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Airport Profilers Learn to Read Facial Expressions

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the you-look-guilty dept.

Transportation 676

nldavepc writes "There has been a rather scary development in airport security. Airport profilers are watching people's facial expressions for clues of terrorist intent. According to the article,"Travelers at Sea-Tac and dozens of other major airports across America are being scrutinized by teams of TSA behavior-detection officers specially trained to discern the subtlest suspicious behaviors.""

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Oh Noes (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893084)

I think he just gave me a terrorist look!

"behavior-detection officers" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893096)

Do you Americans realize that you are heading towards a totalitarian regime?

Could you speak up? (3, Insightful)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893180)

I couldn't hear you over the latest TV gossip program.

Besides. I feel safe.

Re:Could you speak up? (0, Troll)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893398)

Besides. I feel safe.
You know you "feel" safe at the expense of a corrupted administration that has taken our country a lot closer to commie China, right?

Re:Could you speak up? (4, Funny)

TheDrewbert (914334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893446)

Apparently your "sarcasm detection officers" are on strike.

Re:Could you speak up? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893466)

You know you "feel" safe at the expense of a corrupted administration that has taken our country a lot closer to commie China, right?

Didn't you hear? Britney's "good" sister is pregnant!

Re:"behavior-detection officers" (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893298)

Do you Americans realize that you are heading towards a totalitarian regime?
Yes. And pay attention, Carnivore: it's only a matter a time before the Queen says "let them eat cake!" The last time that happened, a few VIPs lost their heads.

Re:"behavior-detection officers" (2, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893382)

That was France though, where people actually protest rather than sitting there polishing their shiny, shiny guns.

Re:"behavior-detection officers" (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893474)

That was France though, where people actually protest rather than sitting there polishing their shiny, shiny guns.
Exactly. The French were NICE. Ask the British just how nice the American colonists were. We INVENTED guerrilla warfare.

Re:"behavior-detection officers" (1)

dalleboy (539331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893430)

The cake is a lie.

Re:"behavior-detection officers" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893314)

Do you realize that we have free-speech in America, and almost no other country does ? Like Germany and France ? And hell, Germany takes money out of your paycheck for the Catholic church BY DEFAULT unless you tell them not to. In Montreal, your signs have to be in French. I think we are free-er than any other nation.

Apologies for feeding the troll.

Re:"behavior-detection officers" (1)

keko_metal (1010011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893374)

Are you living in a parallel universe? Seriously.

Re:"behavior-detection officers" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893448)

Unfortunately, no. I am in the same one where the supposedly civilized and progressive, gun-controlling Europeans butchered 50 million people just 60 years ago. I think its the Europeans that really should consider guns as a problem, not the US. It's just that in Europe the murder rate has a different distribution, with an overall much higher rate of deaths. Oh but maybe with guns we should throw in gas chambers as also being a public health menace.

Re:"behavior-detection officers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893452)

That's gotta be the funniest thing I've read in a long while!

Anyone who thinks we are "free-er" than any other nation has been listening to a bit too much propaganda or a bit too little actual fact. I suggest you educate yourself a bit more on freedom of speech (and freedoms in general) in america and contrast them with similar values held in the other modern western nations.

(oh and its ironic that you would use Quebec language laws to support your point. I think french speakers in canada enjoy the freedom to use their native language without having to worry about not being able reading signs. See how it's not so clear cut?)

Re:"behavior-detection officers" (0)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893408)

Why, because authorities try to actually catch terrorists as opposed to letting terrorist cells fluorish like Britain and Germany do??

Re:"behavior-detection officers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893416)

I had no idea plane hijacking was a right. Could you cite more?

Re:"behavior-detection officers" (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893418)

This would just be so precious if you're from the UK

Note to terrorist self (5, Funny)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893098)

Play more poker.

Re:Note to terrorist self (5, Insightful)

st0nes (1120305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893234)

Good one, but what about people like me who, due to bad experiences in the past are shit scared of authority figures? I always get stopped going through customs & immigration because I can't help looking guilty, even though I'm completely innocent. I've just resigned myself to putting up with the inconvenience of having my bags thoroughly searched and a grilling from uniforms every time I travel. I haven't been to the USA for a while, but I wouldn't be surprised to get a free trip to Guantanamo next time I go...

Re:Note to terrorist self (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893326)

Really, I can't look at any cop without displaying MACRO-expressions that probably reveal "emotions such as fear, anger, surprise or contempt". Mere innocence is no defense, nowadays.

Note to Airport profiler self (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893284)

Train more to recognize pedo-smile [thebestpag...iverse.net] .

This isn't funny (3, Insightful)

Crock23A (1124275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893330)

Do you really think someone who is willing to hijack a plane and then fly it into a skyscraper doesn't already have a poker face? I'm also sure the would-be terrorists already travel regularly so they be well accustomed to the different facets of airport security.

First it's facial expressions, next it will be the thought police.

Re:Note to terrorist self (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893420)

Play more poker.
Or just spend your time ogling any fellow-travellers who look cute. It's easier to avoid suspect behaviour by doing something relatively normal.

you think that is all? (1, Interesting)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893100)

Did yo know they even track what kind of bagage you check in and what clothes you wear and match it to your trip data? A suit going for 2 days to NY with minimal bagage= ok. Same suit going to Hawai for 2 days with minimal bagage = trouble...

Re:you think that is all? (-1, Offtopic)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893196)

Same suit going to Hawai for 2 days with minimal bagage = trouble...

You are right, he would be stuck in airports for months getting shipped around because no-one knows where the hell Hawai is.

Care to cite that? (3, Insightful)

amstrad (60839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893214)

where did you get that bullshit?

Re:Care to cite that? (3, Insightful)

Carbonite (183181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893272)

Yeah, I'm also going to have to call bullshit. There's no way the TSA has the technology, resources or competence to match passengers' destinations with their clothes. Even if such a system did exist, it would be utterly useless due to the number of false positives it would produce.

Re:Care to cite that? (2, Insightful)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893384)

Such a system does exist, and it is utterly useless due to the number of false positives. It is referred to by the initials "TSA".

Re:Care to cite that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893320)

Have you ever been through the American public school system?

check id before get on plane (1, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893102)

I got a better idea, how about checking id before getting on the plane? All they do now is scan your boarding pass. Anyone could have anyone's boarding pass and get on any plane, from what it looks like.

Re:check id before get on plane (1)

aspillai (86002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893120)

I've always had my ID checked when boarding. This includes airports in Canada, Newark and Europe.

Re:check id before get on plane (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893208)

"I've always had my ID checked when boarding. This includes airports in Canada, Newark and Europe."

Nah...I've only had to show one when checking luggage, and show id and boarding pass to people before the scanner....id goes back in wallet after that.

I wonder what happened to that guy that was trying to contest even having to show ID at all...anyone know the outcome of that?

At the very least...it might be a new reason to get to the airport early...just to try out 'suspicious' expressions, and see which ones make them look at you. Then, just explain it away as a facial tick, or that you're doing your facial exercises for acting class....

:-)

Re:check id before get on plane (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893346)

The past couple of times I've flown, I've had my ID checked once in four flights. Now admittedly this was internal flights in the UK, so perhaps there isn't as great a security concern. The one time I was asked for ID along with my boarding card, they were happy enough with a photo driving licence (note for people outside the UK - until about ten years ago, driving licences were an A4-sized sheet of paper with no photographic ID. Now they include a card with a photograph and your licence entitlements. The old paper-only licences are still valid and will be until they expire when the driver is 70 years old).

I didn't need ID to pick up the boarding card, just the reference number from the email confirming my booking.

Re:check id before get on plane (2, Insightful)

spamking (967666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893202)

How would this be different than what they already do? You've got to show ID before you even enter the terminal to head through security. Granted, people could switch boarding passes and get on a different plane, but in the end would that really matter?

It's the MUSLIMS, stupid. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893104)

We already KNOW who the terrorists are - MUSLIMS. So why do we have to have OUR lives ruined, and pussyfoot around, and do RANDOM stops and searches? We all KNOW it's the MUSLIMS. Why are they in OUR countries?

Because the JEWS want them here, to destroy any sense of community we whites ever had, so we can't stand up against the Jews again...

The 'prophet' of Islam was a mass murderer, multiple rapist, and a paedophile, according to muslims.

www.prophetofdoom.net

Re:It's the MUSLIMS, stupid. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893154)

Someone needs a 'time-out'...go stand in the corner.....

Re:It's the MUSLIMS, stupid. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893436)

We already KNOW who the terrorists are - MUSLIMS.
Yeah, and they already profile Middle Eastern-looking people, especially if they look Muslim. Just ask my wife. She has worked in airport security in the past. They say "We never profile based on race," then turn around and say "But you'd BETTER profile."

This is to catch the terrorists who DON'T look Muslim. 'Sides, if YOU were a terrorist, would YOU send Muslim-looking people on the next hijack mission? Hell, no, 'cause they're ALREADY LOOKING FOR THAT. Get some white or better yet African-descent people. Dress 'em up in the latest American trends. 'Cause they're not looking for that.

You - you and YOU! (1)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893108)

*imagines the airport customs*

I bet hes a criminal.
Man, thats ONE scary looking bastard, and look at THAT...He has a mustage

No ...its a lady, is that a mustage? - Oh heck...arrest her anyway.

Re:You - you and YOU! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893322)

Mustang?

Muskrat?

Muskeg?

Moustache. Moustache. Moustache.

The more you read it, the wronger it looks. But it's moustache.

TSA track record (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893112)

Well if the TSA keeps up to their perfect track record of successfully locating bomb components in people's luggage, I'm sure we are now as safe as one can possibly imagine!

The article doesn't say what the training for this job involves, but I'm sure it's at LEAST two whole weeks...
=Smidge=

Re:TSA track record (1)

pmdkh (1180717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893172)

This program is definitely 100% legit. They've got nice names for themselves (behavioral detection officers), a nice witty acronym for the program (SPOT), and the extensive training that you've already mentioned. What could possibly go wrong?

Predicted long ago (5, Interesting)

timon (46050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893118)

"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself -- anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called."

-- 1984 by George Orwell

Re:Predicted long ago (0, Offtopic)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893152)

If I had any modpoints, I'd spent em all on you. This is so true.

Re:Predicted long ago (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893224)

I would like to remind you that George Orwell's 1984 is a fiction story telling people to be weary of your rights. But it is not prophecy.
For this case it is not used to make conviction but to determine if the person could possibly be a threat. As TFA stated only about 10% of the people pulled over actually committed anything, they know that. The Orwellian method is if the person is suspicious then they go to jail.

Re:Predicted long ago (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893294)

Slippery slope.

Re:Predicted long ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893470)

logical fallacy. the slippery slope is a bullshit argument used to justify the unjustifiable. It goes on the presumption that things will always slide in one direction, which anyone who has ever looked into history can tell you doesn't happen. Though the damn thing does repeat (history that is) it is not a continuous downward slide of one-bad decision followed by another. (Of course what is a bad decision is largely a subjective item.)

Re:Predicted long ago (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893350)

It's worth it to note that the oppressed/watched people for the most part in 1984 were the bourgeois, or the upper and middle class, who were part of the Party. You'll notice that the proles were left pretty much alone to do what they wanted.

Also, I for one am not weary, or tired, of my rights at all. I'm weary of them being eroded, and I'm wary, or watchful, of anyone who says otherwise.

Re:Predicted long ago (1)

wereHamster (696088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893354)

You're just not patient enough. That time will come, I can promise you that. Now lean back, relax and watch how the america slowly deteriorates.

Re:Predicted long ago (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893442)

I would like to remind you that George Orwell's 1984 is a fiction story telling people to be weary of your rights.
In case you hadn't noticed, 1984 is increasingly becoming a reality. Our rights are eroding before our very eyes. And most people don't seem to mind one bit.

For this case it is not used to make conviction but to determine if the person could possibly be a threat. As TFA stated only about 10% of the people pulled over actually committed anything, they know that. The Orwellian method is if the person is suspicious then they go to jail.
How long do you think it is until we reach that point?

Re:Predicted long ago (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893488)

So if 1984 is supposed to be fiction, why is that the US is trying to implement an alpha version?

New Buzz-Phrase For 2008 (4, Funny)

blcamp (211756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893128)


"Don't FACE me, bro!"

Racial Profiling (5, Interesting)

Telephone Sanitizer (989116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893132)

The officers ask simple questions:

"How are you today?"

"Where are you heading?"

"Is this all your property?"

"It's almost irrelevant what your answers are..."
That's because I'm not a black grandma carting a bunch of grandkids around.

This holiday, every person that I saw pulled out for secondary screening was an elderly black woman with a bunch of little kids.

"We're looking for behavior indicators that show a certain level of stress, fear or anxiety above and beyond that shown by an anxious member of the traveling public."
Wow! What a fantastically detailed legal threshold for a full body search!

The TSA considers the program a powerful tool to root out terrorists, but also an antidote to racial profiling.
..."Not!"

Re:Racial Profiling (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893424)

Wow! What a fantastically detailed legal threshold for a full body search!
They need ANY reason to do a full body search beyond "If you want to fly you'll submit to this"?

Re:Racial Profiling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893490)

Reminds me of a trip from Sydney Australia to LA back about 10 years ago.

An elderly black American grandmother asked me to carry a bag to LA for her while I was in the line-up at check-in. I refused and she wandered off so I called over a security guard and reported her. Maybe the TSA has a record of that incident or may black grandmothers have a habit of asking people to carry stuff for them. Or maybe black grandmothers have been found to be most likely to be HELPFUL and carry a bag for someone else.

Whatever it is, I am certain that it is profiling but I don't think race has much to do with it. I suspect it is all to do with the universal culture of being a grandmother.

So How Many (1)

WillRobinson (159226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893138)

Terrorists have they caught? While you couldn't put a price on the value of catching one, really would be nice to know. Guessing I would say about what, 100 million per terrorist caught? Think just putting a price on their head would be cheaper. But really its probably all political smoke to dump money into some politician's buddy's back pocket.

America's getting scary (5, Insightful)

tech49er (824086) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893146)

Solution: Stay away from America ... if they keep going the way they're going that probably wont be such a sacrifice!

What is a terrorist facial expression? (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893148)

Honestly this is awful. From TFA -

"When someone lies or tries to be deceptive, ... there are behavior cues that show it. ... A brief flash of fear."

Now, creative editing aside (lotsa dots in there), what happens when I display a fear microexpression when I'm asked if I have any bomb?

Because that's what's going to happen, because with all this overhyped security I'm tense and slightly afraid when I'm dealing with these people anyway. Why? Because they have the power, on suspiciuon alone, to really ruin my day, my entire holiday, my business trip or perhaps even my life, depending on just how far they want to take everything.

So yes, when I get a grilling from a security agent, he's going to see fear. And the fact I now know (s)he's looking for it will make it even more likely.

Welcome the new world where paranoia becomes a self fulfilling phenomenon.

Re:What is a terrorist facial expression? (0, Troll)

dintlu (1171159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893228)

Give me a break.

The article describes the methods these officers will be using to control for normal levels of travel anxiety. And "Grilling" is hardly an appropriate term for the process used to identify people for secondary screening. Questions such as "How are you today?" and "Are all these bags yours" are completely innocuous.

I'm glad the TSA has graduated from racial profiling to emotional profiling.

Re:What is a terrorist facial expression? (2, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893288)

Also from TFA -

"The problem is behavioral characteristics will be found where you look for them," the American Civil Liberties of Massachusetts legal director John Reinstein told The Washington Post.

I happen to agree with him.

Re:What is a terrorist facial expression? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893454)

Welcome the new world where paranoia becomes a self fulfilling phenomenon.
Y'know I was with you up until this point. Are you going to go into a school playground and blow yourself apart along with many kids because of these measures? Then it doesn't sound like a self fulfilling phenomenon.

False positive much? (5, Insightful)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893156)

Since January 2006, behavior-detection officers have referred about 70,000 people for secondary screening, Maccario said. Of those, about 600 to 700 were arrested on a variety of charges, including possession of drugs, weapons violations and outstanding warrants.
So what they are really saying is that this technique has a 99.9% false positive rate. Nice.

Re:False positive much? (5, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893210)

Worse than that, if you take 70,000 completely random people in any public venue and search them, you'll probably get a few hundred minor drug posession, weapons, and outstanding warrants. So really this has 100% failure rate.

Re:False positive much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893264)

The false positive rate is actually 100%. This is allegedly attempting to find those with terrorist intent, and they found no such people.

Re:False positive much? (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893312)

They are looking for... fear, anger, surprise or contempt.

I can honestly say that I have all of these emotions every time I go through airport screening.

Re:False positive much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893450)

Given the shockingly bad false positive rate, how about getting a few Israel experts to access the situation. Facial expression by rookies has got to be crap -it takes years and years to get OK, and it insulting to experienced customs officers that will shame any fly by night rookie trainee.

I hope they think long and hard about this, before 50% of Americans decide not to fly because they might get busted for a parking ticket or the like. Trying to convert a failure into a success story is not flying here.

Re:False positive much? (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893492)

So what they are really saying is that this technique has a 99.9% false positive rate. Nice.

But it works better than anything else we/they have. Any constructive ideas or techniques that could lower false positives, and let less of the bad dudes through I am sure would be appreciated. I for one appreciate removing the disruptive from aircraft. Makes for a safer and nocer trip.

Big deal (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893166)

Is this really a surprise to anyone? They've been watching the faces of people passing through the green (nothing to declare) channel in Customs for decades.

Re:Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893230)

Not true. HM Customs don't look at your face. They look at your feet. Anyone can put on an "innocent" face, but few can do the walk.

This is ridiculous (1)

diewlasing (1126425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893168)

Have they studied the faces of enough terrorists to gather enough data to know how a terrorists face muscles move? I really doubt it. This is like that movie Equilibrium with Christian Bale, where they train to spot "sense offenders", people with faces that don't go along with the stoic masses, who had illegal emotions. This is just more government expansion and a waste of tax dollars.

Trouble with the police (5, Interesting)

wrook (134116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893170)

Like every good /.er I didn't RTFA. But this reminds me of something that happened to me recently.

I was walking down the street late at night with a friend of mine. All of a sudden he yells out, "Crap!" and starts getting all agitated.

"What are you doing", I asked.

"Don't look! It's the police", he replied. "I always have trouble with them. Every time I see them they follow me and then I end up getting into a hassle."

I looked at him. Then I looked at the police. Then I waved at the police and they drove off.

"How did you do that??", he asked incredulously.

It never occurred to him that his nervousness was the only thing that way attracting the police's attention. For some reason he thought they had it in for him or something.

I suspect that there will be a lot more people being detained if nervousness is a reason to detain someone. There are just people who are nervous around authority figures. And since that nervousness usually gets them into trouble, they become even more nervous. Welcome to longer lineups at the airport...

Social Engineering (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893254)

I learned at a very young age that when I did something naughty and got real quiet that was when my Mom came looking to see what I was up to. So I started doing all naughty things while whistling or otherwise in a noisy fashion.

When I was at college a group of friends went to scout out the local thing it was customary to steal on campus. Like your scenario, a campus cop drove by and one of our group ducked low and darted for the shrubs. We were like, "Dude, why don't you just wear a sign that says you are up to no good?"

The best way to do naughty things is to look like you are supposed to be there. It's called "Social Engineering".

Scary? (3, Interesting)

taskiss (94652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893188)

I WANT the airport security looking for people acting odd. There's only so many ways someone can put themselves into a position where they can injure or kill the other passengers on a plane and having security folks check for people acting odd seems to be an obvious procedure to follow. Someone acting nervous needs to get greater scrutiny. Profile all you want 'cause I'm thinking a blue haired Grandma ain't the best candidate for security to detain and search.

Then again, I don't insist on wearing tinfoil hats. I WANT bad guys doing bad things caught. I guess I'm in the minority here on /.

How beautifully naive. (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893360)

"Then again, I don't insist on wearing tinfoil hats. I WANT bad guys doing bad things caught. I guess I'm in the minority here on /."

Oh me too. We all want bad guys doing bad things to be caught. But here on /. you'll find that people aren't quite as willing as average to submit to full body cavity searches in the name of their own security. Or being hassled for hours in an interrogation room because you looked at someone funny. Maybe because we're more socially dysfunctional than average and are always giving people funny looks by accident...

You might also find the roots of the more prevalent anti-authoritarian attitude here on /. have something to do with the constant flow of stories here on /. (and, to be fair, anywhere else people with half a brain gather) about bad legislation, bad policing, corrupt or transparently bought-out government.

I fundamentally do not agree with the current crop of legislators on who is a "bad guy doing a bad thing", and I also fundamentally disagree with using unreliable methods to detect said individuals.

Re:Scary? (4, Insightful)

Umuri (897961) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893440)

Ok, here's your scenario.

Two people walk through airport security, one gets through, the other doesn't.

One person is a normal citizen, who hears about the horrid things that happen to detainees and people at the hands of airport security, cannot miss their flight home to visit their grandma who is about to die from cancer, and only has the bare minimum time to get through security and onto the plane.

The other is an actual INTERPOL top 100 criminal. They have survived for years by being able to control their outward appearance and are a master a social engineering in order to avoid security or police in localities.

Guess which one gets through?

There's an old saying, only the bad hackers get caught. That applies to criminals. 99% of anti-criminal measures in place such as this will only stop the poorly conceived, the unintelligent, or the unlucky. It will do nothing about people determined, intelligent, and with a plan, which is the attributes the supposed terrorists who want to blow up planes have.
I'm all for security measures that work, but these aren't it. And that is assuming you subscribe to the group that believes they really are supposed to help catch criminals instead of just promote a more.... federally empowered american government.

I'm not saying my stance, I'm just saying the sides you can view it from.

None of your business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893194)

"It's more relevant how you respond. Vague, evasive responses -- fear shows itself. When you do this long enough, you see it right away."

What if I choose not to tell you? That's within my rights as well. I will also make it as difficult as possible for you to do your job.

Yeah, Right (5, Funny)

Ed Almos (584864) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893200)

Anyone seeing my facial expression as I pass through a US airport will immediately see someone pissed off at the delay, disruption and unbelieveable hassle involved with TSA controlled air travel.

Ed Almos

snake oil (2, Insightful)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893218)

There is very little evidence that micro-facial expressions actually work for this purpose. Unfortunately, the US government and law enforcement seem to be rather prone to this kind of snake oil. Lie detectors are another example.

This will go over so well (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893220)

I hope their training covers the differences in expressions between terrorist activity and the expressions of disdain and contempt.

Re:This will go over so well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893340)

If you think there is any 'fundamental' difference between the two then clearly you have a bad attitude towards authority in the first place.

Truth is that you're either with us or against us in the war on terror. If you're against us then this kind of technology is designed to your life just a bit more difficult. Seriously, what's wrong with that?

Nothing new (1)

vacorama (770618) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893226)

This is nothing new. Haven't you ever heard the expression, "That person looks suspicious"? People with ulterior motives often give something away with their expressions. It's not any new or even "totalitarian" for people to use the techniques of looking for those expressions as part of their process for detecting threats.

Behavioural profiling (2, Insightful)

kieran (20691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893236)

Behavioural profiling, including facial expressions, is actually one of the more effective predictors of ill intent that airport security has at it's disposal and it's been in use for years.

Bear in mind you don't get shot for looking suspicious - you just get singled out for further attention. And it's a hell of a lot more positive than profiling on race or blocking people from flying based on their name.

Not only terr-rists (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893244)

From TFA: "...behavior-detection officers have referred about 70,000 people for secondary screening, Maccario said. Of those, about 600 to 700 were arrested on a variety of charges, including possession of drugs, weapons violations and outstanding warrants."
 
So, uh, just how many ter'rists were caught?

Re:Not only terr-rists (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893304)

Out of 70000 people, 700 were arrested. That translates to 99% false positives. Meanwhile, the "false negatives" go undetected. Is that really the best they can do?

distractions (0)

snsh (968808) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893250)

Travel with a companion who has big boobs, and nobody notices your face, especially not a bunch of government employees.

Facial Profiling (2, Funny)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893256)

This sounds like a clear case of facial profiling. Where is the ACLU on this one!

So ask yourself... (1)

Dethboy (136650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893268)

Am I a terrorist... or just constipated?

Thanks for the reminder of why I no longer fly anywhere.

Re:So ask yourself... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893414)

You're a terrorist.

uh-oh, better ban sunglasses at airports (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893316)

or better still make it a "guantanamo-able" offence.

If you can't see people's eyes, it's very difficult to interpret their expressions. Obviously sunglasses-wearing travellers have something to hide. Just to be sure, ship 'em off (modern day transportation of criminals?)

Just as a side-bar, how many of the errrr... ZERO terrorist attacks in the last couple of years would this measure have prevented?

I wonder if this is evidence-based at all? (5, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893334)

Do they have any way of validating that these techniques actually work?

How did they do the experiments? Did they have a pool of real terrorists and anxious innocent passengers and a way of doing double-blind testing?

Or was it the training just done by some expert consultants who possess an air of authority and a confident manner?

Is this any better than using graphology on the passenger's signature... or having a computer run a quick horoscope... or following the methods of the Malleus Maleficarum? [wikipedia.org]

Is there any, any, any reason at all to believe in the validity of these techniques?

Airport Security (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893344)

I was in the airport this last weekend to pick someone up. As I sat and waited, I heard the 'if you see anything or anyone suspicious, dial 911' announcement a few dozen times.

I hate airports to start with, and the added security and craziness makes me hate them more. So now, on top of that, my nervousness might be seen as terrorist attitude and I've got 1 -more- thing to worry about. Great!

I heard a rumor a while back... The rumor said that we have -never- found even a single terrorist with the security we have at the airports. Not one. Since then, I have never seen a news report that says we found a terrorist at an airport. There are reports of spoiled plots, but they never involve the airport itself... They are always stopped by law enforcement.

Has anyone got a news report they can cite to show we -have- found terrorists this way? Or are the airport security concerns just harrassing law-abiding citizens?

Cool! (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893362)

This is actually great. Now when I've been randomly selected to be searched after already running late through the hideously long security line the TSA agent will be able to read my facial expressions before asking me how I'm doing today!

About time they look at my face (3, Insightful)

bamwham (1211702) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893368)

For the last five years I have been doing the following when I fly: From the moment I step up to the TSA agent checking id's and boarding passes I look them in the eyes. I would say nine times out of ten they check my id against my boarding pass and initial the bp without ever looking up at me. I want them to do what I did when I ran a cash register at a liquor store, check the picture, check the face, check the picture again. I'm to scared that they'll ruin my day to ever point out to them that they never checked my face against the one on my id. About time some of them are at least being taught to look at our faces.

Neural networks (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893370)

I'd rather have people do this kind of work. At least they can explain why they think why someone is a threat. If you leave this job to a neural network, probably the best explanation will be "because the computer says so". And we all know computers are always right...

What, Me Worry? (2, Insightful)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893386)

I don't see what the concern is. I'll take a wild guess and propose that trained security types already know to look for body language and behaviour that indicate nervousness. People do this all the time when dealing with others; the only time this is not observed is when typing on the internet like I'm doing now.

Well spent money and efforts? (5, Insightful)

flajann (658201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893406)

Since January 2006, behavior-detection officers have referred about 70,000 people for secondary screening, Maccario said. Of those, about 600 to 700 were arrested on a variety of charges, including possession of drugs, weapons violations and outstanding warrants.

Out of 70,000 people that were harassed by these so-called "Airport Profilers", only about 700 of them were found to be guilty of anything at all. That's a pretty lousy false-positive rate of 99%, which means, of course, 69,300 of these people were needlessly bothered and harassed and humiliated and personally violated.

Of the 700 or so that was guilty "of something", none were found to be "terrorists".

Am I missing something here? When was the last time a "terrorist" was found by the TSA in the US? And how much money is being spent on the TSA?

How many people die in traffic accidents per year? 41,000 or so? How many people in the US die of terrorism in the US per year? Let's average over a decade to account for 911. Over the past ten years, an estimated 410,000 died on our roadways, yet only 3000 by terrorists. So nearly 137 times the number of people in the last 10 years died on the road vs. terrorism, and yet how much money is spent on traffic safety vs. Homeland (In)Security? Am I missing something here?

You wonderful hard-earned gun-extracted Tax Dollars being put to such useful and meaningful work!!!

100% fool proof plan to defeat terrorism (5, Insightful)

Sir_Real (179104) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893428)

Stop being afraid.

There it is. Can't get much simpler than that.

That sure didn't cost 500 billion dollars (a staggering number, no matter the value of the American fiat peso these days). Nor were uncounted lives wasted on the deployment of this plan, or the occupation that followed its deployment.

Now that the war is over, and that I've won it, can we fucking stop now? Can we have our airports back? Can we travel freely amongst ourselves without being scrutinized by the sigmoid wielding high school dropouts? Can we speak freely about liberty and freedom of speech without being branded as 9/11 accomplices?

Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?

Facebook shows it's face (1)

dalleboy (539331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893456)

So this it the real purpose of Facebook?

Yeah, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21893482)

I've been detained at a US airport for over an hour once. Got searched, yelled at, missed my flight, got searched again. Subsequent travels I've been very nervous. Sweating, shaky, the works. So I can't say I'm very happy with these developments.

Having married an American makes matters easier, though. At least last time I got through border checkpoint fairly easy.

Captcha : Stress. How appropriate.

1 in 100, how to measure success (2, Interesting)

tommeke100 (755660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21893500)

so, the article says 70,000 ppl got screened due to being suspicious, of which 700 ppl had drugs or something else on them (or where criminals, ...).
That means, out of 100 ppl they pinpoint with their special training, only 1% really is guilty of something, meaning they harassed 99% of the rest.

I think they should compare their results with just checking 100 ppl at random. Because a 1% success rate in my opinion in pretty weak.
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