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Security Checkpoints Predict What You Will Do 369

Posted by timothy
from the goes-the-theory dept.
An anonymous reader writes "New security check points in 2020 will look just like something out of the futuristic movie, The Minority Report. The idea of the new checkpoints will allow high traffic to pass through just as you were walking at a normal pace. No more waving a wand to get through checkpoints — the new checkpoint can detect if you have plans to set off a bomb before you even enter the building."
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Security Checkpoints Predict What You Will Do

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:30PM (#26291949)

    Trials will be deemed unnecessary in 2025.

  • finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:32PM (#26291957)
    finally! we'll know what women want!
    • Re:finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mikewas (119762) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `rehcsaw'> on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:05PM (#26292205) Homepage
      No, we'll only know what they think they want.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No, we'll only know what they think they want.

        Yes. Like why do women fake orgasms? Because they like to think men care.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Daimanta (1140543)

      Diamonds and shoes.

      The rest is of lesser importance.

      Disclaimer: This post has an error margin of 22%

      • Re:finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:53PM (#26292593)
        They want to have a lot of attention. If that means sleeping with you to get it, they do that. If you're willing to give them the attention they want without them having to sleep with you, they're all about that, too. That's why the friendzone sucks.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        I'll give you a hint:
        we like huge diamonds cut into the shape of shoes! But we tend to settle for chocolate.

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:33PM (#26291969) Homepage

    > No more waving a wand to get through checkpoints -- the new checkpoint can detect if you
    > have plans to set off a bomb before you even enter the building.

    In other words, anyone who looks Islamic will be stopped and searched as will a few others chosen at random.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So it's business as usual I guess?

    • In other words, anyone who looks Islamic will be stopped and searched as will a few others chosen at random.

      I know no one reads TFA, but doesn't it bother anyone that the screenshot is Windows XP?

      How long before the system can detect people who don't pass the Windows Genuine Advantage test, or it detects an image of a penguin or a logo from any one of the numerous Linux distributions--and then flags you as "terrorist, shoot on sight"?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rabbit994 (686936)

        XP is bloody operating system for personal computer, not operating system for AI that operates terminator drones. Microsoft probably didn't even build the system they are using and doesn't know their OS is being used for said system. Like most things done for government, a contractor build the system, they developed in Windows because A. Government is more then happy to spend your tax dollars on Windows licenses. B. Windows programmers are dime a dozen.

        Try not seeing evil conspiracy where there is none. You

  • Retarded (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drsmall17 (1240792) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:33PM (#26291971) Homepage

    This is retarded. Suppose I have to go to the bathroom and look nervous like I won't make it time? I'll probably set off the scanner as a suspected terrorist.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ccguy (1116865) *
      You can always count on some other slashdotter trying to trick the system and settings off alarms.

      Since I have to be at the airport 2 hours before take off, at least I'll now something to do.
      • Yes, yes. TSA agents are so known for their sense of humor.
        Enjoy your encore in the backroom and the trip to Gitmo.
    • Re:Retarded (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@@@gmail...com> on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:05PM (#26292209)

      When I was flying back home after visiting a client, I ran towards the men's room at the Cleveland airport and set off an explosion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by peragrin (659227)

        wouldn't that be you dropped a bomb in the men's room at the cleveland airport?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Suppose I have to go to the bathroom and look nervous like I won't make it time? I'll probably set off the scanner as a suspected terrorist.

      I'm afraid so. Wanting to get to a smoking area for a long overdue cigarette would be another good example (from my last encounter with DHS on entry to the US).

    • Then you'll be questioned and/or searched, deemed to not be a threat and sent on your way. And I suppose you'll learn to go wee before the flight.

      >>Suppose I have to go to the bathroom and look nervous like I won't make it time?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I take it you've never been the guy they stopped by mistake. Being questioned and searched under such circumstances is not a trivial experience. It can be deeply unpleasant, and for some people it can leave mental scars that take a very long time to heal.

  • False-Positive Rate? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FranklinWebber (1307427) * <franklin@eutaxy.net> on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:34PM (#26291973) Homepage

    FTA: "We are running at about 78% accuracy on mal-intent detection..."

    And that's supposed to be good? What fraction of the remaining 22% can we expect to be false positives?

    [begin sarcasm]
    I look forward to a future in which the police stop me more than they already do.
    [end sarcasm]

    • by wjh31 (1372867) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:09PM (#26292245) Homepage
      i would assume accuracy of mal intent detection only refers to false negatives and true positives (so 22% would be the fraction of false negatives, rather than false positives), it says nothing of the false positives (or true negatives, but they are not of much interest) which could be anything if no numbers are otherwise provided
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by flappinbooger (574405)

      What fraction of the remaining 22% can we expect to be false positives?

      Those can be justified away. It's the false negatives that folks will (ahem) have a hard time living with.

      Seriously now, isn't todays smart terrorist working on "projects" that don't involve airports, airlines, airplanes, and going through an airport security checkpoint?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Well even if we'd kept everything the same, 9/11 couldn't have happened again. Once the hostages know they're going to die, they tend to fight back. Up until then they'd just been told to cooperate.

        And yes, you're right. We all know this is security theatre. The thing is, without it people get scared and the nation suffers economic and social loss. These aren't necessary to protect us from the boogeymen but they are necessary to protect people from (semi) rational fear.

        Of course then you have the /real/ pro

  • Love the accuracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xelios (822510) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:38PM (#26292009)
    78% accurate in a controlled setting is nothing to be proud of. I'll grant the fact that they're still in the early research stages, as they say, but I'd need to see an accuracy rate of over 99% in a real world application for me to consider it a valid option. Otherwise there will be far too many false positives for it to be useful in a high-traffic situation.

    I'll leave it to other people to point out everything else wrong with this kind of system.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by slim (1652)

      False positives aren't too bad. You just fall back on the old method.

      False negatives would be a bigger problem.

      • by arotenbe (1203922)

        False positives aren't too bad. You just fall back on the old method.

        Yes, but would they?

        </cynicism>

      • by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <{koiulpoi} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:06PM (#26292217)
        I remember one of the founding fathers saying something about innocent and guilty men and which should go free. But that was probably just a dream; catching all the criminals to save the children is what matters!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blueg3 (192743)

        Not at all, depending on your false positive rate and the predictability of the false negatives. If false negatives are random and you don't let people who are marked as "dangerous" leave and try again, you don't need your false negative rate to be that low -- it still presents a very significant problem to a potential attacker.

        False positives, on the other hand, are a big problem. The enormous majority of people are negatives, so with any appreciably large false positive rate, nearly all positives will be

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:47PM (#26292549)

      Let's say you have a system that has a 99.9% accuracy rate. What that means is, 99.9% of the time, it catches the terrorist if s/he goes across your magic line. And let's say you have 1 terrorist per million. What this means is that for every million people that cross the line, 1,000 people will be pulled aside for interrogation. Your 99.9% accurate profiling system is 99.9% inaccurate when it comes to discriminating the terrorist from the 9,999 look-alikes.

      Oops.

    • Re:Love the accuracy (Score:4, Informative)

      by mdmkolbe (944892) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @04:19PM (#26292801)

      Even 99% accuracy is useless when the thing you are attempting to detect occurs only 0.000...001% of the time. See False Positive Paradox [wikipedia.org] and Procutor's Fallacy [wikipedia.org].

    • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @04:23PM (#26292837) Journal

      This kind of system exacerbates the problems that currently exist. Currently 100% of all searches are performed on non-terrorists and almost 100% are performed on innocent people. Wrap your head around that for a bit. The quality of the searching is based on facts from incidents where terrorists were not caught, not based on terrorists who were. That is to say, oh, if people *can* put explosives in their shoes, we'll search all peoples shoes. All a terrorist has to do is try something that has not been tried before and they will be successful - more or less. I can't wait till someone sneaks a liquid explosive on board a plane inside a bladder that encases their crotch. Yes, the TSA's reaction to that will be awesome!

      This machine will search 100% of all travellers (for a given set of travellers) and any who are pulled aside for further searching is supposedly equal to a smaller number than are searched now. They will still be innocent, but this justifies the inconvenience to them because a machine detected something. What is the accuracy of lie detectors [usatoday.com] BTW?

      Since there appear to be no stories of Gitmo prisoners being loaned out to security equipment manufacturers the probability that any 'real terrorists' were used to test the machine is zero. Does anyone have the statistics handy? How many terrorists that have been caught since 9/11 have been caught anywhere near an airport, never mind trying to board the plane?

      This seems to amount to a lie detector test that you are forced to take because you choose the criminal activity of traveling from one place to another by air. Apparently, if you wanted to bomb a bus there is no one to stop you. If you want to poison a water supply there is no one to stop you. If you wanted to sabotage an underwater cable there is no one to stop you. If you wanted to car bomb a public building there is no one to stop you. Think about that for a second or two. Airport security as it is currently implemented is 99% waste of time and resources. It inconveniences all, catches no guilty persons, and robs resources away from efforts to protect other infrastructure etcetera.

      What would I suggest we do for security? The same thing we do for security for any other public transportation. The goal of terrorism is to make you waste resources, to make a violent statement that circumvents any implemented security. It's a whack-a-mole game. Catching terrorists should be done long before they strap on the explosives. That's the only effective way to catch them. I don't have links, but I can't remember any story about a terrorist being caught by airport security measures. The only ones that were caught were caught with normal pre-9/11 police measures. Right now, the terrorists are winning.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ColdWetDog (752185)

        Apparently, if you wanted to bomb a bus there is no one to stop you. If you want to poison a water supply there is no one to stop you. If you wanted to sabotage an underwater cable there is no one to stop you. If you wanted to car bomb a public building there is no one to stop you.

        Ah, sir? Would you mind stepping over here for a minute?

        We have a few questions we'd like to ask you.

  • by holophrastic (221104) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:41PM (#26292033)

    So, when I walk into the airport, in December, at minus twenty, in shorts, nad my skin temperature is about ten degrees colder than the average, and my heart rate is about 20 points higher than the average, and I'm not sweating, and there's snow in my boot, I'm going to be intercepted every time -- for being different. Great.

    But really, this time I read the article, and welcome to the same stupid problems for the same stupid solutions. The system is basically a remote polygraph. So you can walk at full speed while it assesses you. So we'll have longer corridors, but the exercise will be nice.

    Of course the tests get to measure people's personal intents. Great. So anwser two questions. . .

          - do you think trained criminals can learn to pass polygraphs? C.E.O.'s don't seem to have much trouble. Frame of mind and all that.

          - so crime will once again shift back to the days of slipping something into someone else's bags. that someone else has no idea that they're carrying a bomb. The criminal may set off the system, but he's got no evidence on him anymore. So what exactly are you going to find? And which plane are you going to check? Even the criminal may not know which random passenger was marked.

    This is why security never learns. Criminals have an arsenal of techniques from thousands of years of history. And those criminals get to pick what they want to use today. And those criminals have a darn good reward for picking the correct one. On the other hand, security personnel, and I include this system's designers, try to solve the current problem, and ofter forget the old problems. The criminals know exactly which systems are presently in place, as well as any routines being used by personnel.

    So once again, we've managed to stop the dumb criminal with nothing to gain, and amused, or worse challenged, the intelligent criminal with lots to gain.

    • in December, at minus twenty, in shorts,

      Finally! Someone who mirrors my shorts-in-every-season dress style.

      • by holophrastic (221104) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:39PM (#26292487)

        REALLY? I'm not alone?!

        I just don't understand. I live here. This is my native habitat. Why should I be any more uncomfortable during in expected weather conditions than any other animal?

        So, let me ask you -- because I've never been able to ask anyone before: what's on your list of reasons? I routinely stop traffic within two minutes of shovelling the driveway. I've had couriers pull over and get out just to tell me that I'm crazy. And I've had A&W staff refuse to sell a burger to me because I must be clinically insane.

        My more recent responses to "why are you wearing shorts" include:
              - I find it more convenient to raise my heart-rate than to carry extraneous clothing.
              - I prefer natural methods over artificial ones
              - I can't afford pants (while wearing $125 shorts)
              - "government project"
              - I'm originally from the arctic circle/yukon/canada (this one seems to satisfy just about everybody)
              - why is your wife so ugly? just a genetic trait I guess.
              - millions of years of evolution
              - I have a genetic mutation, my core is thermally regulated (I'm warm-blooded you lizard.)
              - I wouldn't stand so close when calling me crazy for fear that I actually am.
              - I'm better than you. It's not like I could be worse.
              - You can show off your legs, I can show off my legs. My calves are gorgeous. (works for women. substitute legs with clevage as appropriate)
              - The same way you enjoy being hot on a summer beach, I enjoy being cold in the winter snow -- with more oxygen, less polution, and no radiation.

        Have any of your own that I might borrow?

        • My more recent responses to "why are you wearing shorts" include:

          . . .

          Have any of your own that I might borrow?

          I'm making vitamin D

          I just do what the voices say

          • I like it! And I'll, at least initially, enjoy seeing their frustration as to why vitamin D has anything to do with exposed skin.

      • by karmatic (776420)

        Finally! Someone who mirrors my shorts-in-every-season dress style.

        So I'm not alone!

        My legs don't really get cold. I've been perfectly comfortable with snow boots, a heavy coat, and shorts - I'm quite comfortable.

        I don't know why it bothers people so much.

    • by jefu (53450)

      And while there may be a high reward for the criminals/terrorists, there are only small rewards for the security people for finding the bad guys and small punishments for not finding them.

      As you say, this means that the bad guys learn the effective techniques - and usually quite quickly (the ones that don't are often culled quickly) but the good guys are, by necessity, always trying to catch up, but with only poor feedback as to how effective the catching up actually is.

  • You do have to actually check for the bomb or other weapon at some point.

    All a terrorist group would have to do would be get the suicide bomber to not know whether or not the backpack contained a bomb *this* time, while knowing that it eventually would. The details of the attack are left to the reader...

  • Its 2009, so the future will be futuristic compared to now? Go figure.

  • stupid idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dolphinzilla (199489) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:50PM (#26292085) Journal

    Sounds pretty hokey to me... As a frequent air traveler, give me the old fashioned pat down search with full baggage inspection - in fact I felt safest after 9/11 when they did random searches at the gate too - I have seen more than one person lead away from a gate in handcuffs after a random gate search turned up illegal drugs or other such nonsense. So the fact that they made it through the gate in the first place points out the fallibility of the current process. IMHO we need MORE hands on security not less, more sniffers and x-ray machines - I can easily factor in a longer wait at the airport, the peace of mind is worth it to me...

    • Re:stupid idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:19PM (#26292349)
      The chances of being on a plane blown up by a terrorist are so minuscule that to willingly submit to a demeaning treatment and long waits in order to have "peace of mind" seems irrational.

      As we saw in India terrorists can just as easily walk into a train station or a hotel and open fire on everyone in sight, so would you like every public place to install metal detectors and strip searches for even more peace of mind? Whatever you do there is some risk involved. I suggest you learn to live with it instead of supporting making everybody life gradually more and more miserable until perfect safety is achieved, which of course will never happen.
      • by Shakrai (717556)

        As we saw in India terrorists can just as easily walk into a train station or a hotel and open fire on everyone in sight

        Sounds like the best argument I've ever heard for opposing gun control. Didn't the photographer who caught the only picture of the attackers say that he wished he had a gun instead of a camera?

        • by TheLink (130905)
          There might be other reasons to allow your citizens access to guns, but "killing terrorists" is not it.

          In the Mumbai incident far fewer than a thousand were killed by the terrorists.

          If your country is a relatively safe place, it's rather silly to allow your citizens easy access to guns just in the hope that they could stop some terrorist.

          If your country is an unsafe place, then maybe let the citizens have guns (many will probably get them anyway ;) ), but it is a sign that the Government has failed badly in
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I suggest you learn to live with it instead of supporting making everybody life gradually more and more miserable until perfect safety is achieved, which of course will never happen.

        Indeed. The local municipality recently replaced a really nice and wide slide in our local park. (I'm lucky enough to live in a place where taxes are devoted to working and maintained public playgrounds.) The reason: It was too wide. So now instead of a cool slide I can slide down together with the kids there's a boring standard slide which is one person at a time only. Cause somehow two persons on a 1,5 meter wide slide at the same time is dangerous? WTF...

        Unfortunately the safety argument seems to work ev

    • Re:stupid idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by evanbd (210358) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:20PM (#26292357)

      in fact I felt safest[...]after a random gate search turned up illegal drugs

      What does that have to do with your safety?

    • Re:stupid idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mbone (558574) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:22PM (#26292387)

      I have seen more than one person lead away from a gate in handcuffs after a random gate search turned up illegal drugs or other such nonsense.

      So, what, illegal search and seizure makes you feel safer ?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dolphinzilla (199489)

        OK - let me re-word this, at any commercial airport there are signs up that clearly say that your bags and person are subject to search - YOU make the decision if you wish to enter the airport premises, it is NOT an illegal search, you consented to it by entering the area. This is not a gray area in any way. I work in a place that has signs up on the gate that state that I am subject to random search of my car, person, laptop bag etc.. I have NO expectation of privacy there - if I bring something prohibite

    • So visually observing the use of the patriot act (for combatting terrorism) made you feel safer when used to bust people for other crimes (packing a dope pipe in their bag)?

      Treating an average traveler as an enemy only makes that traveler feel safe if they are deluded into believing that this treatment reduces attack frequency.

      In truth, it's far more likely that the infrequency of hijackings since Sep. 11th is due to some of the very earliest action, i.e., frozen terrorist funding sources during the run-up

    • Sounds pretty hokey to me . . . As a frequent air traveler, give me the old fashioned pat down search with full baggage inspection . . . I can easily factor in a longer wait at the airport, the peace of mind is worth it to me...

      Well, I cannot. Therefore, let me propose an alternative: you sedate yourself heavily for "peace of mind", while I just walk on the plane? OK?

      Or does that sound like I'm putting my own personal peace and comfort ahead of that of others?

  • Horse Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:53PM (#26292117) Journal

    The FAST system detects physiological signs of stress. In testing it detected "hostile intent" in volunteers. The obvious question is how can volunteers have valid hostile intent? You can't test deception with fake deception. The generalizability of physiological response to stressors is a basic tenet of physiological psychology (the folks who brought you FAST's grand dad, the polygraph).

    The volunteers knew they were volunteers in a study and in no danger. In practice, this device will trigger on every person who is nervous about flying, because the physiological markers for stress are the same regardless of the reason. There will be many, many more of those than with 'hostile intent'. The test study was unable to have adequate control (real, naive persons) to prove its claim.

    Most people can learn simple biofeedback techniques to control physiological reactions to some degree. Those with hostile intent don't need to get very good at it, they just need to be able to control it better than an untrained person with a fear of flying.

    FAST isn't supposed to work. Its owners know it can't. It's just supposed to be believable enough to convince the public that it could catch bad guys to increase public confidence, and to convince the government that further funding is warranted.

    Stick the designers in it and ask them if it can tell hostile intent from fear of flying (and base GAO investigation of the program upon the result, to make it more salient). They'll say yes. Either it'll trigger and show them to be lying, or it won't and so it doesn't work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) *

      Stick the designers in it and ask them if it can tell hostile intent from fear of flying (and base GAO investigation of the program upon the result, to make it more salient). They'll say yes. Either it'll trigger and show them to be lying, or it won't and so it doesn't work.

      That might end up being the most valid and useful test of all. I like it.

    • Further, what if a passenger wants to kill someone? As in, their express intent is to hop an airplane, fly to a location and kill someone on the ground?

      Certainly we'd like the local legal system, in the state they fly to, to prevent that crime. But is it a crime to fly with murderous intent?

      Worse, does doing so immediately make one a terrorist who, presumably, has then given up the "privilege" to request habeas corpus, amongst all the other suspended constitutional "privileges"?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Adam Jenkins (121697)

      Yes apparently the project used to be called Project Hostile Intent, but was re-branded as FAST.
      See http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2008/09/precrime-detector-is-showing-p.html

  • by aepervius (535155) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @02:56PM (#26292137)
    Firstly, they don't say the false positive rate , they only say the true positive rate. By now many poster here will have picked that up. Even at 1% false positive , pass 10000 person thru the check point, 100 false positive, yada yada law of great number etc...

    Secondly It only does detect external signs of nervousness at best and nothing else. Such sign of nervousness MIGHT be displayed by people with malevolent intent, but certainly not only by them. Consider where such detector might be implanted : courtroom, IRS, FBI buildings, airports before boarding. A lot of place where people WILL be more often than not nervous. And what will happens ? Terrorist or any other mal intended smart persons will get an additional training : 1) meditate to lower all sign of nervousness 2) take a nyquil or whatever calm you down.

    Thirdly, as the various western governments seem to go toward more and more security of that type, TV camera, drone and whatnot, I have long stopped fearing terrorist (and I barely missed getting in a bomb blast in Paris metro by a few dozen minutes...). Nowadays I fear the police and the governement and their big-brotherisation more than not. I fear that the time for the third box (the munition one) will come way sooner than I ever expected in my dystopian nightmare.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ortholattice (175065)
      Moreover, is there evidence that potential terrorists (on a suicide mission in particular) even exhibit nervousness? Could it be that an Islamic martyr on a suicide mission, who truly believed in the cause and the religious brainwashing, might actually be overcome with a sense of great peace and calm, believing that he'd soon be rewarded in paradise with 72 adoring virgins at his beck and call? I mean once you're at that point, your brain just isn't working normally. Did the 9/11 hijackers exhibit any of th
  • by Have Blue (616) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:01PM (#26292175) Homepage
    And here I was thinking we finally had a reason to properly fund the Ministry of Silly Walks.
  • ... security checkpoints wil look like the compound gate in Mad Max [imdb.com].
  • right... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by owlnation (858981) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:05PM (#26292213)
    So basically what this article is really saying is, that by 2020 the West's gradual transition to total fascism will be near completion.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrsquid0 (1335303)

      And anyone who objects will be called unpatriotic.

      • by Spatial (1235392)
        Patriotic being accepted to mean "blind obedience and support of government" seems like a pretty big problem too.
    • by Shakrai (717556)

      So basically what this article is really saying is, that by 2020 the West's gradual transition to total fascism will be near completion.

      I have a better idea. Let's give up our "empire", withdraw from the World and adopt the Swiss stance of armed neutrality. Back it up with our nuclear deterrent.

      Nobody is going to invade us -- nuclear weapons combined with a ridiculous amount of firearms should be a sufficient deterrent. Terrorists will lose their motivation for attacking us when we stop interfering in their countries. Let's see how long the despots in the Middle East can cling to power when they can't blame the United States for everyth

  • Gadget security, no matter how good the gadget, is ever going to provide security. The false positives will be worse than Vista UAC and pretty soon people will start ignoring them or turning the sensitivity down to the point it's nearly useless.

    Anything that's uses behavior can be fooled. Even lie detectors can be spoofed with training.

    Once again Homeland Insecurity spending billions to provide the most sophisticated false sense of security money can buy.

  • Is it me or do all the 'in 5-10 years' tech stories lately say that everything is going to look like Minority Report? Did this suddenly become the only sci-fi movie that might represent what things are going to look like a decade from now? Nevermind that it's probably going to look almost the same as it does these days unless Obama decides to tear down and rebuild every city in the nation.
  • No more waving a wand to get through checkpoints -- the new checkpoint can detect if you have plans to set off a bomb before you even enter the building."

    Let me (apparently) be the first to treat this claim with skepticism. Oh, anonymous submitters and their mysterious technologies that come out of the blue on a New Year's Day. I think there should at least be some disclosure that the author has a vested interest in people thinking that this is possible, but the practical effect is just going to be a techno

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @03:21PM (#26292375)

    We all seem to have figured out that this system is a joke, so I won't address that.

    The bigger problem is that the DHS really thinks something like this kind of system will work. We've seen several different screening systems, fingerprinting systems, etc, and they all share the same "whiz-bang technology" attribute. That is that somewhere, there's some great piece of hardware, software, or black box that's going to save us from "the terrorists" Real Soon Now. I guess I'm more than a little skeptical of this approach to the problem.

    I don't know enough about the problem to know what the solution is (maybe just human operatives). But I do know enough about "whiz-bang" technology to know that it's snake oil.

  • New game: Which driver having a BJ can get through the checkpoint without detection. That person will have the ultimate poker face.
  • If there is anything I don't like about flying, its taking off your shoes when flying from the US. Seriously, airports have watched people in a number of different ways long before '9-11'. What I fear is two-fold: Security will rely too much on non-proven technology and anybody who'd blow themselves up or hijack a plane is a psychopath and probably won't show outside signs of intent. As one reader correctly said: "This is a remote polygraph." How many courts of law accept that as evidence?

    Its not the 1% fal

  • by golodh (893453) on Friday January 02, 2009 @05:00AM (#26297919)
    Again we see this snake oil gizmo. It's stupid. Perhaps it's a US fascination for anything that solves a problem so that you no longer have to think about it. Make that: "no longer have to think, so that we can have total morons man all our checkpoints".

    According to the article all the much vaunted device does is measure heart-rate, blink rate, direction of gaze, perspiration level. All somatic quantities linked to anxiety levels. Nothing else.

    And there's the rub. You can't catch someone who's calm and at peace with what he's about to do. Now that is a state of mind. Does "religious fanatic on a righteous mission" ring a bell? They have high levels of anxiety do they?

    Or someone with naturally low anxiety levels who has been trained to commit violence and is at ease with that? Or someone who is able to take his mind off something? Or even someone who has been sedated?

    This sort of monitoring might get an 80% success rate on ordinary Americans who are asked to carry an incriminating device through a checkpoint, but it was never tested with professional criminals. Like pick-pockets. Or fraudsters. Or even politicians for that matter.

    That's why this scanner seems to be a bit useless against pre-meditated acts of terrorism committed by dedicated terrorists. It may have some success against people who are planning to spray grafitti on the wall of the office loo though. Nice going to counter a high-impact threat.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten

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