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Replacing Metal Detectors With Brain Scans 327

Posted by kdawson
from the what-is-it-you-intend dept.
Zordak writes "CNN has up a story about several Israeli firms that want to replace metal detectors at airports with biometric readings. For example, with funding from TSA and DHS, 'WeCU ([creepily] pronounced "We See You") Technologies, employs a combination of infra-red technology, remote sensors and imagers, and flashing of subliminal images, such as a photo of Osama bin Laden. Developers say the combination of these technologies can detect a person's reaction to certain stimuli by reading body temperature, heart rate and respiration — signals a terrorist unwittingly emits before he plans to commit an attack.' Sensors may be embedded in the carpet, seats, and check-in screens. The stated goal is to read a passenger's 'intention' in a manner that is 'more fair, more effective and less expensive' than traditional profiling. But not to worry! WeCU's CEO says, 'We don't want you to feel that you are being interrogated.' And you may get through security in 20 to 30 seconds."
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Replacing Metal Detectors With Brain Scans

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  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:53PM (#25964469) Journal

    wonderful piece of technology known as the polygraph before..... don't polygraphs also rely (in part) on body temperature, heart rate and respiration?

    • by snspdaarf (1314399) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @04:15PM (#25964865)

      Yep. Also, depth of respiration, skin resistance, and blood pressure.

      A good operator can usually tell if someone is deliberately trying to prevent them from establishing a baseline, but people with something to hide used to carry a thumbtack to poke their fingers with during questioning. It was supposed to allow them to concentrate on the pain instead of the questions, and prevent, or mask, the emotional/physical response that the machine could pick up. Then someone got caught and the operators would check for poke marks in the skin.

      I guess one could concentrate on a mental image of Sarah Palin in a nipple bra to counter the Bin Laden image. Or, Dick Cheney as a Chippendale dancer.

      Must...poke...out...mind's...eye....

      • I guess one could concentrate on a mental image of Sarah Palin in a nipple bra to counter the Bin Laden image. Or, Dick Cheney as a Chippendale dancer.

        While I haven't had to take a polygraph yet, I look forward to answering "What was your question? I'm sorry, my mind is busy erasing certain parts to protect itself. Ahh, there we go. No more Dick Cheney is my brain ever again."

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by davidsyes (765062)

          Or, there could be subliminal/sub-aural phrases such as "The Bush", instead of "Bush"...

          It would be funny if someone could hack the systems and generate lots of erections and pre-coital drainage in the waiting area... It would be... bemoaned, as it ... could.. become...the wading area...

          The men's area could be called... "Area 5.1" (shorter for Area 51, for the obvious dimension."

          The VIP lounge could be called "The SHAPE of Things to COME"....

          Could give a whole new meaning to "The Day they Earth Stood... STE

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Or listen to a particularly annoying song, as Alfred Bester suggested.

        Ten, sir, said the Tensor
        Tension, apprehension
        And dissension have begun.

        http://tenser.typepad.com/tenser_said_the_tensor/2004/03/a_word_of_expla.html [typepad.com]

        I think Kylie's 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head [youtube.com]' would work pretty well today.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by stephanruby (542433)

        A good operator can usually tell if someone is deliberately trying to prevent them from establishing a baseline, but people with something to hide used to carry a thumbtack to poke their fingers with during questioning. It was supposed to allow them to concentrate on the pain instead of the questions, and prevent, or mask, the emotional/physical response that the machine could pick up. Then someone got caught and the operators would check for poke marks in the skin.

        Yeah, yeah, a "good" psychic can also usua

    • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @04:16PM (#25964887)

      don't polygraphs also rely (in part) on body temperature, heart rate and respiration?

      Polygraphs measure those things, but don't do much with the data. The main purpose of a polygraph is not to detect lies, but to intimidate the person being questioned. The idea is to trick the person into thinking that the polygraph is infallible and can determine when they are lying. This gives the interrogator another way to pressure the person into talking. (The person may incorrectly believe that the interrogator "already knows" or may reveal secrets because they feel that they no longer have any control--they don't feel culpable since they can't hide secrets from the machine.) Of course admitting that this is the purpose of a polygraph would undermine the tactic.

      I'm guessing this new technology will be much the same: it won't actually work by measuring anything useful; but it may have a psychological effect that makes people easier to interrogate. This might be (marginally) useful for uncovering the occasional teenager smuggling pot, but I doubt it will do anything useful when it comes to terrorism. This quote is hilarious:

      Developers say the combination of these technologies can detect a person's reaction to certain stimuli by reading body temperature, heart rate and respiration -- signals a terrorist unwittingly emits before he plans to commit an attack

      For this to be true--for them to actually have calibrated their machine in a rigorous way, so that it can detect "terrorist intentions" with any kind of certainty--they would need to have tested it with a statistically-significant number of terrorists. Somehow I doubt their R&D facility has a few hundred terrorists in lockup (willing to lie and not lie on demand). I'm guessing their actual sample size was closer to zero. In other words they are just guessing that someone with "terrorist intentions" will exhibit similar physiological responses to someone who is nervous for other reasons.

      Yet another worthless security measure being sold to worthless security organizations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by johnsonav (1098915)

      cuz nobody has EVER been able to fool that wonderful piece of technology known as the polygraph before.....

      Nobody said it had to be perfect. It just has to be more useful than the methods they currently employ. This only has to be more accurate then the current practice. The current security is slow, stupid and irrational. Honestly, this doesn't sound that much better. But, unless we totally scrap the system and go back to the 1960's security measures (not freaking likely given the level of politician and media inspired fear), I'll settle for a system that results in less hassle when I fly.

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        But, unless we totally scrap the system and go back to the 1960's security measures (not freaking likely given the level of politician and media inspired fear), I'll settle for a system that results in less hassle when I fly.

        Why not scrap the system and use the money we are wasting to put an armed air marshal or two on every flight? I don't think box-cutters are going to be particularly effective against firearms....

        • Why not scrap the system and use the money we are wasting to put an armed air marshal or two on every flight? I don't think box-cutters are going to be particularly effective against firearms....

          I would love that. Still have to have bomb scanners though. Bomb > gun. And you can hide a bomb almost anywhere, so you've got to have metal detectors and shoe removal. Or you could hide the bomb in personal electronics, got to check those...

          And we're right back where we started. Damn.

          • by Shakrai (717556)

            And we're right back where we started

            Well, we could just accept the fact that nothing can make us completely safe from terrorists and personally I'd rather live with the 0.00000001% chance of dying in a terrorist attack than surrender my civil liberties and live in fear. Something tells me that this isn't very likely to happen though.

            Guess I'll be driving for the foreseeable future. It's not all bad though -- you get to control the music selection and don't have to put up with shitty food and horrible customer service ;)

          • by CrankyFool (680025) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @05:02PM (#25965715)

            There's a much bigger problem with bombs: They don't require informed consent.

            See the case of Nizar Hindawi [wikipedia.org], who attempted to sneak a bomb on an El Al flight by tricking his pregnant girlfriend into taking it with her -- having her go through any intention scanner would show her to be completely trustworthy and innocent -- because she was. That's a problem that is exists for bombs, but not (easily) for guns. After all, it's not like you'd look in your carryon half-way through the flight, find a gun you didn't expect there, and go "OMG! Got to hijack the plane!"

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by ymgve (457563)

              After all, it's not like you'd look in your carryon half-way through the flight, find a gun you didn't expect there, and go "OMG! Got to hijack the plane!" ...unless someone asked you to, starting the sentence with "Would you kindly..."

        • by corsec67 (627446)

          I don't think box-cutters are going to be particularly effective against firearms....

          Or a bunch of passengers beating the person into submission, no firearms needed.

        • by spud603 (832173)

          Why not scrap the system and use the money we are wasting to put an armed air marshal or two on every flight? I don't think box-cutters are going to be particularly effective against firearms....

          until, of course, a non-marshal gets a hold of one of those guns...

        • by tirerim (1108567) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @04:50PM (#25965479)
          Honestly, box cutters aren't going to be terribly effective against an entire planeful of people who think they're going to die anyway: see United Flight 93. The days of successful hijackings are simply over, whatever the intent, because the assumption on the passengers' part will always be that the hijackers are going to crash the plane. However, there is still a danger of bombs -- many terrorists would be perfectly happy just to blow up a plane, which pretty much guarantees significantly more deaths than any ground-based suicide bomb. And no amount of security on board the plane is going to prevent someone from blowing themselves up if they have a better plan than lighting their shoes with a match. That said, they would do much better to focus on things that can actually be used to make bombs, as opposed to bottles of shampoo. There is also something to be said for keeping guns off planes in general; a belligerent idiot with a gun in an enclosed space like a plane is pretty bad even if they're not a terrorist.
      • You're correct that security doesn't need to be perfect to be useful--as long as it helps, that's something.

        However, a major problem occurs when people over-estimate the quality of a security measure. Two immediate consequences are (1) security overall may decrease as people mistakenly rely on an ineffective tool; and (2) people are falsely accused. In the extreme case of over-confidence in technology, a person can not only be falsely accused but also falsely detained, charged or even convicted. It is dange

  • by y86 (111726) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:54PM (#25964497)

    I'm pretty sure the airport can generate anger,fear, and frustration in most people.

    How good can this really be?

    • by Znork (31774)

      How good can this really be?

      That depends on what your goal is. The goal of the creators of said device is, like most 'biometric security' companies, most likely, to extract money from taxpayers pockets. For that purpose I'd suggest the approach is a bit too farfetched sci-fi, and not portrayed in enough Hollywood productions to achieve sufficient pocket penetration to extract significant amounts of money.

      For actual security value rates like most such measures, somewhere between useless to counterproductive;

    • by Dunbal (464142)

      I'm pretty sure the airport can generate anger,fear, and frustration in most people.

            Especially if that airport is Atlanta.

  • by tburke261 (981079) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:55PM (#25964503)

    What about someone who is carrying a weapon without their knowledge? That won't show up on the scans. I could see the supplement current screening technologies if it ever is deployed, but not replace them.

    Let's not even start about false positives....

    • by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @04:24PM (#25965001) Journal
      I was wondering the same thing...

      Step A. Someone purposely handles explosives or better saturates their shins/shoes with a chemical that would set off the bomb detector.
      Step B. Go to an airport and purposely brush by/touch people luggage.
      Step C. Watch as airport grinds to a halt with massive numbers of false positives.

      Even better spill some of this chemical in a doorway carpet so that lots of people would walk in every direction with it on their shoes.

      How would an airport rationally handle something like this?

      1. They could simply close the airport and wash every surface (I guess this would considered an physical DDOS)
      2. Turn off the devices and go back to manually searching every article. (Slow but people would still get through)
      3. Leave the devices on and just process all the people who come up positive. (Slow but people would still get through)

      I'm not sure that an airport would have a really good way to combat this. I guess one way would be to put sniffer type devices discretely through the airport that you could use to map out the location of certain chemicals. Then set up the airport with doors that could be closed remotely so that when something like C4 is detected in some area you could seal the area, etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      What about someone who is carrying a weapon without their knowledge? That won't show up on the scans.

      No problem. All they have to do is ask each passenger if they packed their own bags and if they have been out of their possession at any time. If they lie, WeCU will detect it!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by wcbsd (1331357)
      ...or maybe they shuold keep those metal detectors - just in case.
    • What about someone who is carrying a weapon without their knowledge? That won't show up on the scans.

      For guns and knives, that obviously wouldn't be a security risk. Unless you happen to have a terrorist taking a plane ride he didn't intend to hijack because he didn't think he could smuggle a gun on baord.

      A timed bomb would be a bigger issue, but that would probably be detectable with the usual measures. Also, have terrorists even tried this before? It seems to me they have more willing suicide bombers than they have people who know how to make good bombs. Lets not forget that most terrorist attacks so

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by aztektum (170569)

      Let's not even start about false positives....

      TSA Agent: Sir, please step aside for more screening.

      Nervous Traveler: What seems to be the problem?

      TSA Agent: You set off our Spazz Detect 1000 by your nervous behavior.

      Nervous Traveler: Oh, that. Well, uh this is a bit embarrassing to admit, but you see I'm flying home to my wife and it seems I misplaced my wedding ring. Really.

      TSA Agent: Uh-huh. Well, sir, we'd be more than glad to help you look for it. *snaps on rubber glove*

    • by yali (209015) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @05:28PM (#25966221)

      Let's not even start about false positives....

      Actually, let's do...

      What many people don't realize is that detection procedures with very impressive-sounding statistical properties [wikipedia.org] generally do horribly at catching rare events.

      Imagine some very impressive numbers. Suppose that this procedure has 99.999% sensitivity -- it catches nearly every wannabe terrorist who tries to board a plane intending to do harm. And suppose it also has 99.999% specificity -- out of 100,000 innocent passengers, 99,999 will be correctly identified as innocent, and only 1 will be a false alarm. Sounds good, right?

      Not really. In a given year, only a very small number of passengers are wannabe terrorists -- say, 10 per year. (That's probably high.) On the other hand, there are 1.6 billion air passengers [worldmapper.org] per year (that may be a low estimate, since it's a 2000 number). So if this were implemented worldwide, then in a given year, we can assume that this profiling procedure will flag 160,010 people as terrorists. Only 6 x 10^-5 of those will be actual terrorists.

      Of course, those hypothetical sensitivity and specificity numbers are unrealistically, ridiculously good. With more realistic numbers, the problem gets much worse. Even if the detection procedure is very sensitive and very specific -- and I doubt that it is -- the low base-rate of terrorism means that an enormous number of people will be falsely accused of being terrorists.

  • by JesseL (107722) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:55PM (#25964505) Homepage Journal

    Can it also detect replicants?

    • I still think the SG-1 response to the Replicant question was the best.

      Because I too am a turoise.

      (a humanoid alien responding while not knowing what a turtoise is).

  • Thoughtcrimes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@pitabre ... rg minus painter> on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:55PM (#25964509) Homepage

    Better not thing any doubleplus ungood thoughts, or have a friend that's Muslim.

  • Brain scans? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@NoSPaM.mac.com> on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:55PM (#25964519) Journal

    TFA doesn't say anything about brain scans What's up with that headline?

    -jcr

  • by daveatneowindotnet (1309197) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:56PM (#25964527)
    'We don't want you to feel that you are being interrogated.' Yeah that might interfere with your interrogation.
  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:57PM (#25964547) Journal
    I can see it now...someone hacks the system and substitutes subliminal porn images for the bin Laden pictures. Talk about provoking a physiological reaction...
  • Wow, that's creepy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nobodylocalhost (1343981) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:57PM (#25964555)

    Right now it is used to find terrorists, but this technology can be used in reverse. Flashing images of the president and the national flag, anyone don't respond positively get singled out... Such uses are very disturbing.

    • by zappepcs (820751)

      Not only disturbing but also absolutely useless. There is not one terrorist that this would have caught. As pointed out, they have no idea what results will show on the machine when an actual and real terrorist tries to board the plane.

      This says nothing of how easy it will be now to attack any other mass transportation system other than airplanes, or infrastructure, or water supplies, or food supplies etc. All that this amounts to is a huge waste of money and time. While they put so much effort and money in

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        are we building anti-glacial protection systems?

        As a Canadian, I'd have to say: yes.

        It's fucking freezing out there!

      • by forkazoo (138186)

        Yeah, yeah. There was a glacier in North America once too... are we building anti-glacial protection systems?

        Hey man, the thread about the auto industry bailout is elsewhere. :)

      • by zappepcs (820751)

        It makes me infuriated. Look, there is evidence to show that if the pre-9/11 intelligence gathering and analysis processes had been what they should have been, the tragedy of 9/11 would never have happened.

        When we invest in such systems as this, what the government is saying is that despite their new information and ability to show improvement on pre-9/11 processes to prevent further incidents, they are not going to do anything about their failures. They'd rather just inconvenience citizens because in doing

        • Welcome to the world of tyranny of the majority.

          This is what happens when Libertarian Ideals are set aside because "the people want ______"

          Fill in the ______ with any number of options, and you'll start to see why it is Tyranny. Especially if the ______ has any economic costs.

          We know where the Terrorists are. We are too afraid of what the "world" will think if we try to do anything about them. Because most of them live in places that generally like those kinds of people around.

          And if the latest incident in

  • by Hahnsoo (976162) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:59PM (#25964589)
    "It is possible today to hijack an aircraft using only five or six able-bodied passengers who are well-trained in Kung Fu fighting," he says. "There is no technology in place in airports to detect a threat like that."
    Well, no. Not unless you start putting Ninjas on every plane. Everyone knows that Ninjas > Kung Fu fighting.

    Apparently, Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting...

    tl;dr WTF?
    • by geekmux (1040042)

      "It is possible today to hijack an aircraft using only five or six able-bodied passengers who are well-trained in Kung Fu fighting," he says. "There is no technology in place in airports to detect a threat like that."

      Well, no. Not unless you start putting Ninjas on every plane. Everyone knows that Ninjas > Kung Fu fighting.

      Apparently, Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting...

      tl;dr WTF?

      Ah, color-me-stupid, but I thought the shortcomings of detection on the ground were mitigated by our armed Air Marshals?

      I mean Ninjas are good, but last time I checked .357 SIG > Ninjas, if you're any good with a firearm.

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        I mean Ninjas are good, but last time I checked .357 SIG > Ninjas, if you're any good with a firearm.

        .45s have more stopping power ;) Either way though I hope the ninja doesn't have his own ranged weapon [wikipedia.org]....

      • I mean Ninjas are good, but last time I checked .357 SIG > Ninjas, if you're any good with a firearm.

        Man, those cats are fast as lightning.

        In fact, it is a little bit frightening...

    • You counter with Ninjas, then they counter with Pirates. You think the Ninja's will stand a chance against Kung-Fu Pirates? I shudder at the thought of what they will be stopped with.
  • Control (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:59PM (#25964593) Homepage Journal

    And how did they devise a control for this?

    AFAIK, there's no biometric scans of the 9/11 terrorists, so it's just like the company is guessing anyway. For all we know, terrorists could be the only completely calm people going through security, as they're the only ones not worried about arriving at their destination late.

    • Re:Control (Score:5, Funny)

      by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @04:06PM (#25964689) Journal

      as they're the only ones not worried about arriving at their destination late

      But what if they are late arriving in paradise and someone else gets the virgins?

      • Re:Control (Score:5, Funny)

        by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @04:11PM (#25964789) Homepage

        But what if they are late arriving in paradise and someone else gets the virgins?

        I'm sure they've got that covered as part of the normal course of things. After all, the afterlife is the one place where everyone arrives late.

        *ba-dum pssssh*

      • What nobody (especially the terrorists) seems to get is that you get 72 Virgins in Paradise.

        And they STAY virgins!
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Shakrai (717556)

          And they STAY virgins!

          Wouldn't it be ironic if they actually were virgins? "Your going to put WHAT in WHERE?", "Ouch! Ow! Ouch! Stop it! That hurts!" Hardly my idea of a good time ;)

      • But what if they are late arriving in paradise and someone else gets the virgins?

        Then they will just have to go to the Bahamas! [youtube.com]

    • I would think that a terrorist would be pretty calm while headed to his plane. He's probably been through repeated training as to what to do/say during the airport security phase. He's also convinced that the actions he's about to undertake will get him into heaven and surround him with 72 virgins. If you were going to undertake something that was "guaranteed" to give you 72 virgins to do with as you please, you'd be pretty calm and happy about it too.

      I recently went on a trip and went through airport se

      • I dunno. If I were on my way to a rendezvous with 72 virgins, "happy" might describe it, but "calm" sure would not. Well, it would not have when I was in college. At my age, I have to take half a Viagra just to talk dirty. Maybe they need to develop a machine that detects if someone is going through the line while gettin' chubby.
    • by Dunbal (464142)

      AFAIK, there's no biometric scans of the 9/11 terrorists

            AFAIK the TSA has not caught a SINGLE terrorist. Even the "shoe bomb" guy made it onto the plane, and was stopped by his fellow passengers.

           

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @03:59PM (#25964601) Homepage Journal

    At some point, people will get so pissed off at getting poked, prodded, searched, scanned, monitored and tracked to see if they are terrorists, that they will wind up deciding that it is actually easier to become terrorists themselves.

    • by GiMP (10923)

      This reminds me of Voltaire's joke, "In this country it is a good thing to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others." If the joke needs explaining, it is this: steps to deter treason (or increase loyalty) will often have the exact opposite effect. Of course, that is all fine and just as it is the best of all possible worlds, and for what do admirals exist but to be executed for their failures? Similarly, for what to travelers exist for other than to be poked and prodded, to become terror

  • Unless they couple this technology with the ability to read people's minds, then it's completely worthless.

    What if random traveler A is thinking about terrorist activities in Mumbai and is afraid for their family right when they happen to walk through the little flashy thing (even if they don't know it)? The system would flag them as TERRORIST PROBABLY and they'll get arrested and cavity searched for no reason. Meanwhile the terrorist who focuses on bunnies and happy flowers and goes about his business wil
  • If I know I'm nothing but an elevated heartbeat away from being branded a suspected terrorist by airport security, well guess what? I'd probably have an elevated heartbeat.
    • by srussia (884021)

      If I know I'm nothing but an elevated heartbeat away from being branded a suspected terrorist by airport security, well guess what? I'd probably have an elevated heartbeat.

      Yes, precisely analogous to the "white coat effect". Time to coin "TSA effect" then.

  • (1) This technology will not be reliable enough within the near future to prevent many false positives (as someone mentioned above). Which is unacceptable. Our legal standards abhor "fishing expeditions" by the authorities.

    (2) We musn't just look at the potential good. There is also enormous potential for abuse. Probably enough to outweigh any good it might do.
    • Our legal standards abhor "fishing expeditions" by the authorities.

      You've gotta be more specific about which country you live in. It's obviously not the same country as I live in. TSA has every right to search you at random, or for any made-up-on-the-spot reason. I once was selected for a full search in Missoula because "an interesting substance" was showing up on my laptop case. Yeah, it's called drywall dust from a construction site. Same thing that's on my shoes and my jacket, along with 6 different kinds of clay from Wyoming.

  • by MartinG (52587)

    My intention may be harmless but those who hid a bomb in my bag may have other ideas. How does scanning my brain help then?

  • Quick, let's beat them up.

    Nervous fliers everywhere will now have something legitimate to fear.

    It's times like this I wish I weren't an atheist so I could revel in the knowledge that the people involved in producing this destructive rubbish will rot in hell for eternity.

  • Even presuming that one could reliably detect stress or heightened emotional states via this technology, what is rate of correlation between that and committing terrorist acts? I don't know about anybody else but I know alot of people who are terrified of flying and exhibit alot of stress in the airport. Enough false positives and this technology is not only ineffective but also a tremendous burden in price, personnel, and inconvenience.
  • by JesseL (107722) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @04:14PM (#25964825) Homepage Journal

    I have no ill intentions, but I hate going anywhere unarmed. Maybe I could finally fly without having to give up my knife and sidearm.

  • "Damnit, I'm not a terrorist! I just have a bizarre beard-and-turban fetish!"

  • "We don't want you to feel interrogated." Frankly, I'd rather know when I'm being I interrogated. That way I can be protected from self-incrimination. I heard somewhere that I should be able to do that...
  • ...and flashing of subliminal images, such as a photo of Osama bin Laden.

    And someone will think, this guy [wikipedia.org]... :-)
    (The subconscious mind works in strange ways.)

  • Airport security is a sham as is anyway. It's all just a show to make you feel safe. They'll, of course, have to detain, torture, and execute the odd innocent as a sign that the invisible force of knowing is working. Kind of like playing a "death lottery" every time you fly.

  • Seems to me that they'd be catching people that were carrying only legal items. It wouldn't be a stretch for an evildoer to put their toothpaste and mouthwash in someone else's carryon luggage intending to get it back later if the innocent got through security.

    Of course, I don't know who you'd plant it on. The families with screaming babies and old ladies seem to be the only people who get randomly selected to get the truly invasive screenings.

  • <p><i>"...body temperature, heart rate and respiration &#226;&#8364;" signals a terrorist unwittingly emits before he plans to commit an attack..."</i></p>
    <p>Or signals a former sexual abuse victim might unwittingly emit for the mortal fear of possibly undergoing a cavity search?</p>
    <p>Fear is a crime. Guilt is a crime. Your emotions are a crime. Time for your Prozium.</p>
  • Don't worry, we don't want you to feel interrogated. We just want to know everything about you. Results will be posted in the cafeteria.

    Oh the tyranny of average... Just wait until they start singling out people for not fitting profile American 2.0, because they didn't recognize the last American Idol contestant on the subliminal. Think it's far fetched? Think again. In other, unrelated news, cattle mutilations are up.

  • by Conspicuous Coward (938979) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @04:39PM (#25965297)

    Frankly, about the only sinister thing about this is that there are people in officialdom who are so fundamentally brain-dead they actually believe the claims of whatever idiot is trying to sell this.

    Even when interrogators have the time and money to hook people up to the most sensitive equipment available there is no technology that can determine to reasonable accuracy whether a person is lying in answer to a given question, nevermind their exact mindset or intentions in the next few hours.
    Now we are supposed to believe that some gadget can automagically determine whether or not somebody wants to blow up a plane when they walk past it and are flashed a "subliminal image" of osama bin-laden?

    I could go on about the sheer idiocy of assuming that somebody's reaction to a popular hate figure defines their politics or intentions. I could start about how peoples wildly varying mental states and physiologies make such simplistic measurements useless. But frankly it's not even worth deconstructing an idea this stupid in detail. Anybody dumb enough to believe in this fairy story clearly either suffers from paranoid psychosis or is so mentally deficient as to be beyond any form of rational argument.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @04:41PM (#25965339) Journal
    what incomparable horseshit.

    EVERYBODY KNOWS that if some asshole tries ANYTHING on a plane, the only thing to do is for the passengers to immediately stomp the life out of the motherfucker, no ifs, no ands, no buts. Just take him apart.

    EVERYBODY KNOWS that, including the terrorists. As a consequence, there is really no point to screening people at airports.

    If people want to blow up a plane, it's a lot easier to book a flight, check your bags full of bombs that are hooked up to timers, and then let it rip. The security at the checkpoint is ludicrous, and the security for checked baggage is even worse. So, if you want to blow up a plane, it's not hard.

    If you want to commadeer the plane a la 9/11, the passengers will take you out before you even get to the cabin. They know they have nothing to lose.

    So, as a consequence, there is NO point in this idiotic security theatre. None whatsoever. And the smiling jackasses who come up with this Orwellian technology are vampiric leeches with their fingers up the butt of the reactionary militarists and an invertebrate Congress.

    And all it means is that flying on an airplane is just that much more insulting and that much more irritating, and that much less worth the trouble.

    RS

  • by Solitude (30003) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @04:51PM (#25965507)

    Are there really people out there who think we can achieve a perfectly safe world? Spending more and more money for ever smaller incremental gains in safety? Is the cost really worth it? Is giving up your rights really worth it?

    At some point you have to stop and say look, there's an inherent danger in life. Your own body can turn against you. Are you willing to give up all your money and all your rights to feel safe? But what's left to be worth living if you've given everything up?

    I cringe every time I hear about somebody dying in some unique way, because I know there are going to be laws that follow to ensure that never happens again. Unfortunately, those laws tend to be far more overreaching and subject to abuse in ways that are far beyond what incident initiated them.

    People die. Dying is a part of life.

  • by Quantus347 (1220456) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @05:02PM (#25965733)
    They say its only 20-30 seconds in security, until you realize that Bin Laden reminds you of you buddy's Moses costume last from Halloween when he kept drunkenly telling all the women to "part their legs like the Red Sea". Suddenly your subliminal responses swing the wrong direction and you end up being held in more traditional interrogation for hours to months in some dark hole halfway to Hell.
  • OMFG (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @06:40PM (#25967427) Homepage

    That's it... if there was any question about where that "too far" mark may be, we can be sure they have gone well beyond that point.

    Now they can screen for all sorts of things... "gay"? "pedophile"? Who else can we decide to hate and persecute?

    If all this stuff could potentially save my son's life, I still say NO!!

    Pause for a moment to let the gravity of that sink in. Now go back and realize that there is more chance of a drunk driver killing him than a "terrorist." Regardless of which may happen, it will always feel tragic and there is no way to effectively protect ourselves from everything. This crap has got to stop.

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