European airlines test spycams in every seat that "detect terrorism" in your facial expressions

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114 Responses to “European airlines test spycams in every seat that "detect terrorism" in your facial expressions”

  1. danegeld says:

    wait, this is at Reading University?

    It goes like this: Some people are doing some software image recognition work, and it’s probably fun and interesting as a sotware engineering / computer science problem of how you actually build such a system, assuming it had a legitimate use.

    But: They need to explain why it’s relevant to the comparative ignoramuses who hand out research funding, using contemporary themes of the day.

    Hence: you get some bull-crap justification about how it’ll be useful to spy on terrorists if you can convince them to front of your cameras, which might happen in an aeroplane.

    Hopefully there is some secondary, legitimate use for this kind of technology, like inspecting components on a conveyor belt in a factory?? and 90% of the engineering challenges are identical between the two problems, so when our current fascination with all things terrrrrrist wears off, they’ll be able to spin it out into a legitimate business.

  2. Tenn says:

    they are if you own a can of “Peanut Brittle”

    R.I.P. my monitor.

  3. Antiglobalism says:

    The globalist terror machine continues. We lack consensus and therefore we hunt down any dissidents to our neurotic system.

  4. ankh says:

    Oh, sorry, the system was actually focusing on a reflection in your husband’s eyeglasses of the movie you were watching, TerrorTerminatorXV, and when Mr. Schwarzenbronner’s face came into focus it hit its limit and tased him.

    The automatic seat-taser will wear off soon, if we can just get the automatic reset feature disconn…
    ZAP!

  5. arkizzle says:

    Is that your suggestion Tenn? It’s a bit wordy huh? :p

    A: Hey! Wanna pass time on this flight by playing “Full-Cavity Searches Are Rarely Fun”?
    B: Well, I’ve got a clean record and a latent penchant for getting my ass ripped! Game on!

  6. Tenn says:

    Ha, Ark! So it is, so it is.

    I might be more amenable to the game if the TSA would be interested in hiring some attractive staff.

  7. arkizzle says:

    A point very well taken.

  8. Rotwang says:

    Suppose I’m just seized with insane anger at the shoddy way I’m being treated…could this expression be mistaken for terrorism?

  9. arkizzle says:

    I think we have a winner though, Cavity Search® it is!

    It can apply to any game designed to red-flag yourself to the TSA (or local enforcer) where the object is to not get caught and Cavity Searched!

    More points for more daring challenges.

  10. arkizzle says:

    #35 Seer: Yeh, technically accurate, but I was hoping for something a little more catchy.. (or fun)

    #37 Ornith, I believe Muslims also wear caps, beanies and sometimes (those clever blending-in-bastards) no hat at all! How will we cope?

  11. Tenn says:

    Sounds good to me, Arkizzle. Nearest time I’m flying is in December, though, so I won’t have opportunity to participate for a while.

    BUT, I am definitely going to have plenty of ‘local enforcement’ challenges up ahead, starting with the standard photography bracket.

  12. Bottlekid says:

    Some more false positives:

    I’ve just had the fish entree..

    I’ve been sitting on the tarmac for 3 hours..

    etc, etc, etc

  13. Xopher says:

    As I said when someone typoed “I am prostate before you, adjust my back” I have adjusted many a prostate in my time!

  14. Tenn says:

    Xopher, if that’s your application for the TSA, I’m willing to send it on!

  15. minTphresh says:

    me next! i could use a little adjustin’…if u know what i mean!

  16. Ernst Gruengast says:

    “standing near the cockpit for long periods of time, and other predetermined indicators that suggest a developing threat”

    particularly if have an agitated look on your face, like for instance if you’re dying for a pee, the toilet’s engaged, and you’re waiting next to the cockpit so as not to miss your chance.

    Full bladdered false positives. LOL.

  17. arkizzle says:

    ok people, we’re decending.

    ..wait, I wasn’t even going for innuendo.. God damnit!
    Like I’ve quipped before; it just writes itself. Wait, is innuendo self-aware? Does it have a hand in it’s own propagation? Is it trying to take our freedomz?

  18. Tenn says:

    Innuendo? Take our freedoms? It’s perhaps the only self-aware, self-propagating creature that wouldn’t ever dream of it. Innuendo expands opportunity, freedom, and other things besides.

  19. Argon says:

    So these guys are losing their jobs now? http://www.boingboing.net/2008/01/01/tsa-to-punish-fliers.html “TSA to punish fliers for facecrime”

  20. minTphresh says:

    oh, i get it, in-yer-end-oh. FREEKIN OW!

  21. Xopher says:

    MinTphresh, so could I…sigh.

    I remember one time when I was being wanded (oo!) and the guy (a very attractive one) told me “open your belt buckle.” I had to really work not to say “You’re the most attractive man who’s asked me to do THAT in years!”

  22. Tenn says:

    OW, OW, OW!

  23. Tenn says:

    You should have said it.

  24. minTphresh says:

    ‘wanded’, by a TSA stud, (ooh) had to ‘open up’, hmmm, i’ thinkin’: LOVE IS IN THE AIR….

  25. Takuan says:

    DearTim

    You call FUD with the rigour of a good research scientist that declares no conclusion until all the results are in and double checked. Most commendable. The problem is that with weak, squishy humans and the treacherous, roiling mass that is their society, if you wait to be sure of things, the Method of Science gets mugged by the Tsunami of the Art of Politics.

    Sometimes you have to gamble. Or lose for sure.

  26. minTphresh says:

    c’mon, with me now…OW, OW, OW!

  27. Teapunk says:

    Of course this can all be avoided if we all (women and men) take to wearing the hijab in airports and planes. You can have as many facial expressions under the black things as you like and you can even sweat and you might even be able to smuggle a 250 ml bottle of water on board.
    Unfortunately it makes you look like a terrorist rightaway, so it’s rather shindogu.

  28. minTphresh says:

    c’mon, with me now…OW, OW, OW!

  29. Xopher says:

    I agree, Arkizzle. I think we’re approaching the terminal of this conversation. Let’s take stewardship of it and pilot it back to friendlier skies. No point in making fuels of ourselves, especially when the wingers could come cruising by at any point. It’s kind of an intraytable problem, though: if we takeoff points for veering off course, our conversations will not so much fly…as plummet.

    He said sheepishly.

  30. minTphresh says:

    the fly has been swatted. bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzpthpt.

  31. complicity says:

    Tenure is pretty much non-existent in the UK. As a lecturer, James Ferryman has all the job security of a normal full-time job.

    And keeping trade secrets for competitive advantage is, um, well-known. The SAFEE project includes a number of commercial partners.

    Having cameras at each seat for this could also enable seat-to-seat video conferencing. Dump the kids in cattle class and check up on them with the camera…

  32. Xopher says:

    WCC 102: Sometimes I think people who are convinced air security is 100% incompetent never actually go through it.

    Who here do you think is saying that? I don’t see that in this thread.

  33. Xopher says:

    Oh, you still get an OW.

  34. catbeller says:

    Glad no one will think of monitoring faces for reactions to ads played on screens positioned in front of the passengers. Oops… I guess I just did. Don’t worry, no one else will think of it. I’ll just go turn up the heat on that frog I have simmering in yonder pot.

  35. arkizzle says:

    Xophe’ that was innuendo of a magnificent calibre, the agility of which I haven’t seen in some years. Touché my man, touché.

  36. Antinous says:

    It’s particularly poignant since these posts come from Cory who pretty much lives on an airplane.

  37. Angstrom says:

    I wonder how well this snake oil system will deal with passengers gurning away whilst enjoying in-flight movies or video games.

    Take a look at most gamers in action and you might assume they are about to perform some dastardly act or other.
    witness the horror
    http://mrtoledano.com/frame_videogamers.php

  38. Xopher says:

    1084: Naw, I wanted to get on my plane, not be locked in some little room while he figures out his excuse for detaining me.

  39. Xopher says:

    *bows humbly*

  40. Ryan Waddell says:

    It really is a great time to get into the snake oil business. Fear of terrorism makes it so easy. You can make up all KINDS of wild terrorism-prevention schemes, make a mint, and they don’t even have to work! Due to the statistical improbability of terrorism, you can claim it works! Reminds me of the Simpsons episode with the Bear Patrol (Homer represents the airlines/government, Lisa represents me, making millions with my bogus scheme):

    Homer Simpson: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
    Lisa Simpson: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.
    Homer: Thank you, dear.
    Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
    Homer: Oh, how does it work?
    Lisa: It doesn’t work.
    Homer: Uh-huh.
    Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock.
    Homer: Uh-huh.
    Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?
    [Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
    Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

  41. arkizzle says:

    repost!

  42. arkizzle says:

    We’re all missing the point here. Since it isn’t illegal to be fidgety or to look angry/agitated, the new game is to trip the alarm, without doing anything illegal. Brilliant!

    We could spend those long, lonely flights, searching out combinations of facial-expression/sweatiness/agitation that trip the alarm, but leave you otherwise in the clear as far as criminality.
    We will need a name for this new game.. False-Positive-Fishing or something.. anyone?

  43. Agent 86 says:

    I think airport security fits the 90/10 rule.

  44. Takuan says:

    Teddy the Fish strikes again

  45. mcor9215 says:

    more useless money going to waste, peeping toms of course i want someone to watch my every facial expression and see me picking my nose.

  46. minTphresh says:

    24 sec., getting better…no larva, tho…

  47. eustace says:

    It’s been so long since I’ve heard anything that makes me WANT to fly that I’ve forgotten what it feels like. Amtrak FTW.

  48. catbeller says:

    You know, it occurs to me that if I wanted to enter a country without the usual army of terrorist hunters marking me, I’d ship myself in a cargo container. Plenty of room, lots of space for food, air conditioning, all the comforts.

    As a bonus, in same manner as the commercial freight on those so-watched planes, the containers are never opened or inspected by anyone.

    Sucker bet: lots of people clandestinely being shipped here in cargo containers.

  49. Glossolalia Black says:

    Man, I wonder how it would read the couple of friends of mine that have Tourette’s.

  50. Tenn says:

    … I hate you and your flyswatting game both.

  51. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    What airlines?

    SAFEE is a joint aircraft tech project. Cory makes it sound like a CCTV system is being tested on real airlines, real flights, or at least real planes. It’s not. There’s no buyers, no laws, no policy, nothing putting it into place. It’s going to be demoed at a computer vision conference, right next to the guy with the feline-face-recognizing cat flap (which actually works!)

    The New Scientist was reporting on it for what it is: a technology prototype, most likely doomed to fail. They kept speculation out of it.

  52. holtt says:

    Takuan, I would dearly like to see those weak, squishy masses rise up. It’s just that using your knees as semaphore flags is pretty ineffective for communications. Probably just a matter of not using so many jerky motions and instead using smoother, more even motion.

    There’s a fine line between intuitive insight and opinionated commentary – often lying somewhere between the two conversants.

  53. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    Angstrom – that’s exactly what I thought: Screwed-up game face.

    Bottlekid – re: the fish entree, you’d have to still be upright for the system to see you. But I had the lasagna :)

    Complicity – Hasn’t one of the airlines already set up an in-plane social networking thing?

  54. Takuan says:

    locking wristband vital sign sensors with shock capability. Either that or chain the passengers to the seats with bathroom breaks under armed guard. Or maybe everyone who flys has to bring a family member hostage who isn’t released from the airport until your flight arrives on the other side.

  55. Comstock says:

    You know what makes me nervous, fidgety, and sweaty? Sitting in a tin can as it bumps through rough air six miles above the surface of the planet.

  56. gATO says:

    And even if they could detect terrorists in flight, well… how may I say this…?

    What the fuck can they do about it???

    I mean, besides sitting there in some control room, going “crikey! there are some terrorist on board flight 752… oh my…”. Are they gonna blow the plane out of the sky with all the non-terrorist passengers and crew? Could they send in some marines? Oh, I know… maybe every country could pass a law declaring that anyone near a terrorist is himself a terrorist, and then we could go on blowing civilian planes out of the sky at the most minute sign of threat :)

  57. davotoula says:

    I will make sure to practice my funny/scary faces in the general direction of the (spy[sic]) camera.

  58. holtt says:

    I was on a long haul flight a while back with a cool in-seat trivia game you played with other players. I was a little tempted to yell out “CURSE YOU 24F!” who just beat me by FIFTY POINTS in the VERY LAST ROUND! I sooooo had it sewed up.

    It made me think perhaps they could come up with a new type of low-cost fair called the “Reality Class” When you fly Reality Class you got to to participate in a short haul reality TV-type experience. Others with the same tickets could vote if you got to to to the bathroom, get fed, and of course the ultimate of being voted OFF the plane. “You’ve been chosen to get a new COOPER! DB Cooper brand parachute that is!” First class would get three votes of course, business class gets 2, and coach gets one, but it costs $5 (exact change is preferred).

  59. MarlboroTestMonkey7 says:

    Ha ha, phrenology laughs last!

  60. strathmeyer says:

    I’m so glad I haven’t flown for the past five years.

  61. HarshLanguage says:

    Real terrorists are many (bad) things, but they probably aren’t stupid. Why does this system, if it even works at all to correctly identify ANY particular behaviors, assume that obvious behaviors will be exhibited by terrorists? Sweating, running, loitering, fidgeting… these are things I’d expect terrorists to consciously avoid. (Unless the claim is that this system can somehow detect a passenger preventing other behaviors!) Are there reports from hijackings that prove otherwise?

    My guess is that this system will only be able to “catch” people who are nervous about flying, or uncomfortable in their tiny seats, or worried about missing their connections, etc. Oh, and those who really have to use the bathroom! Yes, sounds like a great technology to me.

  62. Mink says:

    What exactly would be the metric for determining “success” in this program? Catching one terrorist per year, even if there aren’t that many attacks? Or maybe flagging 3 “suspects” per flight that waste the crew’s time to investigate?

    I think we should vote to install these things in Congress & Senate. See what it turns up.

  63. cinemajay says:

    Is this because we have no faith in the facial recognition software at the security checkpoints?

  64. Agent 86 says:

    I wonder if they programed the fly’s life cycle into the game? Then I could kill them all without swatting, if I just leave my browser open for a month.

  65. Neko says:

    What I want to know is how they trained this system.

    Did they capture a terrorist, put him on a plane,sit him down in front of a webcam, and watch for that moment of evil glee?

    Or did they hire an actor and say “okay,,… now pretend you’re a terrorist and you’re wondering how quickly you can reach the cockpit door before it closes.”

    Or perhaps there was no actual training done and the whole system is connected to a VB6 application that occasionally issues alerts to make it seem useful.

    Occam’s Razor, people.

  66. Takuan says:

    just out of curiosity, how many here work in the tourism and travel industry? Hospitality? How do you feel watching the death of your livelihood unfold?

  67. SamSam says:

    This is actually a very clever idea, and all these comments about false-positives facial expressions representing “fear of flying” or “air sickness” just don’t get how sophisticated this system is. What the camera is ACTUALLY doing is detecting the presence of a TURBAN!!!

    And since the probability of a turban-wearing person being a terrorist is 100% (give or take), a 99% accurate computer will be accurate 99% of the time! You can’t argue with the math!

  68. David D. says:

    Going through airport security makes me look and feel like a terrorist.

  69. hilbertastronaut says:

    Hey Cory — don’t diss alchemy, man. Alchemists were the hackers of the Renaissance. And they never went away…

  70. Baldhead says:

    I did work in the cruise industry… and noticed the rules changing for the worse steadily. My favourite was making the crew (and just the crew) take off not only our shoes but our socks when getting off the ship in Miami. Apparently those speedboats carting in cocaine by the ton aren’t the major source of drugs in Florida, but what little can be smuggled in people’s socks definitely is.

    I firmly believe there’s a maximum IQ requirement for security work in the US

  71. Registrado says:

    #16 Teapunk: Of course this can all be avoided if we all (women and men) take to wearing the hijab

    I was thinking Guy Fawkes masks.

  72. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    Xopher – I didn’t say anyone here was. I was just trying to reassure strathmeyer that air security isn’t as universally braindead as some think it is.

  73. Takuan says:

    yeah, and that’s the really, really offensive part about it. We all know they are not drooling cretins. Which makes the insult of the incredibly offensive treatment impossible to bear. There may be a few bozos in the front lines, but the overwhelming, power-mad assault on the ordinary innocent traveling public is too much to bear. They are doing it on purpose because they can. Like sadistic prison guards playing the system to get their little jollies. No, they are not stupid. They are far, far worse. And we all know it.

  74. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    takuan – no, some of them ARE just morons: some of the time about certain things (like the robot t-shirt story)

    How is that any different from employees in any other occupation?

    One bad screener having one bad day, or dealing with one difficult traveler (which will inevitably happen more than once given the volume of air travel) is somehow turned into either the TSA is totally incompetent or corrupt.

    If the TSA can be blamed for anything, it’s of jumping to the same kind of paranoid conclusions That kind of faulty logic is why we all have to take off our shoes and throw away our water bottles. One crackpot tries a shoe bomb, so everyone gets inspected now.

  75. Takuan says:

    blame the victim much? The security side is where the aggression begins. They make the choice.

  76. Ugly Canuck says:

    (Clears throat, starts to sing:)
    I Knoooow I’ll never fly-yy-yy again….

  77. bademailname says:

    I suppose I will have to find a new flight-time hobby; looking suspiciously from one fellow passenger to the next will now get me flagged by a computer rather than the hot redhead three rows up.

  78. Anonymous says:

    The TSAs of the world will soon introduce the Phrenolotron 3000, which applies the cutting-edge science of phrenology to terrorist detection.

    The cranial bump mapping database and CharacterTect(tm) algorithms are expected to have a MUCH higher detection rate than the current Entrail-O-Trex, which — quite aside from the stink — has had only limited success in the detection of evildoers.

  79. seer says:

    Arkizzle: I submit:

    “falsiflying”.

  80. toxonix says:

    I doubt anyone in the airline business would want to have to install this thing or pay for its upkeep. This sounds like a typical ‘architecture astronaut’ building a technology solution for a made-up problem, and hyping it up like its the next killer app. It’s not likely that this system would provide useful information at all. Every coder looking for quick publicity and funding from the military/security industry finds new and fantastic ways to re-implement well known architectures involving ‘facial recognition’ and other aspects of computer vision.

  81. mcor9215 says:

    the airline industry is going to demand we all get on the plane naked and get tied down so bc everyone is a terrorist, what if someone is just pissed bc the flight is delayed or had a bad day and look angry

  82. Kibble says:

    Socks can be our friends.

    But they can also be our enemies.

  83. Patrick Dodds says:

    Wait, there’s a feline-face-recognising catflap available??

  84. Cowicide says:

    When authorities keep trying to pull this kind of shit over and over, it gets harder and harder and harder to laugh when people say they’d like to put RFID chips and crap in us to track us and turn them off so we can’t buy anything when we are “bad”.

  85. gilowyn says:

    Sounds great! I mean, just imagine all the delayed flights when thousands of people with fear of flying are being “scanned” by that camera!

    Or the wife returning home, just having heard that her husband is leaving her.

    I mean, I can come up with hundreds of situations that make you look nervous, sweaty, ill-at-ease… well, like a terrorist, basically.

  86. Anonymous says:

    So now we won’t be allowed to smile while on the plane, as well as for the passport (it confuses the software). Excellent.

  87. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    Strathmeyer – I had never had the occasion to set foot on a plane until a couple of years ago. Only domestic flights so far, but I haven’t had any problems.

    Sometimes I think people who are convinced air security is 100% incompetent never actually go through it.

  88. padster123 says:

    As if any sensible terrorist would choose an airliner as the site of his/her big event! Been there, done that.

    So – are we to expect this marvellous “terrorist detection” system to be installed in all forms of public transport? Hmm, how about private cars (such as the one that was loaded with explosives and driven into Glasgow airport a while back, to hilarious lack of effect). Oh yes, better get them installed into all public museums. Streets too. And, well, let’s go for it: all TV sets should come with a webcam, connected back to Big Brother to detect terrorist facial expressions and body language in the home. Oh yeah. Fucking idiots.

  89. anthropomorphictoast says:

    If they’re expecting “non-terrorists” to be completely at ease after waiting in line, having to take their shoes off and being generally treated like a criminal, only to board and have a camera shoved in your face until you get to do the security thing again—and god forbid if you have one or more small children—you ARE going to look like you belong in a maximum security penitentiary.

  90. easy2panic says:

    Now that terrorists know it’s there, they can cover it up, cover their face (by reading a magazine), or train their facial expressions.

  91. Hanglyman says:

    Why don’t they just skip ahead a few decades and get to the eventual outcome of all this “security”?

    Anyone carrying anything “suspicious” (such as bottles of water, handheld video games, medical equipment, nipple rings, etc.) can be immediately taken aside, tortured for information, and executed for their horrible terrorist deeds.

    Also anyone standing in front of or behind them, as they might be conspirators. Anyone not white as well, since foreigners are automatically suspicious.

    Anyone who’s wearing a shirt that says “I Am Not a Terrorist”, or anything not in English, or anything that the security personnel don’t understand, too. Anyone who says “bomb”, or anything that sounds remotely like “bomb”, or anyone who speaks directly to the security guards. Anyone who looks upset at this treatment or protests the mandatory body cavity searches- what have they got to hide? And, naturally, random people at random intervals, just to be safe.

    Assuming anyone survives to make it onto the plane (naked and shackled, with the clothes and shoes they wore to the airport burned for security reasons after being screened twice, naturally) they are then gassed to sleep for the duration of the flight. If they make any suspicious movements, expressions or noises in their sleep, a computer automatically detects it and gives them a lethal injection to prevent them from hijacking the plane.

    Hooray, safety at last. That’ll show those terrorists who’s boss.

  92. ornith says:

    @30: Nonsense. Turbans are for Sikhs. Muslim men wear those little round pillbox-type hats or the scarf with the cord around it. Headscarf wearers of either gender though? Terrists!

    @32: For that matter, if it weren’t for alchemy, we wouldn’t have chemistry. They were the first to attempt any sort of investigation of chemicals, to say nothing of inventing most of our lab equipment. And the books have the coolest illustrations/symbols – stuff that I’d have thought would be right up Cory’s alley.

  93. remmelt says:

    I just might hang my coat jacket over the seat in front of me. A well-placed sticker could do miracles as well.

    Or is that grounds for immediate terrorist branding?

  94. ornith says:

    ‘Cause, you know, no one is scared of flying/heights, or feels sick and headachy from the crying babies and the bad air quality, or is stressed out by the guy next to them who won’t shut up and let them sleep or whose fat is hanging over the armrest, or hates the idea of cameras watching their every move and is afraid of being wrongly branded a terrorist.

    And no one is scared of terrorists on their planes, either, for that matter.

    What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

  95. Baldhead says:

    I think the best comment is: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Is there a race to develop methods of creating false positives or something?

  96. holtt says:

    …demand we all get on the plane naked and get tied down…

    MCOR9215, you must be one party animal!

  97. metatim says:

    Just like Peter Donnelly points out in his TED talk, when the event you test for is rare, there’s a huge problem with false positives.

    Let’s be generous and assume the test is accurate 99.99% of the time. Let’s be even more generous and assume that one in ten million passengers is a dangerous terrorist that you need a system like this to spot.

    Under these assumptions, out of a typical ten million passengers (or the number of people that fly every two days, by some estimates), the system can be expected to give 1,000 positives, of which only one is the terrorist. In other words, when the system detects a terrorist, there’s a one in a thousand chance it is right, and a 999 in a thousand chance somebody’s life has been made much more difficult to live from that point on.

    Using it to also detect air rage is a pretty poor excuse, given that this can pretty reliably be detected, for free, by human beings. And it certainly does not justify the cost.

  98. arkizzle says:

    WeightedCompanionCube:
    Hasn’t one of the airlines already set up an in-plane social networking thing?

    That’s actually a really interesting idea. It would have to be so modded though. Maybe just the option to block certain (annoying or abusive) seat/id’s..

  99. danegeld says:

    It seems like a good gig, but unfortunately real commercial airlines can go bankrupt rather quickly if they fritter too much money on ineffective, offensive surveillance systems like this and the customers have the ability to use different airlines.

    The manufacturers should stick to selling this kind of invasive, offensive surveillance equipment to the government to stick on poles at street corners.

    The government has almost limitless coffers due to taxation, and they only get thrown out once every four to five years.

  100. holtt says:

    #24 says…

    What airlines?

    SAFEE is a joint aircraft tech project. Cory makes it sound like a CCTV system is being tested on real airlines, real flights, or at least real planes. It’s not. There’s no buyers, no laws, no policy, nothing putting it into place. It’s going to be demoed at a computer vision conference, right next to the guy with the feline-face-recognizing cat flap (which actually works!)

    The New Scientist was reporting on it for what it is: a technology prototype, most likely doomed to fail. They kept speculation out of it.

    Totally agree. FUD is alive and well as usual. RTFA and apply some thought and analysis before posting? Too busy I guess.

  101. ill lich says:

    This could be fun, tell kids there’s a camera there and have them make faces into it. Or try yourself to see if you can imitate a “terrorist” look, see if you get pulled aside. Gay men looking for some quick action can perfect the “look” and maybe get some anal probe action.

    But seriously– how far will society go before it figures out the best way to defeat terrorism is to address their grievances (they’re not evil monsters, they’re people, they were even innocent little children once). If the Palestinians were given a homeland (or even just treated like full citizens instead of 2nd class citizens) what would happen? That would “embolden” the terrorists to invade Europe? Oh please.

    We can address their grievances and make society more equitable for all, or we can slowly turn the world into a police state– which is preferable?

  102. jonathanpeterson says:

    What a great idea. It’s not like the flight crew could POSSIBLY detect people running up the aisles or hanging out by the cockpit without someone selling the airline a couple hundred large worth of webcams.

  103. Tenn says:

    I thought this was an Onion article when I read the title, seriously.

    We will need a name for this new game.. False-Positive-Fishing or something.. anyone?

    Full-cavity searches are rarely fun.

  104. VICTOR JIMENEZ says:

    The post heading is not properly written, even if the SAFEE is working on a project FOR the European Union it doesn’t means that it´s part of it.

    Remember that the EU is dropping those stupid “liquids on board” security measures. I hardly see such invasive and awkward system convincing enough to mesmerize our representatives in Brussels.

    Also, if you read about them on their website (http://www.safee.reading.ac.uk/about.htm) you can read that their short term objective is “to influence security bodies at National, European and World levels”. Not security, but influence, and thats what chills me…

  105. angryhippo says:

    I dare them to pilot this system on the Burbank or LAX flights to Las Vegas noon to 8pm on Fridays- aka the party flights. Everyone is amp’ed up, boozed up and ready to hit the ground running. Let’s see how many tense, sweaty faces there are on the flight…

  106. JTflyer says:

    Prflng s th NLY wy t lmnt mslm trrrsts frm brdng th rpln n th frst plc. Bt Gd frbd w d tht nd ffnd nyn. W hv PC’d rslvs t th pnt f nt vn bng bl t prtct rslvs.
    L L ds nt hv stpd lttl cms nbrd thr flghts nd yt hv bsltly n prblm wth mslm trrrsts n thr flghts. Why??..bcs thy hv th chns t tk cr f th prblm bfr t rchs th rpln. Thy prfl mddl strn ppl xtnsvly, nd nlss thy hv vry gd rsn fr ndng t b n tht flght, thy r lft bhnd. f n dd hppn t gt nbrd, thy wld b swftly nd lthlly dlt wth by hghly trnd nd pprprtly rmd scrty frcs wh rd ncnspcsly n vry sngl L L flght.

  107. Takuan says:

    they are if you own a can of “Peanut Brittle”

  108. Christovir says:

    As Matetim has already pointed out, the fatal flaw here (aside from the privacy issues) is neglect of the baseline statistics. The incredibly high proportion of travellers combined with the incredibly low risk of terrorism will mean virtually all positives are false positives, rendering the test useless. Must be a nice way to make a lot of money though.

  109. Hans says:

    Why don’t we just weigh each passenger; those who are heavier than a duck are witches terrorists.

  110. madjo says:

    Everyone knows that there are more terrorists in the world than ‘normal’ people. So everyone is suspect.

    You leave your privacy when you leave your own house, but better would be if there was a camera in every house, monitoring your every move, because you might well be building a bomb in there!

    If this ever becomes reality, I think I’ll become “Enemy of the State”, and I don’t mean Will Smith.

    I absolutely refuse to give up my right to privacy for some vague security theater. Because there is no way that this will actually work.

    BTW, there are more ways than just airplanes to perform terrorist attacks. (chartering a private airplane to crash into a building, hijacking trains, hijacking boats, bombing buildings, etc.)
    And does thinking of these acts also flag me as a potential terrorist?

    zOMG! Round up all of teh intarwebs users! Thei’re all tarrarists!

  111. GregLondon says:

    “The flight attendants are now turning on the sleep regulators, which help regulate your sleep.”

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