[LINK] Airport security

Jon Seymour jon.seymour at gmail.com
Thu Jan 21 14:25:20 AEDT 2010

That system sounds ideal for deciding whether your targets are going  
to choose KFC or McDs when they stop to eat, but really, how is any of  
this information going to identify a person about to commit a highly  
unusual act?



On 20/01/2010, at 17:00, stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:

> Here's a glimpse of airport security in the future:
> IBM Patenting Airport Security Profiling Technology
> by By Alexander Wolfe  InformationWeek  January 19, 2010 09:06 AM
> http://www.informationweek.com/news/government/security/showArticle.jhtml?
> articleID=222301388
> A dozen little-known IBM patent applications lay out a sophisticated
> computer-analysis-based approach to airport security.
> The technology has the potential to apply profiling of passengers,  
> based
> on attributes such as age and type of clothing worn.
> One of the patents IBM is seeking even appears to go Israeli-style
> security one better, by using analysis of furtive glances in their  
> patent
> application entitled "Detecting Behavioral Deviations By Measuring Eye
> Movements.
> The objective of the technology in the passel of patent applications  
> is
> to alert officials to potential terminal and tarmac threats using a
> network of video, motion, chemical, and biometric sensors arrayed
> throughout the airport.
> The sensors feed into a grid of networked computers, which provide  
> high-
> powered processing to get results to officials in so-called real time,
> yet the systems are compact enough to be located on-site.
> The "secret sauce" in the set up is a software "inference engine,"  
> which
> crunches the data fed in by the multitude of sensors, separating the  
> high-
> risk wheat from the false-alarm chaff.
> That engine uses heuristics and rules developed by the three co- 
> inventors
> behind the patent applications--Robert Angell, Robert Friedlander and
> James Kraemer.
> "These patents are built on the inference engine, which has the  
> ability
> to calculate very large data sets in real time," Angell told me last
> Friday.
> He called me because he was surprised I had uncovered one of the  
> patents,
> which I wrote about recently in my blog post, " Obama Security Push
> Spurring Scanner Patents (IBM's Seeking One)." That post focused on  
> the
> patent application "Risk assessment in a pre/post security area  
> within an
> airport."
> Angell told me he believed the patents were under seal.
> That piqued my interest, because it indicated that this technology is
> probably more important -- in the sense of being proprietary and  
> cutting
> edge -- than I had initially realized. As well, I knew of only the one
> patent and hadn't realized that, according to Angell, there were  
> eight.
> (Since our conversation, I've uncovered 12 unique applications; the
> discrepancy might be due to the presence of duplicates--patent lawyers
> often revise and resubmit applications--or spin-offs.)
> It turns out that, in fact, the patent applications are not under  
> seal;
> that's something I don't think you can do, because the patent  
> process is
> by definition open.
> Companies which want to shield proprietary technology go the trade- 
> secret
> route, which means you keep your cutting-edge technology out of the
> public eye and hope no one will reverse-engineer it.
> However, IBM has used a perfectly legal subterfuge to make the patent
> applications difficult to track down. It didn't put its company name  
> on
> any of the applications, listing only the inventor names and that of  
> its
> law firm.
> I have now tracked down all the applications, and will go into the
> technology details, below.
> Angell also said that he's no longer with IBM. "I was laid off last  
> year
> along with thousands of other people," he told me. Angell is currently
> teaching a computer science course at a community college in Salt Lake
> City, Utah, where he lives. I was flabbergasted, wondering how Big  
> Blue
> could let go a guy like this, who obviously has heavy duty data- 
> analysis
> chops and is behind such seemingly important technology.
> Angell called me, he said, because he's concerned that the  
> technology be
> applied effectively. "If it's done right, we could do passive  
> profiling
> [and] passive detection and do it without a whole lot of fanfare," he
> said.
> This profiling of potentially dangerous passengers, as outlined in the
> applications, appears in many ways to be more neutral than the  
> profiling
> currently the subject of widespread public debate, because it's  
> software-
> based and runs off of pre-programmed rules which, in general, are
> intended to identify suspicious behavior.
> (On the other hand, this wouldn't necessarily always apply, since  
> markers
> such as a person's apparent age are listed in the patent  
> applications as
> potential data points.)
> Let's look at the patents in more detail. The profiling, off of sensor
> input, is described in patent application number 20090204695, filed  
> last
> September. It's entitled "Unique Cohort Discovery From Multimodal  
> Sensory
> Devices."
> This patent application describes the use of a large number of  
> sensors of
> all types -- chemical, biometric, etc -- around the airport  
> perimeter, so
> data can be fed into a computer for analysis to detect threats.
> Here's the relevant wording from the patent application:
> "[Data processing parses the data to form attributes.] Attributes may
> include an individual's age, make and/or model of a vehicle, color  
> of a
> hat, breed of a dog, sound of an engine, a medical diagnosis, a date  
> of
> birth, a color, item of clothing, walking, talking, running, a type of
> food eaten, an identification of an item purchased.
> An attribute that is an event may include eating, smoking, walking,
> jogging, walking a dog, carrying bags, carrying a baby, riding a  
> bicycle,
> an engine running, a baby crying, or any other event.
> Sensory data processing categorizes the events. . . For example, a  
> type
> of event may include a pace of walking, a companion of the cohort, a  
> time
> of day a cohort eats a meal, a brand of soda purchased by the  
> cohort, a
> pet purchased by the cohort, a type of medication taken by the  
> cohort, or
> any other event."
> In terms of the sensors themselves, the system uses lots of diverse  
> data-
> gatherers. From the patent application:
> "Multimodal sensors comprises at least one of a set of global  
> positioning
> satellite receivers, a set of infrared sensors, a set of  
> microphones, a
> set of motion detectors, a set of chemical sensors, a set of biometric
> sensors, a set of pressure sensors, a set of temperature sensors, a  
> set
> of metal detectors, a set of radar detectors, a set of photosensors, a
> set of seismographs, and a set of anemometers."
> Angell told me that the system can even use olfactory sensors, which
> means they'll smell the environment. The patent application also
> variously mentions license plate recognition technology, face  
> recognition
> software, and retina scanners. Data captured from video streams from
> airport cameras is also analyzed.
> How does one computer process all this data fast enough to deliver a
> threat assessment quickly enough to airport security officials?  
> Remember,
> the idea is to do the analysis in real time, as passengers are  
> streaming
> through the terminal to board their flights. For a single box, this  
> would
> be a processing challenge. However, the inventors envision using a  
> small
> grid of computers connected over a network. This'd deliver ample  
> power to
> do the real-time data crunching.
> "Computers aren't fast enough to do real-time modeling unless the
> paradigm shifts," Angell told me. "That's why this inference engine  
> is a
> pretty big deal."
> That shift is embedded in how inference engine is formulated. It uses
> rule sets, designed by Angell, Friedlander, and Kraemer, which  
> enable it
> to fairly efficiently query 5 million or 10 million data cohorts, in a
> very short period of time.
> Analyzing Eye Movements
> There is another patent application in the group which takes the  
> analysis
> of potential passenger threats to a whole 'nother level. It's
> entitled "Detecting Behavioral Deviations By Measuring Eye Movements."
> (Patent application number 2009232357, filed September 2009.)
> (Friedlander is not involved in this patent; it's Angell and Kraemer
> only.) From the filing:
> "The ocular metadata [patterns of eye movement] is analyzed. . .In
> response to the patterns of ocular movements indicating behavioral
> deviations in the member of the cohort group, the member of the cohort
> group is identified as a person of interest."
> Specifically, eye movement characteristics which are monitored and
> analyzed include: change in pupil size (dilation); direction of gaze;
> visual line of gaze (where someone is looking); and rate of  
> blinking; and
> furtive glances.
> Profiling is specifically addressed in this patent application, as
> follows:
> "The profiled past comprises data that may be used, in whole or in  
> part,
> for identifying the person, determining whether to monitor the person,
> and/or determining whether the person is a person of interest. Global
> profile data may be retrieved from a file, database, data warehouse,  
> or
> any other data storage device. Multiple storage devices and software  
> may
> also be used to store identification data 506. Some or all of the data
> may be retrieved from the point of contact device, as well. The  
> profiled
> past may comprise an imposed profile, global profile, individual  
> profile,
> and demographic profile. The profiles may be combined or layered to
> define the customer for specific promotions and marketing offers."
> However, analysis of eye movements aren't the final word in  
> indentifying
> passengers with potential ill intent. Patent application
> targets "Detecting Behavioral Deviations by Measuring Respiratory
> Patterns in Cohort Groups."
> What's your take? Let me know, by leaving a comment below or e- 
> mailing me
> directly at alex at alexwolfe.net. Follow me on  Twitter: (@awolfe58)
> Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com
> --
> Cheers,
> Stephen
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