[LINK] Airport security

Stilgherrian stil at stilgherrian.com
Thu Jan 21 16:18:17 AEDT 2010

On 21/01/2010, at 2:25 PM, Jon Seymour wrote:
> 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?

And even if it can detect or predict an "unusual" act, a system like this automatically equates "unusual" with "dangerous" and will inevitably be used to harass anyone who is "unusual"... to make non-conformity a quasi-crime.

Especially at an airport, there's any number of reasons someone might be stressed, furtive or actin "unusually". Suffering an anxiety disorder or otherwise mentally ill. Fear of flying. Nervous at meeting  long-lost relative. Culture shock. Frightened of these terrorists we keep hearing about.

There's a Norwegian study somewhere -- I can't be bothered looking just not -- that tracked how surveillance camera operators chose their targets. They tended to track profile on the basis of "unusual" -- dressed differently or poorly, wearing "alternative" clothes. Or getting a close-up of attractive women.



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