security measures. I'm damn glad I won't have to hop on planes for my job.

    If only taking a ship was a valid alternative for travelling overseas.
    • Re:Oh goodie (Score:5, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:55PM (#14058565) Homepage Journal
      I wish it was legal for an airline to offer a tyranny free departure lounge. "I'm aware of the risks of terrorism and I'm willing to pay hirer insurance premiums not to be harrassed."
    • yes, I'm starting to like my 30min train ride to 2blocks from the office even more.

      "the first stage of the test takes between 30-75 seconds"
      30-75sec per person for just the first part, that's only going to add another few hours before boarding. If the terrorists can train their operatives to resist torture, you'd think they might be able to condition themselves to pass an audio lie detector. Say you ask if they're planning anything illegal and they don't believe hijacking a plane isn't illlegal, I think Sei
    • And people wonder why I've refused to fly in this country since 9/11.

      The insane level of airport security here makes me sick. And, yes, I'm perfectly willing to take a ship in order to travel overseas, regardless of how much time it will take.
      • Re:Oh goodie (Score:3, Interesting)

        by shanen (462549)
        I've also abandoned flying, though I can't even estimate the number of times I'd flown before that.

        As far as security goes, even if the system really works, I can already see lots of problems. For example, false positives from people who have OTHER things to hide that have nothing to do with airplanes. Or even more seriously, false negatives from people who are using drugs or some trick to reduce their voice stress under the detection threshold. Even more serious than that, we have true negatives that are

      • Re:Oh goodie (Score:2, Informative)

        by N3Roaster (888781)
        I do a fair amount of flying and, to be honest, I'm not seeing insanely tight airport security on a routine basis in the United States. So maybe now instead of being delayed in the customs line while I'm trying to get to my connecting flight I get a quick interview with a national guard officer or a short random search (a look through my laptop bag and a wave of the metal detector) before boarding. The added security is not being applied consistently, at least at the airports I've been to, and it hasn't bee
    • Re:Oh goodie (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Fallingcow (213461) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:20PM (#14058787) Homepage
      If only taking a ship was a valid alternative for travelling overseas.

      I've actually looked in to this, and the only sort of sea transportation available is aboard freighters, which often take on a dozen or so passengers at a time. It's a bit pricey--higher than air travel but lower than cruise ships (which take too damn long to get where they're going anyway, and cost tons of money; they're not transportion, really). Also, their schedules can be hard to work with.

      They're probably the cheapest way to do a round-the-world tour, though, and some shipping companies offer just that. Surprisingly little info online, but apparently there is an underground of "low-luxury" travellers who like take a less tourist-y route, and there are newsletters and magazines for this sort of thing.

      I fully intend to take at least one voyage like this at some point in my life.
  • toughest challenge (Score:5, Insightful)

    by augustz (18082) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:50PM (#14058521) Homepage
    for innocent passengers as well, who, when faced with M-16 toting guys can't avoid an "uncontrollable tremor" in their voice.

    No mention of the false positive rate on this. If just 1 in a million passenger is a terrorist, and given the number of passenger flights per year without bombings on US planes it has got to be way up there, the false positive rate it going to need to be way WAY down there.
    • Indeed. I would think that a lot of people are nervous (if not scared downright shitless) about taking a plane in the first place, and then scared even more by the armed forces and uniformed security staff, and now they have to be scared of failing the lie detector test too?

      Regards,
      --
      *Art
    • The software in the detector picks up uncontrollable tremors in the voice that give away liars or those with something to hide,

      Something to hide, like J Edgar Hoover. Could be a lot of false positives.

    • when faced with M-16 toting guys

      Why are faceless lackeys always "toting?" I don't expect most people to know what "port arms" is, but toting makes it sound like they're carrying it like a purse.

      No mention of the false positive rate on this.

      Not surprising since it's a fucking scam.
    • With this kind of application, a false negative (a miss) is more costly than a false positive. The system should be tuned on the side of caution.
      • by Shamashmuddamiq (588220) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:51PM (#14059048)
        The system should be tuned on the side of caution.

        TFA: "...12 percent of passengers tend to show stress even when they have nothing to hide."

        This means that, if one in every 1 million passengers is a real terrorist, then there will be 120,000 false positives for every single terrorist. This makes for a useless system. If you're an airport worker and you've just seen your 100,000th false positive, what's the likelihood that you're going to trust the system anymore? Answer: You're not. Long before that point, you will have started waving everyone through. Even if only 0.1 percent of people fail the test, that's still 1000 false positives per terrorist, and it's too much.

        This system is a waste of money and passenger time.

    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:32PM (#14058897)
      I wish I could find the original slashdot comment I saved this from. I googled for it briefly and found the slashdot story [slashdot.org] but couldn't find the comment. If you do, please reply with it.

        --The following was written by someone else--.

      "Yeah! Hunters don't kill the *innocent* animals - they look for the shifty-eyed ones that are probably the criminal element of their species!"

      "If the're not guilty, why are they running?"

        I wrote about this a while ago. Here's the text:

      "If you haven't done anything wrong, what do you have to hide?"

      Ever heard that one? I work in information security, so I have heard it more than my fair share. I've always hated that reasoning, because I am a little bit paranoid by nature, something which serves me very well in my profession. So my standard response to people who have asked that question near me has been "because I'm paranoid." But that doesn't usually help, since most people who would ask that question see paranoia as a bad thing to begin with. So for a long time I've been trying to come up with a valid, reasoned, and intelligent answer which shoots the holes in the flawed logic that need to be there.

      And someone unknowingly provided me with just that answer today. In a conversation about hunting, somebody posted this about prey animals and hunters:
      "Yeah! Hunters don't kill the *innocent* animals - they look for the shifty-eyed ones that are probably the criminal element of their species!"
      but in a brilliant (and very funny) retort, someone else said:
      "If the're not guilty, why are they running?"

      Suddenly it made sense, that nagging thing in the back of my head. The logical reason why a reasonable dose of paranoia is healthy. Because it's one thing to be afraid of the TRUTH. People who commit murder or otherwise deprive others of their Natural Rights are afraid of the TRUTH, because it is the light of TRUTH that will help bring them to justice.

      But it's another thing entirely to be afraid of hunters. And all too often, the hunters are the ones proclaiming to be looking for TRUTH. But they are more concerned with removing any obstactles to finding the TRUTH, even when that means bulldozing over people's rights (the right to privacy, the right to anonymity) in their quest for it. And sadly, these people often cannot tell the difference between the appearance of TRUTH and TRUTH itself. And these, the ones who are so convinced they have found the TRUTH that they stop looking for it, are some of the worst oppressors of Natural Rights the world has ever known.

      They are the hunters, and it is right and good for the prey to be afraid of the hunters, and to run away from them. Do not be fooled when a hunter says "why are you running from me if you have nothing to hide?" Because having something to hide is not the only reason to be hiding something.
      • "If you haven't done anything wrong, what do you have to hide?"

        Though I've hardly refined it, anytime I've received this response I ask the person if they've ever used a dressing room in a clothing store.

        Just about everyone has used a dressing room...so the question is...what do they have to hide? Why doesn't the person undress and try the clothes on in front of everyone? They have nothing to hide. Everyone's got body parts like everyone else.

        People use dressing rooms because they are shy about their bodies
    • Those that fail are taken aside for more intensive questioning and, if necessary, searches. Liberman said around 12 percent of passengers tend to show stress even when they have nothing to hide.
      12% does seem pretty darn high to be an effective tool.
    • > No mention of the false positive rate on this.

      From the article:

      "The one person [of 500] found to be planning something illegal was the one who failed our test. ...
      around 12 percent of passengers tend to show stress even when they have nothing to hide.
      "

      I'm not sure how to reconcile these two statements, especially since the 12% figure was used in a "those who fail" context. I would guess that the former statement is marketing spin, especially since it makes claims about the plans of the people tested,

    • by Surt (22457) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:45PM (#14059004) Homepage Journal
      I hardly care how high the false positive rate is, as long as the false negative rate is sufficiently low.

      Let them falsely pull out 10 people on a hundred person flight for an extensive search. Great. Just as long as they don't miss the one guy on one flight in ten thousand with the bomb in his backpack.
  • by csbrooks (126129) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:51PM (#14058534) Homepage

    If you're honest, you get cleared, right?

    "Are you a terrorist?"
    "Yes."
    "Go on through."

    • "Are you trying to hide something sir?"
      "No."
      "The machine says you're lying!"
      "I- I used to be a woman named Freida." *sob*
    • Feynman (Score:5, Funny)

      by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:26PM (#14058831)
      Richard Feynman, when he was in college, once helped steal and hide the door of two guys in the fraternity who were being obnoxious twits about keeping the door to their room closed.

      They searched the place high and low, never finding the door. Someone suggested the fraternity President ask each member, on their honor as a member of the fraternity, if they had stolen the door. So he worked his way down the line, and came to Feynman.

      "Richard Feynman, on your honor as a member of the fraternity, did you steal the door?"

      "Yes."

      He replied, "Quit screwing around, Feynman!", and moved on to the next guy. Everyone else denied having taken the door.

      Eventually Feynman took pity on the guys and returned the door and (I believe) confessed. When he did, there was an uproar, as people claimed he had lied.

    • Click here [planetvids.com] to watch it. :)
  • by TheNarrator (200498) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:53PM (#14058545)
    Maybe they could sell a home version of this that would help rate aspiring actor on their ability to convincingly speak a part from a screenplay.
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:53PM (#14058550) Homepage Journal
    ...no U.S. politician has been able to fly out of Israel.

    I found out how the lie detector works. Bend suspect over, shove device in rectum. I only hope that everyone (including officials) has to go through it, equally.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:53PM (#14058551) Journal
    A "Lie Detector" is a fantasy. Machines can detect physiological clues to nervousness, and that's it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldrich_Ames [wikipedia.org]> Aldrich Ames passed his polygraph exams for years, while he was getting every US agent in Russia killed.

    Depending on fantasies like "lie detectors" distracts law enforcement from practicing solid investigation.

    -jcr
    • by Jeremi (14640) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:00PM (#14058619) Homepage
      If by "lie detector" you mean polygraph tests, then you're right -- they are bunk. A machine that detects lies by some other means is not impossible though -- you can detect lies with an MRI machine [wired.com], for example. How you would integrate that into an airport, I don't know.
      • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:04PM (#14058651) Journal
        No, you still can't detect lies with an MRI. You can observe brain activity which may or may not correlate to deception, which will differ greatly for each individual you examine.

        To actually detect lies, you have to know everything the person making a statement knows, and then you still don't know if he's lying or just misinformed.

        -jcr

      • Actually, if you RTFriendlyA that you linked, you'll see that the fMRI procedure detects changes in brain activity associated with anxiety and impulse control. So conceptually it's not necessarily any closer to being a "lie detector" than the polygraph (though possibly better at detecting anxiety, or possibly not).

        On the other hand, fMRI would be very effective at stopping terrorists who try to sneak some metal [koppdevelopment.com] somewhere on their body. Messy, but effective.
      • "you can detect lies with an MRI machine, for example. How you would integrate that into an airport, I don't know."

        Easy. Just show up 2 days early for domestic flights, 4 days for international.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I may be way off base with this, but that link states that he failed every lie detector test he took. He just convinced the tester to ignore the results. Not exactly the best example, there.

      On a completely unrelated note, this is my third attempt to prove myself human to the AC Captcha test. WTF is up with these? They're unreadable.
      • I may be way off base with this, but that link states that he failed every lie detector test he took.

        No, he passed. There's usually something in any poly test that the examiner will point to so he can sweat you a bit. The machine is just a prop, really. The point of the exam is just to subject you to an intense interrogation.

        -jcr
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:53PM (#14058553)

    The software in the detector picks up uncontrollable tremors in the voice that give away liars or those with something to hide, say its designers. Passengers that fail the test are then required to undergo further questioning or even search.

    Sounds like sufferers of spasmodic dysphonia [wikipedia.org], such as NPR's Diane Rehm [washingtonpost.com] are going to have a hell of a time at airports in the near future...
  • I won't have any problem with this, because I'm not a pathological liar. Really.
  • by Datamonstar (845886) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:56PM (#14058577)
    If there's a hot female security guard on duty, I'm gonna SO lie so I'll get searched by her.
    • Until she does the cavity search.

      Of course, in San Francisco, you pay extra for that.
    • I think that a lot or guys would get kind of nervous when being questioned by a hot chick. This will cause a lot of false positives.
    • by dakirw (831754)

      If there's a hot female security guard on duty, I'm gonna SO lie so I'll get searched by her.

      Of course, while she might be asking the questions, you might get lucky and run into her huge Neanderthal compatriot that is manning the strip search station.
  • This is really unfair to psychics, who have just as much scientific basis for their powers as lie detectors. Why replace a paying job with a machine? Obviously it's greed.
  • ... Your airport is a fucking disaster area and I think your airline is unsafe. *beep* truth.
  • by keraneuology (760918) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @08:59PM (#14058603) Journal
    From TFA this gizmo detects those with something to hide.

    What about the poor schmuck just excited about going off to visit his mistress? Or his girlfriend, knowing he's about to get his first action in 9 months? Or any member of Congress?

    I am pretty sick and tired of these jerkwads coming out with all of this technology that is supposed to protect us from somebody who has nothing better to do all day long than figure out ways to hurt us. And stick me with billions of dollars in expenses for a technology that may or may not catch somebody other than the occasional innocent git or two-bit martyr wanna be. Does it work? "Sorry, for national security reasons we can't tell you how many bad guys we caught or how many innocent guys to whom we gave a cavity probe".

    Money isn't the root of all evil anybody who votes for any incumbent is.

    • From TFA this gizmo detects those with something to hide.

      "Liberman said around 12 percent of passengers tend to show stress even when they have nothing to hide." And that's from the guy selling the damn thing. So there is a huge false positive rate, and no guarantee of no false negatives.

      I've seen gadgets advertised that are supposed to do this over the phone. Your terrorist cell gets one of these and test their guys till they find one or several that can pass.

  • Now they will catch everyone who flies less than once a year, or is otherwise just a bit nervous with the idea of flying as false positives.

    Off course if one does fly on a weekly basis nothing happens. But that is not the case for one getting on board to a city one had never been before, possibly to be met by people unknown to the moment.

    Speaking for myself: I would fail this tests everytime - I am never too calm on a flight.
  • It's a fraud! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:02PM (#14058637)
    Voice analyzers and polygraphs (the so-called "lie detector") are frauds. They have both been scientifically proven again and again to be unreliable, with lots of false positives and false negatives, which is why they aren't admissible in court.

    The only value to either technology is to scare and threaten. If the person being questioned believes that they work, they are less likely to lie or more likely to admit a lie.

    Aldrich Ames, a mole in the CIA, passed a polygraph many, many times, as did lots of others.

    Since voice analyzers and polygraph examiners make a shitload of money, and they compete with each other, they are great for pointing out the flaws in each other's devices since the other technology threatens their gravy train.

    It's fraud, plain and simple. Flip a coin instead. It's more likely to be accurate than a voice analyzer or polygraph.
  • by crimethinker (721591) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:02PM (#14058641)
    Of course I'm sure that this device will never fall into the hands of the "bad guys." Thinking from the bad guy perspective, if I were sending people to hijack planes, and they were failing at this device, I'd get my hands on one of them, somehow, through a sympathetic government, bribery, outright theft, whatever.

    Then whomever gets the "glory" of murdering innocent civilians has one additional step in the training camp: learning how to calmly lie into the microphone. We don't pack the explosives in his bag until he can pass 10 times out of 10.

    I'd much prefer returning to pre-1972 rules where the airlines could decide if you could bring a loaded firearm onto the plane. Those airlines that allowed it would get my business, and the free market would take care of the problem.

    -paul

  • This is actually a really good idea in one specific context.

    If they use it to determine who gets the greater scrutiny in searches (thereby avoiding dangerous profiling) and make it unobtrusive (a microphone in the attendants uniform when he asks if you have packed your bags..etc.) this could be a boon to airport security.
  • I think we can expect an increase in delayed flights because a bunch of innocent people with quiverring voices have been hauled off for extra questioning while the rest of the passengers wait patiently on the plane. What a crock!
  • by doormat (63648) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:12PM (#14058719) Homepage Journal
    And ask them if they're really doing their job instead of just standing around looking helpless.

    TSA = Thousands Standing Around
  • "In our trial, 500 passengers went through the test, and then each was subjected to full traditional searches," said chief executive officer Amir Liberman. "The one person found to be planning something illegal was the one who failed our test."

    I can see that they settle for nothing than the most stringent double-blind testing.
  • what is your name?
    what is you quest?
    what is your favorite color?

    (I'm pretty sure I got question 2 wrong, but you get the idea...)
  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:41PM (#14058970) Homepage Journal

    I travelled to and from Israel prior to 9/11 and, being the security geek that I am, I found their approach to airport security very interesting. Not only is it utterly different from what we do in the US, but it is obviously devastatingly effective. Israel has been under open attack from terrorists for *decades* and yet they've never, ever had an incident.

    What do they do that's different? The whole focus is different. In the US, we focus on the (arguably futile) task of assuring that there are no weapons on the aircraft. In Israel, they focus on assuring that there are no terrorists on the aircraft. Their approach is about screening people more than bags, on the theory that weapons aren't dangerous, people are dangerous.

    The screening is intensive, detailed and time-consuming. They do search the bags while they're at it, but the main purpose of searching bags isn't to look for weapons, it's to look for clues and to provoke reactions. I'll describe my experience of going through security in Tel Aviv on the way out of Israel by way of example.

    I was travelling with my boss, on business. The first thing they did was to separate us, sending each of us to a different table. At each table were three agents. One of them searched my bag -- *very* thoroughly, picking through it piece by piece. Another asked me questions at a rapid-fire pace, jumping around between who I was, what I was doing, where I had gone, who I had spoken with, who I knew in Israel and what was the purpose and origin of various pieces from my luggage. The questioner was detailed, but not necessarily thorough. He asked about seemingly random things, but inquired in great detail, testing to see how my story would hold together under scrutiny. After asking the names and phone numbers of some people I had met with, he pulled out a phone and actually called one of them and grilled him for a minute! Then he and the agent who had been speaking with my boss stepped away and conferred with one another, obviously cross-checking our stories to see if they matched up.

    The third agent at each table just watched. The guy at my table had his eyes glued to me the whole time, watching for any hint of abnormal reaction... it's unbelievable how nervous that made me! But I suppose my reaction was normal.

    I can see *exactly* how a lie detector would fit into this model. Even if it didn't actually work, it would make the subject that much more worried and frightened, making it harder for a terrorist to stay calm enough to have all the right reactions. It wouldn't even matter if it gave bad readings from time to time, because in a situation like that, with trained, experienced agents, the lie detector would be just another tool to help both trigger and analyze reactions; it would be the agents themselves that made the decisions about who to investigate further and who to pass on.

    Although I would really hate to see what would happen if the US tried to institute a *real* airport security system like the Israelis have, rather than the "security theatre" that we have, I found it very impressive. It sucked royally to be the subject of that scrutiny, even as an honest guy just trying to fly home... it's easy to see why they have such an amazing track record.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:21AM (#14061569)
      I know I'm posting as an A.C., so up front is the basis for my observations: I am a dual-citizen and did my service in the Israeli military. I'm very familar with the security rationale and my closest cousin (practically my older brother) was one of the "Security Selectors" you talk about. (Un?)Fortunately, being Israeli and secular means that I have never been subjected to the intense screening process that non-Israelis endure at border crossings, so I can't speak to the process from personal experience. I have flown in and out of Israel some 80-90 times over the course of my life, and have entered by ship once.

      Their approach is about screening people more than bags, on the theory that weapons aren't dangerous, people are dangerous.

      Precisely. Your description of the screening process is also dead-on accurate.

      However, what works for Israel doesn't necessarily work for the USA. You're right in stating that the goal is to put some stress on the individual to evaluate the strength of their story. The security screeners aren't Einsteins in every field, however anybody (especially trained anybodys) can spot deceptive behavior when they see it. So, like you note, the screeners aren't so interested with the details so much as they are interested in the overall story and making sure it doesn't crumble under scrutiny.

      Why is this the tactic that is used? Suicide attacks need somebody willing to commit suicide. Although I am sure there are individuals in this world who can be ice-cold when walking to their own deaths, the overwhelming majority require a little assistance by way of religious fervor to convince themselves that they're simply going to go somewhere "better" when they explode. Israel has a long and sad library of suicide bombers for other means of transportation, and of the few that are caught every once in a while, there is enough data to form a profile. I'll focus on Muslim extremists here, since they account for the overwhelming majority of terrorists: the ones planning the attacks are most often *not* the ones carrying out the attacks. To understand why the security model is built the way it is, it is useful to understand the terrorist food chain and who it is that goes out to perform the attacks:

      1. Note the age difference between planners and executors: planners are old and the executors are young.
      2. Planning takes methodical, careful thought and patience. Execution takes the ability to ignore your evolution for a few minutes and the ability to shoulder some weapons.
      3. If all the planners committed attacks, we would be seeing much fewer attacks.

      For all of their talk, the planners are not the ones doing the deeds they profess to believe in. They stay home and send brainwashed teens to do the dirty work. What are the lures?

      1. Sex. Islamic culture is highly prohibitive of sexual behavior outside of marriage, and "Secular" Islam is largely a modern invention that translates roughly to "slightly less than orthodox". Islamic teens are no less horny than the other billion teens on the planet, however where western teens are fooling around at 14, Islamic teens aren't allowed to be alone in a room with a member of the opposite sex, let alone hold hands, until they are (or are practically) married. Under these circumstances, undestand that the promise of 70 virgins waiting for you in heaven can be pretty attractive. Remember when you were a teen and sex made you think backwards?
      2. Shame. Islamic culture is also highly prohibitive of deviant behavior. Homosexuality among Islamic culture is more than just "frowned upon". There is no reason to believe that the incidence of homosexuality among the members of the Islamic faith are any different than any other faith on the globe. The incidence of homosexuality among males cited in the Kinsey report is 10% if I remember correctly, so even assume a 5% rate or a 2.5% rate, you have a quite a few homosexuals living very much in the closet. T
      • Very interesting post, thank you.

        Just a few comments:

        I said in my post, I would not want the US to try to implement a security process similar to that used in Israel. I have a few reasons for that, which I didn't get into in my (already long) post.

        First, as you said, there's no way it could be done without someone screaming "abuse" and filing a lawsuit claiming their civil rights were violated. As irritating as such things often are (and they are often crap), I think that is one of the best things t

  • Tremors? (Score:5, Funny)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @11:40PM (#14059771) Homepage
    The software will almost always pick up uncontrollable tremors in the voice that give away liars

    I'm elderly, you insensitive clods.
  • by non (130182) on Friday November 18, 2005 @12:12AM (#14059946) Homepage Journal
    i've flown on El Al a few times. invariably they find something they don't like about me after 30-45 minutes of questions. the last time i flew them i asked the questioner to call their supervisor, and then just asked that they search me. they asked me to calm down, etc. and i explained that i had no desire to go through the interrogation and that it would be easier for both of us if they just searched me. so yeah, let them search me.
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday November 18, 2005 @12:23AM (#14060005) Homepage
    The company that makes this, NemesysCo. [nemesysco.com], has a whole line of voice analysis products, some of which are downloadable. At the bottom of the line, there's "Love Detector" [nemesysco.com]. Only $19.99 for Pocket PC, $49.95 for Windows PC.

    Then there's the cellular phone "Love Detector" service. [thelovedetector.co.uk] You call someone via their system, and after the call, you get an SMS message with their analysis. (TV commercial here. [love-detector.com] In Hebrew, for the Israeli version.)

    Moving up the product line a bit, they offer Ex-Sense [ex-sense.com], their low-end lie detector product. Only $149, including phone connector cable. Screenshots here. [ex-sense.com]

    Then there's Ex-Sense Pro [nemesysco.com], at $499. Unclear what you get with the "Pro" version.

    All these, NemesysCo says, use the same technology as Gatekeeper.

  • by joelsanda (619660) on Friday November 18, 2005 @12:29AM (#14060037) Homepage
    There wasn't a damn thing I could float past her my entire childhood.
  • by bziman (223162) on Friday November 18, 2005 @01:30AM (#14060336) Homepage Journal
    Although I would really hate to see what would happen if the US tried to institute a *real* airport security system like the Israelis have, rather than the "security theatre" that we have, I found it very impressive.

    The only worse thing I can imagine than the farse that is American airport security, is the possibility that some day they might actually successfully implement true security. I thought society was taking a step forward since you no longer need papers to travel inside Russia, or passports to go between France and Germany. I dread travelling now, because it offends me to have to take off my shoes and belt at the airport to maintain the illusion of security. But how much worse would it be when they confiscate my laptop because I could make an explosive from the battery in about three seconds? Or when I'm detained indefinitely because I'm a 20-something travelling alone, and I happen to be carrying a Quoran for some leisure reading.

    In my life, terror doesn't come from desperate fundamentalists. Terror is the government trying to control every aspect of the way I live and the way I think. I can only hope that it's not too late to undo the damage. Vote while you still can! And pray, if you're into that sort of thing.

  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Friday November 18, 2005 @02:43AM (#14060618) Homepage Journal
    The net tightens ...

    I hope people keep in mind that terrorism kills fewer people than traffic accidents, lifestyle diseases, or regular crime (one of these alone suffices).

    The way I see it, many of the prevention measures that have been taken only increase the effect that terrorism has on American society.
  • How stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:11AM (#14061222)
    What a stupid concept, for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, this kind of thing is based on the assumption that even a 'bad guy' will somehow feel bad about what their are about to do, and there will feel under emotional stress. Two of the most dangerous kinds of persons, psychopaths and suicide terrorists, are not likely to to fall into this category. Psychopaths don't care, simply, they will lie or contemplate atrocities like normal people would think about buying a bottle of milk. And a person who has decided to die has overcome the fear; it is a wellknown phenomenon that a person who wants to commit suicide often enters a phase of perfect calm and contentment when the decision has been made.

    Secondly, as others point out, a lot of people feel very bad about small transgressions. I remember one lady who felt very nervous because she had bought 1 small bottle of alcohol over the limit and was afraid to get caught. So are we now going to catch all those who are under a bit of strain, but let through the really dangerous ones?

    Thridly, wouldn't it perfectly possible to subvert the equipment - perhaps simply by eating Valium or similar?

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