Thursday, January 3, 2008

Emotional Profiling

Seattle PI has an interesting article on the TSA entitled: Airport Profilers: They're Watching Your Expressions. Frankly this is yet another TSA program that just flat out scares me. It is giving a huge amount of power to individuals with no true way to verify their opinions. It's subjective and emotionalism, and scary to me.

Consider this quote:
But a central task is to recognize microfacial expressions -- a flash of feelings that in a fraction of a second reflects emotions such as fear, anger, surprise or contempt, said Carl Maccario, who helped start the program for TSA.
Basically, if you have a serious hate on concerning authority figures, guess what, if you fly, you make get a strip search.

Yet, if that wasn't scary enough, the fact that it's spreading should scare you. Additionally, one must question why such a program is spreading. After all, here's some statistics from it:
Since January 2006, behavior-detection officers have referred about 70,000 people for secondary screening, Maccario said. Of those, about 600 to 700 were arrested on a variety of charges, including possession of drugs, weapons violations and outstanding warrants.
One percent. Out of the 70,000 people inconvenienced by this emotionalism, less than 1% have been arrested. Additionally, those arrests were due to drug possession, weapons violations and outstanding warrants, which would have most likely been caught via normal operational security. So not only are the numbers on record a 1% success rate, but that is inflated by not removing those from the numbers who would most likely have been caught anyways.

In, parting, I'd like to leave you a passage from a classic work of literature.

It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself -- anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.

-- 1984 by George Orwell

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