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New methods surfacing to rat out hostiles at airports

Darren Murph
08.15.06
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It seems that flying the not-so-friendly skies is becoming quite a hassle these days, as airport security is getting beefed up even more to account for the recent scare in the UK. Having to suffer through countless checkpoints as if you're guilty until proven innocent definitely flies against what we freebirds are used to, but apparently that's the price you pay if you want some sense of security while cruising the friendly skies. One company is trying to take lemons and make lemonade by offering up sophisticated filtering and detection systems that can supposedly distinguish a highly explosive Pantene bottle from your average (i.e. non-destructive) bottle of shampoo, while another outfit is lobbying to get its "intention analyzer" booth installed in commercial airports. Guardian Technologies is in talks with the TSA to get its PinPoint imaging software integrated into airport X-ray machines, which can reportedly analyze the density of liquids and determine the difference between "organic and explosive" substances (The timing here is somewhat intriguing, eh? Reminds us of how Parallels came hot on the heels of Boot Camp). The software transforms its density measurements into colorized images which provide an easy visual for spotting harmful materials, even through innocent-looking containers. Meanwhile, Suspect Detection Systems, Ltd. is also in cahoots with the TSA as it looks to install a number of "booths" in airports to rat out potential felons; any suspicious individual could be asked to answer a series of on-screen questions (such as "are you smuggling drugs?") while placing their hand on a biometric scanner within the booth -- the built-in algorithms analyze the heart rate, blood pressure, sweat quantity, etc. (think snazzy polygraph) to determine if the subject truly has an ill will or not. The Israeli-based company expects the $200,000 machine to accurately select "90 percent of potential saboteurs," while inconveniencing "only" 4 percent of non-thretening travelers. We're not sure which is more disturbing about this scenario: the fact that one in ten cool and collected terrorists can slip through undetected, or that millions of innocent travelers will be scrutinized for nothing. Regardless, with hijackings and terrorism becoming a seemingly growing threat, we can probably expect that these off-the-wall security measures will impact some of us just trying to catch a last minute flight, but aside from the impending aggravation, we're all better off safe than sorry.

Read- Interrogation booth [subscription required, via Boing Boing]
Read- PinPoint imaging [Via The Inquirer]

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