A Department of Homeland Security program that tries to detect air passengers who are “up to no good” is raising privacy concerns, says a CNN report which aired Tuesday.
CNN’s Jeanne Meserve described DHS’s Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) as “marrying a lot of existing technology, some of it medical,” to measure breathing, heart rate, blinking, fidgeting, and other bodily functions of passengers at airports.
The idea is essentially to create a remote lie detector, where sensors placed at airport security screening areas would be able to monitor a passenger’s physical reaction to questions being asked by screeners.
Critics have likened the concept to the “Department of Pre-Crime” in the 2001 film Minority Report, which describes a future where persons are caught and convicted of crimes before they occur.
Originally entitled Project Hostile Intent, the program was revealed by the science magazine NewScientist in 2007. According to a report at the time in the UK’s Guardian, “the new devices are expected to be trialled at a handful of airports, borders and ports of entry by 2012.”
As of last year, the program was “running at about 78 percent accuracy on mal-intent detection, and 80 percent on deception,” according to DHS science spokesman John Verrico.
The Guardian reported in 2007:
The plans describe how systems based on video cameras, laserlight, infra-red, audio recordings and eye tracking technology are expected to scour crowds looking for unusual behaviour, with the aim of identifying people who should be approached and quizzed by security staff, New Scientist magazine reports.
The project hopes to advance a security system already employed by the US transportation security administration that monitors people for unintentional facial twitches, called “micro-expressions”, that can suggest someone is lying or trying to conceal information.
“Questions remain, however, as to how secure the system is. The machines could reveal health conditions like heart murmurs and breathing problems as well as stress levels – which would be an invasion of privacy,” NewScientist reported last year.
“It is an invasion of privacy,” Jay Stanley, director of public education for the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Program, told CNN. “Nobody has the right to look at my intimate bodily functions, my heart rate, my breathing, from afar.”
And, as Meserve noted, “some experts are doubtful the system can distinguish between potential terrorists and people stressed for other reasons, like a late flight.”
“There’s not much science here,” said Stephen Fienberg, professor of statistics and social science at Carnegie Mellon University. “In fact, there may be no science here. And I’m really worried that we’re going to carried away by the hype, and there’s just nothing here. The emperor may have no clothes.”
This video is from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Oct. 6, 2009.
‘We lost New Mexico to Mexico’: Internet breaks into hysterics over Trump wanting to build border wall on Colorado
The president of the United States indicated he accidentally forgot where the state of Colorado was during his speech to an energy conference of fracking companies Wednesday.
Trump told the audience he was building a "wall" in Colorado, which is the state just north of New Mexico. If Trump was referring to his U.S.-Mexico border wall, it's the southern New Mexico border on which he intends to build the wall.
It prompted many to wonder if the president whipped out his fact-changing Sharpie yet again.
Giuliani henchmen caught on tape doing statewide tour for Indiana Republicans during 2018 election
New images of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman with prominent Republicans emerged on Wednesday.
"Two associates of Rudy Giuliani who are accused of illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. campaigns attended an Indiana Republican event promoting U.S. Sen. Mike Braun and others just days before the 2018 election," the Indy Star reports.
"The reason remains a mystery," the newspaper noted.
House Homeland Security chairman directs sergeant at arms to ‘take action’ against Republicans who raided SCIF
On Wednesday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) sent a letter to the Congressional sergeant at arms, Paul Irving, asking him to "take action" against the gang of House Republicans who invaded the classified information facility during an impeachment hearing.
"This unprecedented breach of security raises serious concerns for Committee Chairmen, including me, responsible for maintaining SCIFs," wrote Thompson. "As such, I am requesting you take action with respect to the Members involved in the breach. More broadly, I urge you to take House-wide action to remind all Members about the dangers of such reckless action and the potential national security risks of such behavior."