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Fear Detector To Sniff Out Terrorists

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the interesting-assumptions dept.

Biotech 342

Hugh Pickens writes "Evidence that the smell of fear is real was uncovered by US scientists last year who studied the underarm secretions of 20 terrified novice skydivers and found that people appear to respond unconsciously to the sweat smell of a frightened person. Now the Telegraph reports that researchers hope a 'fear detector' will make it possible to identify individuals at check points who are up to no good. 'The challenge lies in the characterization and identification of the specific chemical that gives away the signature of human fear, especially the fear in relation to criminal acts,' says Professor Tong Tun at City University London, who leads the team developing security sensor systems that can detect the human fear pheromone. The project will look at potential obstacles to the device, such as the effects of perfume and the variances in pheromone production and if the initial 18-month feasibility study is successful, the first detectors could be developed in the next two to three years. 'I do not see any particular reason why similar sensor techniques cannot be expanded to identify human smells by race, age or gender to build a profile of a criminal during or after an incident,' Tong added."

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342 comments

Detects terrorists... (5, Insightful)

the_one(2) (1117139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004798)

... or people who are afraid of being suspected of terrorism

Re:Detects terrorists... (5, Insightful)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004830)

Or people who are afraid of flying?

Re:Detects terrorists... (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004972)

Or people who are nervous about their big business meeting, or meeting their possible future in-laws, etc etc

Re:Detects terrorists... (5, Insightful)

Forge (2456) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005162)

Meanwhile the guy with a box cutter and a few pounds of C4 smells horny (for his 70 virgins) not fearful.

Re:Detects terrorists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30005202)

Or people that don't know if their reading magnifying glass will get them convicted.

Re:Detects terrorists... (3, Funny)

backbyter (896397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004856)

or young men who are afraid that their dreams for a virgin will be confused with somebody else's dreams of 71 virgins.

No... no, you won't... (4, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004962)

Detect terrorists, that is.

Not while there are anti-anxiety drugs out there.
What you will detect is a bunch of false positives that will keep you busy "detecting" while trucks loaded with bags of ammonium-nitrate explosive merrily (but calmly) pass you by.

Re:Detects terrorists... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005120)

Or from a machine that will go off causing you a bunch of problems and missing your important flight. If are afraid of it.

Probably will NOT work on terrorists (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005208)

These are ppl that have already made up their mind of HOW things will happen. If they know that they are going to die, they have already discarded the fear. As such, it is possible that these ppl will get by. OTH, if they are hoping to get out of it alive, then yeah, fear will be a big factor.

Re:Detects terrorists... (5, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005276)

Y'know.... a man can change the scent/pheromones his body gives off as easily as taking a drug like cyproterone [wikipedia.org] . The effects are temporary, but taking it in doses of about 50mg/day for a week before flying will have a big enough impact on the way your body produces pheromones that most people won't be able to read you properly. Stop taking the drug, and your body resumes normal operation...

Not suggesting, of course, that the terrorists would think to use a drug that, in people with a Y-chromosome, is usually used to treat transgenderism (and occasionally used to treat prostate cancer), but there are a very large number of drugs out there on the market, some available over the counter, that will affect your body's hormone balance, and will in turn affect the pheromones that your body produces. With so many ways to screw with the results available, I'd be very surprised if they could get such a system to work properly with an acceptable false positive/false negative rate....

Supercomputer involved to be named "Deep Sniff"? (4, Insightful)

unitron (5733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004802)

What if the fear they detect in you is the fear of missing your flight while you're held up trying to convince security that you aren't a threat?

Re:Supercomputer involved to be named "Deep Sniff" (0)

Grrreat (584733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005026)

Well, The more angles they have on detecting terrorism is not a bad thing. With all IDs requiring the recipient not to smile to prevent facial technology failures, I would expect that terrorist would just smile like crazy at places they intend on doing harm.

The signature of human fear (5, Interesting)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004804)

Luckily airports are only ever full of relaxed, calm people who have no fear of flying whatsoever.

And being dragged off to be interrogated as a terrorist in some darkened back-room by three of four rent-a-thugs can only serve to ease their fears of flying...

Re:The signature of human fear (3, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004836)

This is so true.

All a fear detector detects is fear. Not intent or cause. Once they realize how many people are afraid in airports, they will quickly scrap this stupid idea.

Re:The signature of human fear (3, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004900)

All a fear detector detects is fear. Not intent or cause. Once they realize how many people are afraid in airports, they will quickly scrap this stupid idea.

Unfortunately that is probably exactly what they want.

This device is 'scientific proof' (AKA the computer said so) for arresting any one of 90% of the people there that they might want to arrest for some reason.

Think dousing rods here. It's an enforcement departments wet dream.

Re:The signature of human fear (4, Interesting)

bencoder (1197139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004912)

Once they realize how many people are afraid in airports, they will quickly scrap this stupid idea.

No, it doesn't work like that. More false positives and inconvenience are never a problem for these people. That just means they can apply for more stolen^H^H^H^H^H^H^H government money to deal with the extra people.

Re:The signature of human fear (3, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004986)

Who said they'd be limited to airports?

will make it possible to identify individuals at check points

Re:The signature of human fear (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005042)

Bingo. Next will be the schools, because, you know, blah de blah THE CHILDREN!

Re:The signature of human fear (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005128)

Also, I see no reason to believe that a suicidal terrorist is going to be remotely fearful of anything. What's going to happen - he's going to get shot? He's going to have to set off his bomb early and kill people in the airport instead of on a plane (assuming terrorists are interested in planes any more).

Still, as long as there's yet another section of society who can be terrorised by idiots in uniforms (add `nervous asians` to `young black males`, `photographers` etc etc to the list) who are covering their asses rather than actually providing an increase on security, why not...

Re:The signature of human fear (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005186)

And there are people who can be calm under any circumstance. If you're full of opiates you don't care about (or fear) anything. Then there's "liquid courage" at the airport bar.

This smells like failure.

Yeah, but... (5, Insightful)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004806)

If you have a true religious fanatic, who is looking forward to dying for a cause he believes in -- and is looking forward to eternity in the paradise-of-his-choice for his actions, would he* still show physiological signs of fear?

* (I think statistically, "he" is a fair generalization here.)

Re:Yeah, but... (2, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004870)

No, but the guy who's afraid that such a person is on the flight will be. These persons will be detected and prevented from boarding, thus they avoid the imagined risk. It's added value for the neurotic!

Re:Yeah, but... (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005012)

> No, but the guy who's afraid that such a person is on the flight will be. These persons will be detected and prevented from boarding, thus they avoid the imagined risk. It's added value for the neurotic!

So lessen the odds by bringing a bomb onto the airplane. Do you know what the odds of TWO people bringing a bomb onto an airplane are?

And if you can get someone else you trust never to explode a bomb to bring one on an airplane, your flight will be even safer, because do you know how much rarer it will be for THREE people to bring a bomb onto an airplane?

Heck, have the captain, the co-pilot, the flight engineer, and the head stew also bring bombs on board. the probability of an EIGHTH person bringing a bomb on board is soooo small ....

Now, where's my grant money?

(no, it's not original - it's adapted from Isaac Asimov's Joke Book - which is now probably on some sort of watch list because certain people with no sense of humor act like they have a baguette shoved up their ass, so don't trot down to your local library to read it)

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005090)

the probability of an EIGHTH person bringing a bomb on board is soooo small ....

According to my grandfather it's quite common for a plane to take off with dozens of bombs on board. Or rather it was [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Yeah, but... (3, Funny)

zerosomething (1353609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004924)

then we need to be able to smell anticipation for paradise, or would we just confuse that with a bunch of horny guys.

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005016)

Perfect, it just picks those who are NOT afraid!

Actually it would work - you are not afraid - interrogation - next time you will be.

Re:Yeah, but... (1)

Grismar (840501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005036)

From the summary:

".. especially the fear in relation to criminal acts"

So yes, more so than most criminals I would imagine. A normal criminal only fears getting caught and perhaps going to jail if their lawyer sucks.

A terrorist has far more to lose from their point of view, so if this figures into it at all, I would expect elevated fear levels. Unless of course their religious belief includes a rock-solid belief that their deity of choice will get them on board safely. Basically, in my opinion the whole religion thing is a bit irrational. I assume terrorist networks will use this research to figure out things to make their suicide bomber believe, to minimize the feeling they are doing something criminal.

bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30005260)

"true religious fanatic"

yeah, those will never be the people that will carry out a suicide bombing. The people that do the actual bombings seem to be the followers of the fanatics, and those followers haven't really thought through the whole thing so to speak. They are going to be scared.

I think the fanatics are just arrogant bullshitters, convincing others to sacrifice there _lives_, yet what to they give up?

bullshit

Fear Of Flying = Fear Of Being Caught? (1)

blcamp (211756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004828)

Or fear of bad airline food? Or fear of having a screaming kid on board? Or fear of being stuck next to a passenger with hygiene issues?

Re:Fear Of Flying = Fear Of Being Caught? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005038)

Or fear of bad airline food? Or fear of having a screaming kid on board? Or fear of being stuck next to a passenger with hygiene issues?

That's not the smell of fear ... that's the stink of miserable certainty.

Oh well - look at the bright side. Anything that reduces air travel is good for the environment, so you KNOW they're also going to be applying for carbon tax credits for the reduction in air travel. One bad scam deserves another.

But worry not! (4, Insightful)

BlackSash (1420967) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004834)

People that are afraid of flying (or more accurately, crashing) will not need to worry about being picked out of the line for 'smelling suspiscious'! Not at all...

and those freaking out (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004886)

after being pulled over by a cop.

Yeah, this will work. Suddenly we will have lots of suspicious people locked up and their items confiscated all because they are presumed guilty for simply being afraid or worried.

Re:But worry not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30005078)

I have long wondered about the health effects of working in an environment like an airport, where a lot of people around you experience fear. I'm pretty sure your body picks it up subconsciously, but is there any long term effect?

So the Stasi were on to something ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30004838)

So the Stasi were on to something when they collected the smells of thousands of people...

Roosevelt quotation for the terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30004848)

"The only thing we have to fear is-fear itself".

Up to no good? (5, Interesting)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004852)

I'd be more alarmed to find someone who wasn't afraid to pass a checkpoint like this. How can you defend yourself from the allegation of some machine saying that you exhibit fear, and therefore is a terrorist? Furthermore, sociopaths and psychopaths will have little trouble passing these checkpoints.

So you'll get plenty of false positives, and plenty of false negatives.

Re:Up to no good? (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005184)

though it is perfect security theater.
it has a scientific basis, and it can easily be spun by the media that the fear was caused by not wanting to be caught thus making it the accused's word against the cops and the media.
end result, the rest of the population thinks the government is doing it's job and swallows this willingly while it does nothing to stop a threat you can't really stop anyway and a whole lot of money is made by a few people.

Oops (5, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004854)

Now the Telegraph reports that researchers hope a 'fear detector'' will make it possible to identify individuals at check points who are up to no good.

What about us law abiding citizens who are only afraid that our governments checkpoint workers are up to no good?

It is already a very real possibility for one of those people to make up any type of claim they want and detail you without letting you speak to a lawyer nor involve any courts.
The reason given can be as ridiculous as 'He had terrorist looking hair' and still be valid. Plenty of legit reason to be afraid of those people.

Not to mention the fact I have no doubt at least a subset of these checkpoints will be at places where fear is natural (IE airports, fear of flying, or fear of falling out of the sky in a fireball)

Will deodorant and perfume be classified as a terrorist munition now?

Re:Oops (3, Insightful)

throbber (72924) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005020)

Will deodorant and perfume be classified as a terrorist munition now?

They already are.
Have you tried carring deodorant and perfume in your hand luggage recently?

Re:Oops (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005280)

They already are.
Have you tried carring deodorant and perfume in your hand luggage recently?

Wow. Actually no I haven't tried.

Does that fall under the no liquids / semi-solids thing?

Fearolin? Criminofearolin? (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004858)

The idea that there's a special chemical signal for "fear in relation to criminal acts" seems to come out of absolutely nowhere. Shouldn't there be some research into whether such a chemical signal exists before device development occurs? If it's not a magic detector of latent emotion or the cause of emotion so I'm not sure how much better it would be than noticing which people "look a bit afraid". It's going to be just as susceptible to picking up people who find flying difficult or are worried about being falsely accused of being a terrorist because they look funny.

Re:Fearolin? Criminofearolin? (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005116)

The idea that there's a special chemical signal for "fear in relation to criminal acts" seems to come out of absolutely nowhere.

No, it comes from somewhere: It comes from the fact that billions of dollars in federal research grants are being spewed out for anything that can be remotely tied to terrorism prevention and/or response. I can only guess how much money this particular scheme raked in.

Obviously, the rate of false positives that you'd inevitably get with something like this makes it worse than useless in a crowded airport (I wonder if they addressed that issue in their grant application?). But then, in a nation where delay, inconvenience and humiliation make people feel safer, maybe they're on to something...

Re:Fearolin? Criminofearolin? (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005196)

The idea that there's a special chemical signal for "fear in relation to criminal acts" seems to come out of absolutely nowhere.

It comes from studying skydivers. What more can you ask for. We know they're up to no good [imdb.com] .

Re:Fearolin? Criminofearolin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30005270)

Surely you've heard about the 'cranial shape in relation to criminal acts'?

If you have the wrong bumps, you're probably a criminal. Because only criminals have the wrong bumps. And if you aren't, then you probably will be and can be treated like you already are.

Underarms?! (5, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004862)

"And in the news today, hundreds of teenage boys were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. They were later released after it turned out they were simply wearing Axe deodorant"

Re:Underarms?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30005248)

good heavens, what would happen to the legions of "sweaty armpitted" teenage slashdotters trying to board their flights???

The only thing we have to fear... (5, Insightful)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004864)

They decided people weren't taking FDR's warning seriously enough so they'd give us a damn good reason to fear fear itself.

Re:The only thing we have to fear... (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005274)

Actually this is a system designed to protect us from anyone who shows signs of fear, so the only thing we have to fear is people who aren't afraid. So don't be afraid! Oh wait, that's scary...

waste of time (2, Insightful)

runyonave (1482739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004868)

Do scientist have nothing better to do nowadays. Fear is an emotiona that could be the result of hundreds of different causes. Fear from stress, fear of losing money, fear of an individual, fear of going to an intervew etc, etc. How do these scientist aim to differentiate fear of criminal activity from other causes. Waste of time.

No (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005264)

The thought is that it will enable them to allow say 1/2 to 2/3 to get by quickly, and then focus resources on the smaller group. No doubt that there will be false positives, but, OTH, if you focus more resources on these, then you can process ppl faster.

I would be far more concerned about false negatives. I suspect that a terrorists who has already made up their mind to die is probably not quite as fearful. The true religious fanatics that have convinced themselves that either 72 virgins or Jesus or virgin mary or whatever awaits them in heaven is the one that will likely NOT be afraid. They are focused on a false end goal, so do not care about the means to it (though I am still trying to figure out what female muslims get; 72 virgin males? What a joke).

You Sir (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30004880)

Smell like you're up to something!

Seriously though I wonder if it will be able to resolve the difference between somebody who is simply nervous and somebody harboring nefarious intentions. How many times have you wondered if the detectors would sense something (anything) on your person as you pass through them. Same with the Random Breath Test - you know you haven't had a drink in a while, but you think back to what you've had to eat/drink for the day ;)

I guess it would be easy to test though; set up some groups, give one an item which "is" illegal, give one an item which "shouldn't" be illegal. See whether or not the device can differentiate between both groups.

Profit!!! (3, Funny)

redhog (15207) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004892)

1. Get a degree in chemistry
2. Create artificial "fear hormone"
3. Bottle hormone in spray-flask
4. Spray "on your car" outside airport (and wash car with a piece of cloth) - make sure to spray passers-by
5. ???
6. Profit!!!!

Re:Profit!!! (3, Insightful)

RKThoadan (89437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004988)

If this is really put into use I guarantee you that pranksters will be doing exactly that. They don't even care about the Profit!!!! They'll do it just for the lulz.

More profiling... (3, Insightful)

cbope (130292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004894)

Great, just what we need, more profiling in place of real security. And just how is this supposed to work with psychopaths who do not experience the emotion of fear?

Terrorists will just learn to be fearless (1)

TheRealRainFall (1464687) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004904)

As soon as this becomes the norm people will just have to run through fearless tests/scenarios just as an astronaut has to not puke in a zero gravity environment. It's just another hurdle and we'll likely ignore telltale signs in favor of machines but this is definitely an interesting advancement. It should stop the rogue unprepared school shooting type person.

weak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30004922)

smell-crime. way overdue.

Positive Feedback Loop? (4, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004940)

1: Develop System to detect when someone is "afraid"

2: Let citizens know that those who are "afraid" will be detected, detained and questioned for "citizen safety".

3: Citizens are now afraid to go through on the idea that maybe they will somehow set off the alarm.

Tons of false positives. After the first story of a false positive, some people become afraid of being a false positive as well. As more and more stories of false positives arise, more and more people become afraid and become more false positives.

Re:Positive Feedback Loop? (1)

bmr91 (1653939) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005040)

Perhaps they could install these systems but disregard the results for a couple years. Until they become commonplace. If people are used to these detectors being an average part of airport security, I'm sure there would be much fewer false positives. Though I do have to admit, I get a bit anxious every time I walk through a "commonplace" metal detector.

I guess it would all depend on the sensitivity of these machines. Would fear of death give off a stronger result than everyday fears??

Re:Positive Feedback Loop? (1)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005158)

4. All citizens are now afraid of the detector. Except terrorists.

5. Set detector to "if you're not trembling, you're guilty" mode.

6. Citizens learn that detector is now only interested in people who aren't afraid of getting stopped

7. Citizens no longer afraid. Back to square one!

8. Foxes and rabbits! XD

Let's Be Serious (5, Interesting)

Voulnet (1630793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30004990)

The officers would only pull Arab-looking dudes, and many of those dudes might produce fear signals not because of terrorism, but because they're afraid of being treated badly at US airports like many of their brethren are.

Re:Let's Be Serious (1)

smartr (1035324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005176)

Unless the officer doesn't obey orders well, they'll be pulling nervous people of all nationalities. If they're racially profiling, this system won't help them. They'll be pulling the people who will most likely make a scene after being pulled, because they're freaking out. Like most previous posters have pointed out, finding nervous people likely does not even have a correlation to being a terrorist (assuming terrorists wouldn't train against this, which could give it a negative correlation). Basically, we just spent a bunch of money to get worse results and create more chaos.

I must not fear... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30005022)

... fear is the mind killer, fear is the little death that brings airport security...

Re:I must not fear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30005172)

Nest up, get those pain inducing boxes the Bene Gesserit used on Paul to use in interrogation of suspects. Gom Jabbar needle held at the neck optional.

Terrorists have no fear (1)

Wormholio (729552) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005046)

This will fail. A dedicated terrorist has no fear, while a law-abiding citizen can now be in fear of being accused of what is essentially thought-crime.

Re:Terrorists have no fear (1)

bmr91 (1653939) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005076)

How would you know that? Most terrorists are religious radicals. Ever hear of the phrase "god-fearing"?

You'll probably catch... (1, Redundant)

‹berhund (27591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005048)

... a lot of people who are afraid of their boss, or authority figures in general, or airplanes, or ...

I love it! (2, Funny)

pehrs (690959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005064)

I really like the idea! Preferably it should be combined with US patent 6970105 (Passenger control system during a plane flying) http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6970105.html [freepatentsonline.com]

So we fit all passengers with large collars containing big needles with sedatives. At the first smell of fear we inject a propper dose of sedatives in their necks. The problems with terrorism and fear of flying solved at the same time.

I really must run and patent this idea right now... And get the movie rights!

I don't think so ... (1, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005074)

This whole idea doesn't pass the smell test.

But it COULD lead to the entire population of New Jersey, the armpit of America, being banned from flying. Not having to sit next to them might be seen as a win.

Re:I don't think so ... (1)

gx5000 (863863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005092)

Right because everyone is a cool cucumber right before boarding the flight right ? More tax money out the window.....

The sequel to thoughtcrime: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30005114)

Smellcrime? (Or would that be stinkcrime to rhyme with thinkcrime?)

bizniz iz bizniz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30005122)

This device could be useful in business negotiations. If you could smell the fear of the inept decision maker, perhaps you could use his fear of failure to buy a worthless device. It seems to work in Iraq where the Iraqi police are buying bomb seeking divining rods for as much as $60k each from a British company named, ATSC.

Mad Bomb Sniffer Story [nytimes.com]

OK... (1)

joh (27088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005124)

While I think the "smell out terrorists" idea is absurd and deserves no further discussion, smell-profiling itself may prove to be a valid idea. And as often all the *other* uses of such technology may have a real impact. Drug use, gender, emotional state, age etc. being detected by some smell detectors opens new fields in surveillance and control. And I'm not sure I like that at all.

And if you look at how dogs can follow and search people by their individual smell I see no real reason why "smell fingerprinting" shouldn't work.

False Positives (0, Redundant)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005134)

False positives will kill this. Plus, anything that can be measured can be trained for (see, e.g., "lie" detectors).

But, this will be good for some research grants, and maybe even an expensive pilot project, so if you believe that the best security metric is the amount of money wasted, it's all for the good.

any real data ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30005148)

The article had a dead link to a conf presentation.
pubmed search of author Lilianne Mujica-Parodi got nothing
her web site does have a data free page http://lsec.bme.stonybrook.edu/Site/Alarm_Pheromones.html

IANAP but aren't there ways around this? (1)

thesandbender (911391) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005150)

I'm curious if certain psychiatric drugs would mitigate this effect. My friend takes valium before he flies, I would imagine that a benzo or even paxil would have a similar "masking" effect.

I've also heard that paxil can turn a small segment of the population into cannibals if pumped into the atmosphere.

Love these comments... (2, Interesting)

vistapwns (1103935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005156)

Time to lose my Karma I guess... A terrorist is going to be a LOT more afraid of getting on that plane and detonating a bomb on it, and possibly getting caught by security, than an average person is going to be afraid of flying or that his mom my discover his porn, or whatever other funny reasons you guys can come up with... Second, even if there are false positives, I think that's expected by the scientists, nothing is 100%, but if you can increase your odds of picking up a terrorist by some odd percent, and decrease false positives (because terrorists are a LOT more afraid I would think) then you have saved money, saved everyone's time, and increased safety. As far as pranksters with bio-chem degrees, well, when this thing starts picking up a lot of false positives, those pranksters will probably be caught and we won't see much of that. (i.e. all the fear scent 'sprayed' people say they were all in parking lot B, then the security checks the cameras, and finds the car that sprayed them and those idiots get arrested.) I think we should at least give it a chance before condemning the idea with condescending knee-jerkiness.

as reported by the WHAT? (0, Offtopic)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005188)

Now, a bird dropping a piece of bread on a section of the accelerator has, according to the Register, shut down the whole operation.

Isn't the Register only about 3/4 of one notch above the Onion?

So what happens? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005190)

The project will look at potential obstacles to the device, such as the effects of perfume

      And completely ignores the premise that a religious fanatic about to die for his god might not be afraid at all!

Chanel No. 5: "no-fier factor" (1)

HollyMolly-1122 (1480249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005194)

Or just: Airport bravity sense.. People use pheromones already. They can use whatever smell or whatever sense they want! Is that prohibited ? Imagine that a few years later you could find in a shop special "airport bravity sense" ? For "comfortable living with stupid fear sniffers" :-) Who could eliminate the "fier factor" for people who are 1st time in a plane ?

This will work really well... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005232)

...for identifying people who are frightened of being identified as being frightened.

> ...especially the fear in relation to criminal acts...

Bullshit. Someone whos is afraid that customs will catch him smuggling lizards will smell no different from someone who is afraid of flying (the lizards might, though).

Keeping everyone afraid. (1)

fuyu-no-neko (839858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005244)

Combine this with the government's need to keep everyone afraid. Now they can arrest almost anyone as a terrorist. And those few people that don't buy into the government hype and don't smell of fear? They obviously don't listen to Big Brother, so they must be terrorists too!

I'm My Own Worst Enemy Sometimes (1)

Chente (9402) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005262)

I wouldn't do well with this at all. If I knew that a fear detector was being used, I would start to be afraid that I might be afraid of it and that fear would grow into a panic that I might be sufficiently afraid to set the thing off, which would be scary because then I'd start imagining my interrogation at the hands of jackbooted DHS thugs with their enormous attack rottweilers and their hideous cattle prods. The image of rottweilers using cattle prods on me would be too much for me to bear and I'd just set off the fear detector, which would be a relief because then the suspense would finally be over and then the interrogation could begin in earnest.

Very truely yours,

Franz Kafka

They needed scientists to figure this out? (1)

NetNinja (469346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30005278)

Animals smell it and react to it accordingly.

Ever been to Marine Corps boot camp? Couldn't get the smell out of the squad bay for a month.

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