sends us to MSNBC for a dyspeptic Newsweek commentary on the TSA's latest attempt to make air travel safer
: the rather ominously named "Behavior Detection Officers" now working in a dozen US airports, and slated to go nationwide in 2008. They are trained in the discipline of reading "micro-expressions." The editorialist calls that a pseudo-science, but in fact it's a well-understood skill that can be taught and learned. A cursory look at this TSA program might put one in mind of Orwell's "facecrime," and that's the road the Newsweek writer goes down. Yet some who bemoan the security theater historically run by the TSA point to the gold standard of airport security, Tel Aviv airport, and wonder why TSA officers can't act more like the Israelis. Bruce Schneier wrote recently about one reason why the Israeli security model isn't completely transplantable to these shores: scale
. And here's Schneier's take on behavioral profiling
from a year ago. That's what the BDOs will be trying for: scrutinizing intent instead of pocket knives. Let's just hope they don't get swamped with false positives.