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TSA's "Behavior Detection Officers"

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the picking-on-an-easy-target dept.

Privacy 281

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

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281 comments

Okay, and? (3, Insightful)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 6 years ago | (#20274981)

What is there to worry about? Odds are you're safe if you don't sweat (quite literally)

Re:Okay, and? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275057)

Odds are you're safe if you don't sweat (quite literally)

Thankfully, I never sweat; I perspire and I applaud the Government's efforts to apprehend these sweaty terrorists.

kdawson's conspiracy theories (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275153)

Take a look at kdawson's topics on Slashdot. Something like half of them are "Your Rights Online", and most of those are along the lines of "Bushitler is destroying the Constitution of the United States RIGHT NOW!!! He's going to make himself President for Life and his heir apparent will be that bastard boogeyman Karl ROVE!!!"

kdawson, do you go through life with white knuckles? Do you ever RELAX? Yeesh.

Re:Okay, and? (3, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275175)

Some people (like me) just tend to sweat more than others. BTW, fear in the security line doesn't have to be caused by being afraid of being caught -- it might be just the fear of flying.


-b.

Re:Okay, and? (5, Insightful)

kypper (446750) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275273)

Or a fear of a false positive... because god knows, those delays don't impact or affect you psychologically, nor do they fuck with your schedule and cause you to miss your plane...

Re:Okay, and? (2, Interesting)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276143)

I hope you're not really a bosozoku. I've been woken up from sleep too many times by bosozoku and seen too many incidents to not consider them terrorists of a sort - it is not reasonable to surround a car and shout obscenities at the driver, ever. If you are, you are the kind of person these people should be picking out. Kawaiiso.

Yeah, well the only place I'm flying to right now (to/from Manila) it's impossible not to sweat a little. And if I'm a little bit tense in line, it's because I hate no-smoking airports and no-smoking flights across the Pacific. The horror ... the horror.

I don't mind the security at NAIA - there really are troubled people who like to blow up airports and stuff there, but the security and the ominous color alert messages over the loud speaker at SFO are just annoying and a joke.

How many bombs have ever been exploded at SFO? There was at least one at NAIA in the last 4 years (and something like 3 in Davao City -- I'm really glad there's a lot of security there now).

Re:Okay, and? (2, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276289)

I don't mind the security at NAIA - there really are troubled people who like to blow up airports and stuff there, but the security and the ominous color alert messages over the loud speaker at SFO are just annoying and a joke.

That's one of the annoyances with the States -- you feel like an unruly little child all the time on public transport. At airports, on trains, whatever, you get those recorded voices that sound like your 3rd grade schoolteacher admonishing you not to do this or to do that. In Poland and Eastern Europe, they still have airline security, but without the admonishing disembodied voices. And they don't check papers when you buy an intercity train ticket like Amtrak in the US (they're generally pretty reluctant to ask for ID for fear of evoking the old dictatorships -- I think it's just considered impolite unless it's really necessary).

-b.

Sounds a lot like what El Al does (2, Interesting)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20274989)

The Israeli airline has been profiling passengers all sorts of ways for decades. This sounds a lot like one of the methods they employ.

No fuck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275051)

Yeah, we know! It says so in the story summary:
Yet some who bemoan the security theater historically run by the TSA point to the gold standard of airport security, Tel Aviv airport, and wonder why TSA officers can't act more like the Israelis.

That said, you don't want to act like them. It's about as anti-American as you can become. And I'm not talking about anti-Americanism as in disliking America today. I'm talking about anti-Americanism as directly violating and contradicting the ideals of the Founding Fathers: freedom, justice, individuality and tolerance.

Re:Sounds a lot like what El Al does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275437)

The Israeli airline has been profiling passengers all sorts of ways for decades.
I gather their main technique is to get everyone in the boarding line to say "shibboleth"...

Um, no. (1, Informative)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20274995)

The vast majority of Americans take the "Hey, if it has the chance of keeping me safer, it's ok" stance with the TSA. I recently took an international flight out of the US on a Sunday morning - which is one of the "busy" times. Only took me 20 minutes to get through the security checkpoint line. To keep things in perspective, I spoke to a few people that didn't check-in /print boarding passes online - it took them 2 hours to get their luggage checked, but only 10 minutes to get through security. I know the TSA is a regular punching bag on slashdot.. but it's really a *minor* inconvenience that has the potential to stop a few idiots from doing stupid things. Is there really so much wrong with that?

Re:Um, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275179)

How did you find the time to ask the vast majority of Americans? Or did you conduct a poll that involved more than a handful of people?

At a much broader level than these behavior detection folks, we Americans *PROBABLY* don't mind reasonable security measures and might even be willing to TEMPORARILY sacrifice SOME conveniences or even liberties to a government that is not corrupt and not incompetant.

But if a government is found to be corrupt AND incompetant, then I personally don't want to hand over my rights and freedoms which courageous veterans have sacrificed their lives to protect. If an American citizen is accused by an idiot of being an illegal alien or enemy combatant simply because he's not carrying a "national ID card", it would be nice to have the right to call a lawyer instead of disappearing into one of the tens of thousands of detention cells that Halliburton recently got billions to start building within the USA.

So in a nutshell, people are probably willing to give up their rights or comforts temporarily in direct proportion to the trustworthiness and competance of their government.

Who watches the watchers? Do these behavior detection folks get enough training? Do they need to prove accuracy so they don't end up detaining and roughing up a grieving parent or a recently diagnosed cancer victom for not being smiling at them? And if they mistakenly take someone into detention, does an American citizen still have the right to contact an attorney? Are they required to video the interactions so that abusers can be held accountable?

Video records are a good thing, they help us identify corruption vs incompetance. Like this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BEsZMvrq-I [youtube.com]

Re:Um, no. (3, Interesting)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275181)

Only took me 20 minutes to get through the security checkpoint line.

Then again, I got bumped from my flight to Frankfurt last month, only to be put back on at the last minute. The TSA people walked the group that was reinstated through the checkpoints with practically no security since the plane was leaving in 5 min. Some of those people were "volunteers" who )_asked_ to be on a later flight since there was a eu.400 payment for being bumped.

-b.

Top Five (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275007)

Top Five Exploitative/Unnescessary Graphic Moments in the Latest Harry Potter Novel:

  • 1. Lord Voldemort having sex with a unicorn
  • 2. Harry Potter trapping his glans under his desk lid
  • 3. Hagrid having a big shit
  • 4. Hermione's dream in which an evil wizard sets fire to a dungeon
  • 5. Ron Weasley trying to install Linux onto Dumbledores arse

smile, smile, smile (3, Interesting)

m0llusk (789903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275021)

So smile, smile, smile, especially while you take your shoes off as ordered and surrender your fluids. Or just drive instead.

Re:smile, smile, smile (2, Funny)

rand0mbits (1085639) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275525)

This got me thinking... You mean, drive through the airport security?

Re:smile, smile, smile (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20276103)

So that's what they were trying at Glasgow Airport.

Re:smile, smile, smile (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20276269)

Ah yes, I've had so many scenic drives across the Atlantic ocean.

"Gold standard" (4, Insightful)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275025)

Israeli security is the "gold standard" because it needs to be.

Re:"Gold standard" (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275897)

And just to clarify, when the parent said "gold standard", he was meaning to say that Israeli security is very good; he was not referring to the monetary policy. I just wanted to avoid confusion there.

For a different take on this program... (2, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275029)

For a different take on (what I assume is) the same program, read this article [baltimoresun.com]. I think the writer of TFA may be overreacting - in this article, an officer simply noticed someone acting suspiciously, and it turned out that he was carrying a 9 mm handgun and thirty rounds without a permit. No trick, no "micro-expressions", just good old-fashioned alertness.

Re:For a different take on this program... (1)

athmanb (100367) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275245)

The problem here is selective attention.

You quoted the one case where a police officer noticed someone acting "suspiciously" and ended up being right.
You didn't quote the 1000 other cases everywhere around the country - not just in airports - where police bother someone who they think acts suspiciously and end up as a false alert.

Re:For a different take on this program... (2, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275717)

The problem here is selective attention. You quoted the one case where a police officer noticed someone acting "suspiciously" and ended up being right. You didn't quote the 1000 other cases everywhere around the country - not just in airports - where police bother someone who they think acts suspiciously and end up as a false alert.

First of all, these are not police, these are TSA officers. They work in airports, the article is about airports, and our discussion is about airports. It's not as if these people are walking around on every street, stopping and questioning whomever they please. Third, when you enter an airport, like it or not, you WILL be put under a greater level of scrutiny than in many other places. There aren't many other places where you're asked to discard you water bottle, take off your shoes, and have your bag X-rayed before you'll be let in. Finally, this appears to be a fairly new program, and the writer of TFA doesn't actually provide any instances of real people encountering problems with these officers.

If anyone's guilty of selective attention, it's the writer of the TFA, and you. I know it's popular /. groupthink to automatically lump any kind of government surveillance into the Orwellian category, but stop and think for a minute about all the reports of people who have been observed "acting erratically" before something bad happens. Oh, and there's the fact that, as my article shows, a man with a gun and bullets was stopped in the airport thanks to this kind of program, or a very similar one. I very much doubt that someone who looks like they're having a bad day isn't going to be allowed on a plane. If that happens, maybe the writer has a case. On the other hand, trying to avoid causing a scene at the airport has been good advice long before this program.

What if you feel like smacking a TSA officer? (1)

cumin (1141433) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275899)

Okay, so you don't care for this policy. It makes you irritable, but of course you don't want to show it, so all that gets past is micro-expressions. Naturally, that is exactly what they are looking for, and you probably will spill the beans during interrogation, but I doubt they'll believe you.

As for me, I couldn't care less, and actually think this is a good thing. I doubt it will really lead to many false positives and will hopefully be seen as part of a larger policy which will make it easier in general to get through the airport. So while you're sweating in an interrogation room, I'll be breezing through, flip-flops and all. Have fun.

Re:For a different take on this program... (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275783)

Would you rather have 1000 false positives and 1001 safe flights, or zero false positives, 1000 safe trips, and 1 where hundreds of people die?

I don't have a problem with someone well-trained being assigned to watch the passengers as they check in and board the plane, and if they see someone who's acting hinky, pull them out of line just to see if they're OK. That does not strike me as Orwellian or some nightmarish violation of our rights.

It actually strikes me as much more sensible and effective than many of the truly Orwellian and nightmarish violations of our rights that have been perpetrated by the Bush Administration. I'm thinking spy satellites over the US, surveillance without any accountability, etc. etc.

If I'm on a plane, and suddenly a group of people start praying loudly, that's a red flag regardless of the religion involved. I don't care if they're nuns who start saying the rosary loudly as a group, I want the air marshal to check it out.

Re:For a different take on this program... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20276129)

The latter. Or did you think the "free" in "free society" meant "free from risk"?

Not that I necessarily object to this program, though I'm suspicious of the way it will be implemented, but false positives in any meaningful number are unacceptable.

Re:For a different take on this program... (2, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276443)

Being inside of an airplane which is for the most part completely cut off from the rest of civilization makes you not part of the rest of society. Seeing how guaranteeing your life is much more difficult in that situation than it is on the ground, by the virtue of the fact that you put yourself in there you give up some freedoms. Some of the other things you cannot do on a plane that you can do in the rest of a free society: carry a gun, scream obscenities, generally act rude and disruptive, dance, listen to loud music, walk around (unless explicitly permitted), etc. Being on an airplane is an inherently dangerous situation. So no, rules of civil society do not apply.

Brown man with a beard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275031)

As a brown man with a beard, it won't be long before they stop me for having funny "microexpressions."

Yay!

The Israeli's have it easy! (4, Insightful)

jack_n_jill (642554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275035)

For Israel, all their enemies are Arabs. They don't have to worry about profiling, discrimination, or civil rights. Israel is not a country of equal rights. Perhaps, if they were they would have peace and security.

We Americans aspire to be something better.

Nitpick (4, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275195)

For Israel, all their enemies are Arabs.

"Arabs" != Muslims.

There exist non-Muslim Arabs, and there exist non-Arab Muslim groups (Iranians for a start).

-b.

not really (3, Interesting)

Weezul (52464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275201)

Israel has exactly the same threats as the U.S. w.r.t. terrorists. Ever noticed how all those South Americans whose families were murdered by the CIA don't infact blow up U.S. airplanes? Ever seen a North Korean hijacker? etc.

Yes, there are demographic differences : Israel's terrorists are usually palistinian, and thus look exactly like Israelis. America's terrorists are usually Saudi Arabian, i.e. half African but nothing like African Americans.

In fact racial profiling for terrorists would work quite well in the U.S. and E.U. People just aren't interested in risking their lives to hurt you, unless their religious.

Our position will only becomes as bad as Israel's when crazy American Christians start blowing up airplanes.

Re:not really (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275333)

You need to look up the lineage of your average Iranian.

Also, unless you are willing to search *every* Arab, it isn't very useful to profile race, as there are many many Arabs, and your false positives will be huge, while some bad guys slip through. Behavioral approaches are much sounder(especially when combined with 'police work' approaches).

Re:not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275651)

Since when are Iranians suicide bombers?

Re:not really (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276115)

Not all Arabs, just all Saudis. :) I'm not aware of any terrorist attacks *by* Iranians outside of Iran.

Racial profiling obviously means "used in conjunction with behavioral profiling, police work, and other intelligence". I'm not sure you'd use it for passenger screening but why not place air martials using it?

Re:not really (3, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275503)

In fact racial profiling for terrorists would work quite well in the U.S. and E.U.
Yeah - racial profiling would have stopped Timothy McVeigh in his tracks, wouldn't it?

Oh, wait, he wasn't an Arab. (Or even foreign.) Or a Muslim. (Or even religious.)

In fact he was a white American agnostic. Didn't stop him committing one of the worst acts of terrorism in America's history, of course.

Okay, so you want to look only at cases where Muslim fundamentalists are trying to blow up planes, do you? Okay, please explain how racial profiling would have helped catch Richard Reid, who was, uh, a white British-Jamaican man, who easily made it onto a plane with a bomb and would have succeeded in downing a trans-Atlantic flight if another passenger hadn't spotted him trying to light the fuse.

But hey, let's not let the truth get in the way of indulging our xenophobia, shall we?

Re:not really (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275855)

Please take off your tinfoil hat. While the vast majority of muslims are not terrorists, the vast majority of persons trying to commit terrorist acts against the United States are Muslims (and of middle eastern descent). Of course there are examples of non-muslim terrorists in America. This is why the air lines need to remain vigilant for anyone who happens to looks suspicious, however because of the high correlation between terrorists and Muslims it is only reasonable that members of this particular group be paid just a little more attention. Does this mean that no other group should be scrutinized? Absolutely not, but let's be reasonable here. This has nothing to do with xenophobia; I would say this of any group. If white females 60+ in age happened to be the majority of those trying to blow up planes in the U.S. I would have absolutely no problem with an increased scrutiny of them as well, but they happen not to be the people doing it (go figure). But hey, let's not let the truth get in the way of our crusade to ensure that no one's feelings get hurt, shall we?

Re:not really (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276285)

So? You give two examples that say racial profiling isn't the silver bullet. No one said it was. We're just saying that it'll help.

Timothy McVeigh isn't too relevant to airplane security since he wasn't suicidal. McVeigh had always identified as Christian. He was more a death bed agnostic. No one want's racial profiling in all aspects of life.

Richard Reid might now be under surveillance anyway for his past affiliations, conversion, etc. He's a fairly special case. You don't imagine similar special cases are being watched now?

Racial profiling doesn't mean "we only search the arabs", it means "we put air martials on flights with at least n many people with names of these nationalities."

Re:not really (1)

Usekh (557680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275891)

Except for the fact you have asian muslims, central and eastern european muslims, and surprise surprise non muslim terrorism racial profiling will totaly be sucessful! considering that pretty much any race has a good chance of being a terrorist...

Re:The Israeli's have it easy! (2, Insightful)

reset_button (903303) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275259)

The security model in the Tel Aviv airport isn't simply to search through all of the Arabs' bags. Everyone is interviewed, and the security staff look for these "micro-expressions". As a white person, you can easily be asked ten questions about where you've been, why you've been there, what's in your bags, where you're going, why you're going, etc. When I fly in the US, nobody asks me anything. Nobody looks at me. As long as I don't have more than 3oz of liquid in my carry-on, I'm good to go.

As to the equal rights, do you suggest that Israel search everyone equally? How does that make sense? The terrorist attacks that occur on a regular basis there are almost all carried out by Arabs. However, aside from checkpoints, Arabs have full voting rights, full rights to attend any university, full rights to work anywhere they want, buy anything they want, etc. Do you know the rights of a Jew in an Arab country? The right to be hung.

That's hardly fair (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275549)

Do you know the rights of a Jew in an Arab country? The right to be hung

When the Crusaders retook Jerusalem from Saladin's forces the firt thing they did was massacre the Jewish population who had been living there under the protection of the Moslem forces for generations. Iraq had a sizeable Jewish population until fairly recently.. coincidentally their murders began just after the invasion/liberation (depending on your political PoV) of Iraq. There sre Jews all over the world living in Moslem societies, we shouldn't associate the views of Moslems about them with the views of extremists over Zionists (a lot of Jews recognise that Israel's policies do the whole race no favours while protecting only those who live within the Jewish states' walls.

Most moslems accept unconditionally that Israel only represents a zionist point of view which is a minority view among the world jewry.

Re:That's hardly fair (0, Flamebait)

rand0mbits (1085639) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275683)

Do you know what "Zionism" stands for? It's a movement to establish/have a country for the Jews. So you're saying that only a minority of Jews think that having a country for their people is a good idea?

Re:That's hardly fair (0, Flamebait)

Leftist Troll (825839) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275803)

Zionism, like Manifest Destiny before it, is a racist ideology. I would consider your assertion that most Jews are Zionists to be slanderous.

Re:That's hardly fair (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275907)

When the Crusaders retook Jerusalem from Saladin's forces the firt thing they did was massacre the Jewish population who had been living there under the protection of the Moslem forces for generations.

To be fair, the Crusaders also killed off many Christians by accident in their rage after they breached the wall.

And of course, these were some of the same fellows who sacked Orthodox Christian Constantinople on the way over.

And many of the German crusaders never left Germany and decided that crusading just meant burning Jewish villages. Not to mention Martin Luther and many of the protestant founders were highly anti-Jewish and wrote scathing pieces on how they should be burned.

And to be really fair, most Muslims of the time were fairly open minded to alternative religions and even when the Ottomans occupied Greece and Georgia they were fairly open mind about letting them do their own thing, but it was really after the British empire had its way did we see Pan-Arabic nationalism and the anti-Israel sentiment.

Equal rights??? (1, Flamebait)

jack_n_jill (642554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275781)

Here is a discussion of Israel's racist laws; http://www.adalah.org/eng/backgroundlegalsystem.ph p [adalah.org]

Of course Israel is worse than its racist laws. It is a country that declares itself to be for one type of people. Would you object if America decleard itself to be a country only for white christians?

This is a good illustration of the reality of Israel; http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/nimer_sultany/ 2007/04/dont_call_it_discrimination.html.printer.f riendly [guardian.co.uk]

Re:The Israeli's have it easy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20276243)

Do you know the rights of a Jew in an Arab country? The right to be hung.
Man, you were doing so well up to that point - you were posting a reasoned argument that pointed out how balanced a line Israel actually takes in the face of fanatical extremist enemies.

Shame you had to go and spoil it by adding a lie just as racist and prejudiced as the lies anti-Semites tell about Jews.

(Unless you were claiming that Jews in Arab countries are better endowed than the Arab men?)

Re:The Israeli's have it easy! (2, Insightful)

rand0mbits (1085639) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275633)

I seriously fail to understand why he's getting upmodded for such a retarded, bigoted, blind statement. We Americans may aspire to be something better, but we're nowhere close to it.

Especially illogical is this part "if they were they would have peace and security." Besides Israel, there are enough examples of countries with equal rights for everyone where (generally) Muslims choose to physically force their views upon others. A good example of this happened recently in Norway, where a Muslim couple-husband and wife-chose to beat up a young woman at a mall because she wasn't dressed as a young woman should dress.

IMHO, everyone hates Americans precisely because of idiots like jack_n_jill.

Re:The Israeli's have it easy! (1)

Isao (153092) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275767)

For Israel, all their enemies are Arabs.

Tell that to Yitzhak Rabin [wikipedia.org]

Re:The Israeli's have it easy! Did you read it? (0, Flamebait)

jack_n_jill (642554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275873)

Did you read the entry about Yitzhak Rabin? He was one of the terrorist founders of Israel! For him to be killed by an Israeli terrorist is exquisite justice.

Re:The Israeli's have it easy! (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275961)

Israel is not a country of equal rights. Perhaps, if they were they would have peace and security.

Here is the deal. Being an Arab in regular Israel isn't that bad. They have even have Arab members in the Knesset [wikipedia.org].

However, if you are someone who lives in the West Bank or Gaza strip then your life is generally like living in a prison.

HOWEVER, if you view this as occupied territory and these land areas as not part of Israel then those people who live in it are not Israeli citizens but rather citizens of their own state.

But if you demand equality for these persons as Israeli citizens you imply that these territories are a part of Israel.

So which is it?

Personally, I believe that these places are occupied territories and the only solution is going to be a withdrawal like in Gaza. That said, if these persons should get treated as citizens of their own country and not as Israelis second class or not.

I might be in the minority here (1, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275045)

But I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea of people who are trying to scrutinize people by looking for subtle clues to their state of mind as they go through security and flag some people for better security. It's got to be better than the "random" checking that goes on now.

The flipside to that is that I don't trust anybody I've interacted with at TSA to be astute enough to actually flag people properly. One *might* be able to get a few well trained people everywhere, but you're not going to be able to get enough to do any good. The next logical step is going to be trying to integrate it with all those "face recognition" programs we're always hearing about...and that won't work so well either.

Re:I might be in the minority here (1)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275127)

Not necessarily. Random checking prevents anyone knowing quite who is going to be stopped. If you introduce a lot of profiling, all the terrorists have to do is send lots of people through the system until they find the ones who aren't picked up by the profiling. Then they use those people.

Re:I might be in the minority here (1)

FireFlie (850716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275875)

And that same tactic couldn't defeat random checks as well?

Re:I might be in the minority here (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276239)

And that same tactic couldn't defeat random checks as well?

No, it couldn't. Profiling works by selecting people for checks by their physical attributes - ie, all males with dark hair, beard and moustache, olive complexion, who are 18-45, and reasonably fit will be subject to extra checking. All the terrorists have to do is send enough test people through the system to find out what the profile is. Once they learn what the profile is, they can send a person who doesn't fit the profile (ie, a heavyset woman with blonde hair) through with the explosives.

With random checks, anybody, including our fat blonde terrorette, has a chance of being picked for a thourough check.

Isn't this open to abuse? (4, Insightful)

stevedcc (1000313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275049)

I know that airport security is a tough issue, and something that needs to be done right, but allowing an interpretation of a micro-expression to be used to select people for further investigation basically gives the airport staff the option of pulling over anyone, any time under this pretext.

Do they collect statistics on how powers like this are used? In the UK, the police have had to start collecting statistics on the use of stop and search powers, because of concerns about racial profiling. The statistics have verified claims that the behaviour of the subjects is not what's being used by officers when deciding to search, the race of the subject is. Of course, this has lead to claims that the police are trying to find excuses to stop and search large parties of other ethnic group, to alter their statistics, without any probable cause (eg searching all passengers coming of a train for weapons, when they had no evidence that any existed)

I'm not necessarily against this kind of selection, but I do believe that it needs to be implemented carefully to prevent abuse and unfair treatment of certain sections of the population, so that not only is the security done right, it's seen to be done right.

Re:Isn't this open to abuse? That is the delimma! (0, Troll)

jack_n_jill (642554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275129)

Are a certain "type" of people your enemy? If your army is bombing the hell out of their home country then they probably are your enemy. Most of them will probably curse your country but not act in any violent way. Are they to be arrested? A certain number of them will strike out in a violent way. How can you arrest them since they look the same as those that are not violent?

This is the lesson that the British are learning. However it seems that the British are slow learners. The Spanish learned the lesson fast. We Americans still seem utterly clueless!

Re:Isn't this open to abuse? That is the delimma! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275939)

The Spanish learned the lesson fast.
What is that? Give in to those who are threatening you? Yea, good call. We Americans just don't know our asses from a whole in the ground.

Isn't the current system more "open to abuse"? (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275257)

I know that airport security is a tough issue, and something that needs to be done right, but allowing an interpretation of a micro-expression to be used to select people for further investigation basically gives the airport staff the option of pulling over anyone, any time under this pretext.

They already have this option!

This is designed to make that option actually, you know, useful.

Even if you think it could be "abused", they can already effectively select anyone, for any reason, for secondary inspection. That's the whole point of trying to use some kind of behavioral cues, instead of just randomly doing it to anyone (or young blonde women), or only persons who appear to be of Middle Eastern descent.

Yes, as you say, it needs to be done right. But please read Schneier's article [schneier.com] and the New York Times story [iht.com] on the topic.

Re:Isn't the current system more "open to abuse"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275807)

Government agents in airports only have this "option" because the Supreme Court refuses to enforce the Bill of Rights. Behavior is no better indicator than race. The better option of truly random searches are just as much a violation (no probable cause) as the ones built on race or behavior.

Re:Isn't the current system more "open to abuse"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275921)

No, completely random searches are foolish, as are you for suggesting it.

And as for suggesting that behavior is similar to race as search criteria...wow. Just wow.

Lastly, probable cause is NOT REQUIRED to search in an air transportation setting. The Supreme Court clearly agrees with this.

Re:Isn't this open to abuse? (1)

echucker (570962) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275325)

Not to give the cops a free pass, but I wonder how many people of Middle Eastern decent are acting differently? The real key though, is why. I'd call it a safe bet that a lot of them are nervous to be subjected to scrutiny because they've actually done nothing wrong, but realize there is a good chance they'll get pulled aside anyway.

Parent is Insightful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275379)

I know that airport security is a tough issue, and something that needs to be done right, but allowing an interpretation of a micro-expression to be used to select people for further investigation basically gives the airport staff the option of pulling over anyone, any time under this pretext.

Yes. Except that this is no extension of powers. They ALREADY have the option of pulling over any passenger, at any time, without needing a reason. I guess I don't see the reason for outrage here. You're worried about microexpression recognition being an avenue for abuse? If there's someone who wants to abuse the system, they don't need this to do so.

They can already flag you for additional screening if you seem nervous, fumble for words, generally look shifty, or even if you smell funny (yes, explosives DO have an odor).

What they're doing here is trying to get more sophisticated about detecting behavioral anomalities that might indicate suspicious behavior.

And, frankly, isn't that what we want? The people who get stopped for screening being stopped because they ACTED suspicious, not that they met some demographic profile? No, microexpressions may not be foolproof, and I expect there's a learning curve there. But why shouldn't we applaud the effort to get more scientific here? It replaces the current system of "gut feel."

Re:Isn't this open to abuse? (1)

Chief Wongoller (1081431) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275387)

If this is properly implimented and the operators are trained to do the job impartially, then this should be useful. Surely the whole idea is to avoid racial predudice by using objective criteria. Profiling is difficult and may be ineffective: Some of those alleged UK airport bombers are white or afro-carribean, and some married. Airport security has to be made more effective. At the moment it isn't, particulary in the UK, where stringent measures have caused considerable delays inconvnience and discomfort to everyone. I expect its the same in the US, thus the introduction of this scheme. As for keeping statistics like the UK police do for stop-and-search, we really do not want to go down that road as it'll just create more bureacracy and deviate resourses away from the real task towards paper filling, a reality that UK police forces are facing.

Re:Isn't this open to abuse? (1)

legirons (809082) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276441)

"allowing an interpretation of a micro-expression to be used to select people for further investigation basically gives the airport staff the option of pulling over anyone, any time under this pretext."

a bit like 'encouraging' sniffer dogs to act interested in someone you want to search?

Let's hope... (5, Insightful)

robably (1044462) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275075)

Let's just hope they don't get swamped with false positives.
No, let's hope they do. It would be nice if there was some limit to airport security where it becomes impractical to be any more totalitarian, especially as the measures at airports are creeping in to every other part of society.

Dear, kdawsondingsbums (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275095)

A cursory look at this TSA program might put one in mind of Orwell's "facecrime," and that's the road the Newsweek writer goes down.

Because he is an educated journalist who has background knowledge like how such stuff like judging people by their faces combined with "pseudo science" can end up.

Stop skipping history classes for being a Slashdot editor, kid.

Oh great, let's emmulate the Israelis. (5, Insightful)

ahfoo (223186) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275111)

I can't believe the people on here acting like this is a good thing or that Israeli style air force security is a step in the right direction. I just saw a documentary on how the Israelis routinely cavity search ten year old girls just because they are Palestinians. The intent is not to find anything, but to intimidate them and their families from returning to Israel. Even Israeli citizens, particularly female, who have publicly disagreed with militarist policies are strip searched simply to humiliate them and discourage them from travel.
        That's really where we should be heading in America, is it now? So, since our Palestinians equivalents are the Mexicans then I suppose our lovely new Israeli style airport security policy ought to include strip searching and fondling all young Mexican girls in order to discourage them from travel. I mean after all, that's the example the Israelis offer. It has worked so well for them so far, hasn't it.
        If we really want to stop terrorism, then perhaps we should start by not dropping bombs on foreign countries and killing hundreds of civilians each week. That might be an even more effective method than assigning the gestapo to the airports.

Re:Oh great, let's emmulate the Israelis. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275207)

Could you provide a citation for that documentary? Because right now, I've got a pretty strong guess as to where its producers come from.

Sure, and thanks for asking. (5, Informative)

ahfoo (223186) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275703)

Here's the information you're interested in. I'm sure you're genuinely interested rather than merely being one of these typical right wing assholes hoping to discredit any opinion you don't like by asking for documentation in the rhetorical manner of Rush Limbaugh or one of the many idiots at Fox News.
          I'm willing to assume you're not one of those fascist cunts and that you really are interested in the facts. In that case, this is the video I refer to:

Easiest Targets: The Israeli Policy of Strip Searching Women and Children

description:13-minute video: Five women - Palestinian, American, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish - tell stories of humiliation and harassment by Israeli border guards and airport security officials.

          In fact, you will find testimoney by American Christians and Jews as well as Palestinians if you take the time to watch the video.

You can watch it at Google Video with the following link:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-691161000 548687549 [google.com]

In addition, you can download the torrent from www.onebigtorrent.org which was formerly known as chomskytorrents.org.

I would say enjoy the film, but it's not meant to be an enjoyable film.

Re:Sure, and thanks for asking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20276045)

Here's the information you're interested in. I'm sure you're genuinely interested rather than merely being one of these typical right wing assholes hoping to discredit any opinion you don't like by asking for documentation in the rhetorical manner of Rush Limbaugh or one of the many idiots at Fox News. I'm willing to assume you're not one of those fascist cunts and that you really are interested in the facts.
You're right. Name-calling works much better when trying to prove your point.

Re:Sure, and thanks for asking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20276343)

Easiest Targets: The Israeli Policy of Strip Searching Women and Children

description:13-minute video: Five women - Palestinian, American, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish - tell stories of humiliation and harassment by Israeli border guards and airport security officials.

-Starring Kitty Young, Sinderella, and Ivana Fukalot

Re:Oh great, let's emmulate the Israelis. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275241)

Maybe we should learn why people want to blow up our airplanes instead of turning our society into a 1984. Our meddling interventionist foreign policy is the problem and changing it would go a long way to making things better.

And to you, kdawson, what is your basis for calling the study of micro-expressions "well-understood"? If you're going to editorialize, I would expect you to provide some decent proof.

Re:Oh great, let's emmulate the Israelis. (1)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276199)

I just saw a documentary on how the Israelis routinely cavity search ten year old girls just because they are Palestinians.

That's pretty terrible, but ten year old girls are a potential vector for terrorism, which is also pretty terrible. I'm not saying that the Israelis are right, but how do you protect against terrorists who use ten year old girls to smuggle weapons onto a plane? (Not saying they have, but if ten year old girls were never cavity searched, they would.)

Bad as it is, it seems like discrimination is an effective tactic against terrorism. Of course the real solution is "go back in time 50 years and be nice to the parents of today's terrorists," but that has implementation issues. Maybe the long-term effects of discrimination are worse than the long-term effects of terrorism, but I for one am at a loss for ideas about how to effectively prevent short-term terrorism, especially without the ability to control the strategic situation.

What the TSA is currently doing certainly doesn't help. The best strategy I can come up with is to drop the most onerous security and hope to make society better by more than terrorism makes it worse.

Re:Oh great, let's emmulate the Israelis. (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276437)

Well, the documentary is just half of the story. Why do the Israelis perform strip and cavity searches on children? The only reasonable explanation I can come up with is that Islamic terrorists have created conditions where such actions are necessary. Also, the insane hatred of Israel and Jews exhibited by Muslims does not exactly create an atmosphere of friendliness.

To be fair, Israel's security practises, as depicted in the documentary, seem to be unreasonable and beyond pragmatic concerns. On the other hand, the documentary seems like a fairly typical leftist moonbat presentation. They even managed to conjure up the imaginary "ethnic cleansing" that's supposedly occuring in Palestine. I'm going to take a wild guess and say that the people behind the documentary probably never have and never will do a similiar story about the way Palestinians and Muslims treat women and children. Suddenly strip searches don't seem so bad when you're comparing them to suicide bombings, gang rapes, honor killings and mutilations.

If we really want to stop terrorism, then perhaps we should start by not dropping bombs on foreign countries and killing hundreds of civilians each week.

Jihad is as old as Islam, and it is practised all over the world against infidels, not just against Americans. It has nothing to do with US foreign policy (the US wasn't even occupying Afghanistan or Iraq prior to 9/11).

It actually *IS* a pseudo-science (5, Insightful)

DocJohn (81319) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275145)

The MSNBC commentator called it a pseudo-science because that's exactly what it is.

There are exactly zero citations in MEDLINE and PsycINFO for a peer-reviewed study done on normal people using this technique. There's one where it was used to help people with schizophrenia learn emotional cues in others. The only other citation was a book chapter (which isn't a study).

So yes, when you have little or no science in the psychological and medical databases to back up your psychological technique, we call that a pseudo-science -- it's not a real, proven technique.

And because of this, it definitely should NOT be used at airports. There is a great deal of science showing how lousy humans are at detecting lying, including nonverbal cues.

--
Get your psych on: http://psychcentral.com/ [psychcentral.com]

Nope, there are publications (3, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275353)

That's the problem with using the media's term. Look up Paul Ekman from USCSF. He has numerous published papers on facial expressions and affect. [paulekman.com]

The question isn't whether the study of micro-expressions is science or not; the question is whether particular claims or assumptions about micro expressions exceed what is scientifically defensible, particularly whether inferences made from the study of micro-expressions are reliable. They're almost certainly, in this context, not.

It all has to do with the nature of evidence. Evidence forms a network, within which inferences can be made. Any single strand of that network will tend to be unreliable.

For example, if you know a person well, you probably could use micro-expressions very effectively. If you knew a lot about what the person is doing, you probably could as well. However, as a screening test, it is bound to be extremely unreliable. Even if you catch a fleeting glimpse of anger, disgust, or contempt on somebody's face in an airport security line, even presuming you are correct, it tells you absolutely nothing about that person, other than he is angry, disgusted, or contemptuous. Anybody who has done much traveling by air is bound to feel those things from time to time.

This is the problem with all screening tests that look for something extremely rare in the general population. Even with a highly reliable test, the rate of false positives will tend to be much higher than the rate of true positives. This is the problem with random drug tests; unless you are testing for a drug that is very commonly used, you don't have a great deal of certainty from a positive test, unless you have other evidence leading you to suspect drug use.

Re:It actually *IS* a pseudo-science (1)

Smight (1099639) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276253)

Exactly, what I was thinking. "The editorialist calls that a pseudo-science, but in fact it's a well-understood skill that can be taught and learned." You know what else can be taught and learned? Palmreading and Phrenology. In fact, both of those are more scientific since you can take actual measurements and have verifiable records.

Not pseudoscience (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275147)

It's the mustache twirl that gives them away.

If you can learn how to do it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275169)

I can learn how not to do it...I wonder how much the consultant got paid? ;)

More money wasted (4, Insightful)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275261)

This is more money impudently squandered.

Passengers are not the only worry for airport security. For most of modern US history, passengers have posed little concern. At the same time, the US has had many international enemies.

Airports are full of security holes. Other freight handling systems are full of security holes. "Appearing" to do things to improve security is a political strategy.

The USA is not more secure. But government is much, much bigger... and has more power than a supposed democracy should give it.

Astrological profiling next? (4, Funny)

davecl (233127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275277)

Maybe 'it's a well-understood skill that can be taught and learned', but so is astrology. Does that stop it from being a pseudoscience?

Perhaps that's the key - from now on the TSA can do natal charts for all passengers and use horoscopes to work out which ones are terrorists!

Re:Astrological profiling next? (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275415)

I want all these microexpression readers to sit down at a poker table with my friends. If bluffs are still viable, then these people are useless.

The calmest and most collected persons (2, Informative)

DollyTheSheep (576243) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275299)

will be those, who already know, that they will die: suicide bombers. Nothing really matters to them anymore besides their mission. Perhaps this is what the BDO are really trained to look out for: exceptionally calm persons?

Flying Harassment (2, Insightful)

dcray2000 (969850) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275313)

I travel regularly all over the U.S. I am huge on security and want me and my family to be safe.

However, what security does the TSA provide? It's pretty obvious that any intelligent enemy will continue to change tatics. This became all the more clear to me when the TSA harassed my wife for more than 5 minutes recently about my 4 month old son's baby bottle. It was more than three ounces because he eats more than three ounces, this was a revelation. They also continue to harass me for 'electronics density'.

You can't travel regularly without flying airlines. Terror is something pretty straight forward and it's being inflicted on america every day by the TSA. We are no safer.

Best case I can always go through security with just my book and my boxers. (they'll search my book for cellulose density) I'll then superglue my face so I have no expression and do the robot through the airport.

Deliberatly acting suspicious (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275349)

How long before some news agency trains a few reporters on how to "act suspicious" without committing any crime, then sends them into the airport?

How long before terrorists catch on and play this diversion game too? If the real terrorists can train themselves to "look normal" and pay some college students to "spoof the system" as a distraction, will that lead to another air disaster?

In the game of spy-vs-spy, or rather the TSA vs. real or imagined terrorists, no technique is foolproof.

This is America, pal. (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275399)

Let's just hope they don't get swamped with false positives.

Of course, they're going to get swamped. And they're going to over-react to each and every one and some $8/hour junior Gestapo wanna-be is going to pull 75-year old grannies out of line for full body cavity searches because they know that sweet grin is just a mask for true evil-doers. Face it, TSA and their staff are worthless suckers on the public money teat. They're the Milhouse Van Houten's of society but armed with the power to ruin your day.

Only at airports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275511)

I travel by train you insensitive clod!

Probable cause NOT required (4, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275557)

Airport security has become like border crossings: the officials do not require any probable cause for searches and detentions. They can use any and all means, even arbitrary or hunches. That's the long-standing custom because their effectiveness is considered more important that the passers rights to privacy. If you don't like it, don't go there. Frankly, less arbitrary means will help their effectiveness.

A much bigger question is whether these officials should have those powers. Whether passers rights should not be more respected. This is a deeply political question, to be settled by political means. Denying tools is only very indirect criticism.

I would vastly have preferred airport security stay within the control of the airlines. Perhaps with federal "guidence". Then no question of 4th Amendment could come up. Or maybe "fruit of the poisoned vine" doctrine should be imposed: "20kg cocaine? Hmm ... that's not explosive. Have a nice flight, sir." :)

Never again (5, Interesting)

cherokee158 (701472) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275691)

Has it occurred to anyone that there will most likely NEVER be another successful hijacking of an airliner BECAUSE of 9/11? Any effort to do so will result in another Flight 93. It's not hard to be a hero when you know the only other option is death...I doubt any group of American passengers is likely to sit quietly the next time an Arab with a box cutter starts barking orders.

The over-the-top security measures at our airports are simply political theater and not effective policing methods. I can't believe they still have everyone removing their shoes...thank goodness no one tried to smuggle an IED on board in a bodily orifice. And if anyone swiped MY kid's formula bottle because of some Kubrickian fear of fluids, I'd be on my way to Gitmo for attempting to bend a TSA agent into a pretzel.

Why can't they simply take a nod from Israeli Airlines and stick a guy with an Uzi on board each plane? Lord knows I've been on flights where his presence would have been welcome, if only to subdue the toothless trailer park escapee trying to open the window at 30,000 feet.

And why aren't these same security procedures in place at U-Haul? After all, they haven't always used airplanes to blow up buildings...

All of the money being spent on this bloated home security apparatus, all of the money spent keeping the military stocked with munitions, all of the money spent devising better prosthetic limbs before all of the returning veterans hobbling around begin to make 'victory' in Iraq seem a bit of an oxymoron,,,all of this money might have been better spent reducing our dependence on fossil fuels three decades ago when it first became obvious how vulnerable we were to the vagaries of Middle-Eastern politics. If we'd spent even half the money we have wasted making ourselves feel safe from threats both real and imaginary since 9/11 on alternative fuel research ten years ago, Bin Laden would be penniless and living quietly in a tent in some arid desert, pulling the legs off of scorpions for his sick amusement, instead of enjoying eternal life as the bogeyman of the 21st century.

It would be wise to remember that, througout history, many more people have been killed or imprisoned by their own government than any foreign power. It's probably not such a good idea to make it easy for them.

 

Re:Never again (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276361)

Why can't they simply take a nod from Israeli Airlines and stick a guy with an Uzi on board each plane?

Because opening up with an Uzi on a crowded aircraft would probably do more damage than whatever makeshift weapon the terrorist had managed to smuggle on board?

I know that the "people getting sucked out of a bullet hole" scenario comes out of the same Hollywood Physics book as the devastating hair-bleach and nail-varnish-remover bomb - but so do the magic bullets that only kill bad guys. If I was in a crowded plane with 300 people and some moron opened up with a machine gun* then whether he was a terrorist or a TSA agent would be a matter of supreme indifference... Even if a single broken window doesn't cause the plane to nosedive I'd rather keep the air in the plane, thank you.

Worse, a terrorist could blind the TSA agent by squirting 100ml of baby milk in his eyes, incapacitate him further by hitting him over the head with a (security sealed) bottle of duty free, suffocate him with the plastic zip-lock cosmetics bag and grab the Uzi.

Oh, and, PS - threatening to kill suicide bombers lacks something as a deterrent. Especially if they have enough smarts to build a dead-man's switch. (* or semi-automatic or whatever variation on "thing that spits outs lots of bits of metal at very high speed and should never be let off in a confined space with lots of people" a Uzi actually is).

More bullshit (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275811)

And yet they're STILL not screening the cargo that goes on the same flights. They'll look in everyones shoes for a bomb, but not in the fucking CRATES.

Israeli airport security is easily gamed (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20275893)

Americans who are visiting Israel once or twice tend to be deeply impressed with Israeli security. Once you get used to it, however, it is easily gamed -- many of the procedures haven't changed for decades, most of the inspectors are 20-somethings making minimum wage and subject to the same levels of boredom as the TSA, and increasingly they don't have the language skills required to do a good interrogation. Once you've gone through a few times, you know what to expect and, assuming you aren't Arab and aren't "in the computer", you can pretty much choose the level of harassment you want assuming you know how to convincingly lie, which is not a particularly difficult skill to learn (and pretty much a required skill for anyone doing work in the area, on either the Israeli or Arab side). And in fact even Palestinians know quite a few ways around the system -- sure, they will be harassed, but it is fairly predictable.

I once did a business trip that involved visiting, in a two-week period, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon (illegal at the time for US citizens, though plenty were there), back to Jordan, back into Israel, Egypt, then Israel again, then out Tel Aviv. I answered lots and lots of questions about where I had been, what I had done, etc etc, lying the whole time, never once came anywhere close to getting stopped. Again, it just isn't that hard...comes with the territory, for better or worse.

Security going into Israel on carriers other than El Al is incredibly lax, worse at times than flights within the USA. So if someone wanted to try to smuggle explosives onto an airplane, in-bound would be the way to go, not out-bound through Tel Aviv. Given that the passenger profiles going into Israel are more or less the same as the profile going out, you'd make the same political statement.

So yes, it is mostly theater and pseudo-science, but makes a great first impression. And folks are making huge amounts of money "consulting" with the Dept of Homeland Security, who no one has ever accused of being the sharpest pencils in the box, on various hare-brained schemes like this.

Grow up guys... (-1, Troll)

smitth1276 (832902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275905)

You're acting like they're going to throw people in jail for "acting funny". That's an unfounded and uneducated assumption to make, just as the tags "oppression" and "policestate"--both of which are prominently featured as I write this--are juvenile and unfounded. Giving an extra look at people who act suspiciously, which is all that will happen, is a no-brainer. This type of profiling is based on science. Why do you hate science?

I would love to see a psychological profile done on the slashdot community as a whole. The positions you get behind and the recurring irrelevant tags that you use are indicative of a remarkable level of group-think, and a sort of cliqueiness that I personally interpret as a lot of self-esteem issues and a need to fit in, even if it means blindly and uncritically accepting absurdly fantastic ideas... almost like conspiracy theorists, but not quite as batshit crazy and uneducated--but close.

There ya go! (1)

smitth1276 (832902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276255)

Mod me down! Put all of your insecurities into it! I know the truth hurts... oppress me! Shut down my dissent! Police these forums with all of the fascistic tendencies you project onto people with whom you disagree!

LOL. Feel better?

pseudo-science and risk (1)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#20275937)

The editorialist calls that a pseudo-science, but in fact it's a well-understood skill that can be taught and learned.

In fact the "editorialist" is right: for the time being, "microexpressions" are a pseudo-science. That is, the claims for their predictive ability are not sufficiently well-founded, there haven't been large enough studies, and the experiments have not been replicated enough, to justify widespread deployment.

Techniques used by law enforcement should really be studied with the same experimental and statistical rigor as drugs. People get upset, and there are big lawsuits, when a drug causes causes a few deaths per million, but the rate at which some bad law enforcement techniques disable people, lead to injury or death is several orders of magnitude worse.

You can be trained in psuedo-science (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20276299)

It sounds like a psuedo-science to me, regardless of whether you can be "trained in it". (I am sure someone somewhere offers seance training and tarot card reading training).

The freedom to feel contemptuous of government (2, Insightful)

dircha (893383) | more than 6 years ago | (#20276411)

It is critically important that every American understand what is happening here. The TSA is a government agency. This is not "vote with your dollars" and choose a different airline. This is your federal government detaining and searching you based on how you feel about them. Your government has announced it reserves the right to detain and search you for any reason whatsoever, including bearing the expression of one who holds that same government and its agents, for these very practices, in utter contempt.

And through your hard earned tax dollars you are funding them and their cronies to do this to you. As much as 60% of your working life will be directly to fund the government that is doing this to you, that government whose agents are shouting and you with a boot on your head, with your trousers dropped, and an agent's cold hand - big brother's hand - telling you it is for your own good, that if you would only fall in line they would not have to do this.

But don't worry, so long as you smile, keep your mouth shut, and fall in line, you won't be bothered, citizen.

It is only a matter of time if we do not dramatically reverse course now. If this presidential election comes down to a race between Hillary or Obama and Giuliani, Thompson, or Romney, the decline will only accelerate. If we do not reverse course now, in 8 years we will very likely have passed the point of no return, where these policies are accepted by the populous, where the police state propaganda has thoroughly subdued them, and we will be unable to rouse them to fight.

To avoid this fate you must act now. Get behind a candidate who you can count on not to sell us out to the military industrial complex, who you can count on to wrest us free from the interests of large bankers and financial institutions, who you can count on to defend the letter of the Constitution in its original spirit, for which the blood of many patriots was shed.

And that doesn't mean just posting on internet forums. That means volunteering to travel to, to write to, and to call citizens in the primary states. If we do not get wins for these candidates in the primaries, it will be as good as lost. Now is the time to act to defend your freedom, or you will soon find it has been taken from you and it will be too late. http://www.ronpaul2008.com/ [ronpaul2008.com]

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