ASSOCIATED PRESS - By Michael Tarm - January 8, 2010
CHICAGO - [...] [S]ystems that aim to get inside an evildoer's head are among the proposals floated by security experts thinking beyond the X-ray machines and metal detectors used on millions of passengers and bags each year. ...
The ideas that have been offered by security experts for staying one step ahead include highly sophisticated sensors, more intensive interrogations of travelers by screeners trained in human behavior, and a lifting of the U.S. prohibitions against profiling.
Some of the more unusual ideas are already being tested. Some aren't being given any serious consideration. Many raise troubling questions about civil liberties. All are costly. ...
Here's a look at some of the ideas that could shape the future of airline security:
The aim of one company that blends high technology and behavioral psychology is hinted at in its name, WeCU - as in "We See You."
The system that Israeli-based WeCU Technologies has devised and is testing in Israel projects images onto airport screens, such as symbols associated with a certain terrorist group or some other image only a would-be terrorist would recognize, said company CEO Ehud Givon.
The logic is that people can't help reacting, even if only subtly, to familiar images that suddenly appear in unfamiliar places. If you strolled through an airport and saw a picture of your mother, Givon explained, you couldn't help but respond.
The reaction could be a darting of the eyes, an increased heartbeat, a nervous twitch or faster breathing, he said.
The WeCU system would use humans to do some of the observing but would rely mostly on hidden cameras or sensors that can detect a slight rise in body temperature and heart rate. Far more sensitive devices under development that can take such measurements from a distance would be incorporated later.
If the sensors picked up a suspicious reaction, the traveler could be pulled out of line for further screening.
"One by one, you can screen out from the flow of people those with specific malicious intent," Givon said.
Some critics have expressed horror at the approach, calling it Orwellian and akin to "brain fingerprinting."
For civil libertarians, attempting to read a person's thoughts comes uncomfortably close to the future world depicted in the movie "Minority Report," where a policeman played by Tom Cruise targets people for "pre-crimes," or merely thinking about breaking the law.
One system being studied by Homeland Security is called the Future Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST, and works like a souped-up polygraph.
It would subject people pulled aside for additional screening to a battery of tests, including scans of facial movements and pupil dilation, for signs of deception. Small platforms similar to the balancing boards used in the Nintendo Wii would help detect fidgeting.
At a public demonstration of the system in Boston last year, project manager Robert Burns explained that people who harbor ill will display involuntary physiological reactions that others - such as those who are stressed out for ordinary reasons, such as being late for a plane - don't. ...
See Promotional Video for FAST
"FAST" Coming to an Airport near YOU! - Future Attribute Screening Technology: The Machine That Reads Minds!
THE ISRAELI MODEL
Some say the U.S. should take a page from Israel's book on security.
At Israeli airports, widely considered the most secure in the world, travelers are subjected to probing personal questions as screeners look them straight in the eye for signs of deception. Searches are meticulous, with screeners often scrutinizing every item in a bag, unfolding socks, squeezing toothpaste and flipping through books.
"All must look to Israel and learn from them. This is not a post-911 thing for them. They've been doing this since 1956," said Michael Goldberg, president of New York-based IDO Security Inc., which developed a device that can scan shoes while they are still on people's feet.
Israel also employs profiling: At Ben-Gurion Airport, Jewish Israelis typically pass through smoothly, while others may be taken aside for closer interrogation or even strip searches. Another distinquishing feature of Israeli airports is that they rely on concentric security rings that start miles from terminal buildings.
Rafi Ron, the former security director at Israel's famously tight Ben Gurion International Airport who now is a consultant for Boston's Logan International Airport, says U.S. airports also need to be careful not to overcommit to securing passenger entry points at airports, forgetting about the rest of the field.
"Don't invest all your efforts on the front door and leave the back door open," said Ron.
While many experts agree the United States could adopt some Israeli methods, few believe the overall model would work here, in part because of the sheer number of U.S. airports - more than 400, versus half a dozen in Israel.
Also, the painstaking searches and interrogations would create delays that could bring U.S. air traffic to a standstill. And many Americans would find the often intrusive and intimidating Israeli approach repugnant.
Some argue that policies against profiling undermine security.
Baum, who is also managing director of Green Light Limited, a London-based aviation security company, agrees profiling based on race and religion is counterproductive and should be avoided. But he argues that a reluctance to distinguish travelers on other grounds - such as their general appearance or their mannerisms - is not only foolhardy but dangerous.
"When you see a typical family - dressed like a family, acts like a family, interacts with each other like a family ... when their passport details match - then let's get them through," he said. "Stop wasting time that would be much better spent screening the people that we've get more concerns about." ...
Scrutinizing 80-year-old grandmothers or students because they might be carrying school scissors can defy common sense, Baum said. ...
Edited :: See Original Report Here
Airports Could Get Mind-Reading Scanners
LIVE SCIENCE.com [Tech Media Network] - By Bill Christensen, Technovelgy.com - January 28, 2010
WeCU Technologies is building a mind-reading scanner that can tell if a given traveler is a potential danger - without the subject's knowledge. WeCU Technologies (pronounced "we see you") is creating a system that would essentially turn the public spaces in airports into vast screening grounds:.
"The system ... projects images onto airport screens, such as symbols associated with a certain terrorist group or some other image only a would-be terrorist would recognize, company CEO Ehud Givon said.
"The logic is that people can't help reacting, even if only subtly, to familiar images that suddenly appear in unfamiliar places. If you strolled through an airport and saw a picture of your mother, Givon explained, you couldn't help but respond.
"The reaction could be a darting of the eyes, an increased heartbeat, a nervous twitch or faster breathing, he said. The WeCU system would use humans to do some of the observing but would rely mostly on hidden cameras or covert biometric sensors that can detect a slight rise in body temperature and heart rate," as reported in Raw Story.
Science fiction writers have been playing with the idea of mind-reading machines for a long time. For example, you may recall the Veridicator from H. Beam Piper's 1962 novel Little Fuzzy:
"There was a bright conical helmet on his head, and electrodes had been clamped to various portions of his anatomy. On the wall behind him was a circular screen which ought to have been a calm turquoise blue, but which was flickering from dark blue through violet to mauve. That was simple nervous tension and guilt and anger at the humiliation of being subjected to veridicated interrogation. " ...
Edited :: See Original Report Here
AP writers Glen Johnson in Boston and Josef Federman in Jerusalem also contributed to this report.
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