10 years and $900M later, the TSA's behavioral analysis program is a debacle. Here's the US Government Accountability Office on the program: "Ten years after the development of the SPOT program, TSA cannot demonstrate the effectiveness of its behavior detection activities. Until TSA can provide scientifically validated evidence demonstrating that behavioral indicators can be used to identify passengers who may pose threat to aviation security, the agency risks funding activities [that] have not been determined to be effective."
Basically, the TSA has spent a decade and nearly a billion dollars reinventing phrenology. I feel safer already.
For the report, GAO auditors looked at the outside scientific literature, speaking to behavioral researchers and examining meta-analyses of 400 separate academic studies on unmasking liars. That literature suggests that "the ability of human observers to accurately identify deceptive behavior based on behavioral cues or indicators is the same as or slightly better than chance (54 percent)." That result holds whether or not the observer is a member of law enforcement.
It turns out that all of those signs you instinctively "know" to indicate deception usually don't. Lack of eye contact for instance simply does not correlate with deception when examined in empirical studies. Nor do increases in body movements such as tapping fingers or toes; the literature shows that people's movements actually decrease when lying. A 2008 study for the Department of Defense found that "no compelling evidence exists to support remote observation of physiological signals that may indicate fear or nervousness in an operational scenario by human observers."
TSA’s got 94 signs to ID terrorists, but they’re unproven by science [Nate Anderson/Ars Technica]
The DHS has advised some airlines that flights originating from some overseas airports will only be allowed to land in the USA if passengers are required to check any electronic device bigger than a phone (excepting medical devices) in the hold.
Former NJ Port Authority Chairman David Samson — a “staunch ally” of Chris Christie — got United to schedule an extra, largely empty Friday night flight from Newark airport to Columbia, SC, where he had his weekend place (the flight returned early Monday in time for him to go back to the office). A court […]
If the TSA thinks that you’re suspicious — or if you opt out of the “optional” full-body scanner — you get a junk-touching “secondary screening” in which the screeners “pat you down” by rubbing the backs of their hands on your genitals and other “sensitive areas” (they can be pretty rough — a screener at […]
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Maybe it’s entirely because of podcast ads, but drag-and-drop tools like Squarespace have gotten immensely popular in recent years. While it’s definitely a great tool for any non-coders who want to get a small website up and running quickly, managing content with a primarily visual interface can become a pain once you have more than […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]