• United States



by Dave Gradijan

Airport Biometrics Can Determine Hostile Intent

Aug 15, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

A biometric device that analyzes blood pressure, pulse and sweat levels with special software is being tested to determine if it can truly diagnose a passenger’s “hostile intent,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Developed by Israeli company Suspect Detection Systems, the system is part of an effort by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to take more of the guesswork out of passenger screening processes. According to the Journal, the screening system uses algorithms, artificial-intelligence software and polygraph principles.

While the TSA and Suspect Detection Systems are currently tight-lipped about the trial going on at airport checkpoints in Knoxville, Tenn., this summer, the Journal reports that the system is generally designed to measure physical responses to hot-button questions like, “Are you planning to immigrate illegally?” or “Are you smuggling drugs?”

According to Shabtai Shoval, chief executive of Suspect Detection Systems, the system does not catch specific lies, but looks for patterns of behavior indicating something all terrorists have: the fear of being caught.

According to the article, the test signals that many governments are testing new ways to combat terrorism before it happens, and the importance on identifying dangerous passengers.

Experts say the fledgling tecnology enhances, but doesn’t replace, existing detection machines and procedures.

“You can’t replicate the Israeli system exactly, but if you can incorporate its philosophy, this technology can be one element of a better solution,” Doron Bergerbest-Eilon, chief executive of Asero Worldwide consulting firm and a former senior official in Israel’s security service, told the Journal.

The Journal reports the TSA has typically relied more on people than technology to detect suspicious behavior, and a small program, Screening Passengers by Observation Technique, or SPOT, is using screening officers to watch for questionable passengers. The program has been very successful in stopping drug smugglers, those with fake IDs and other crimes, but not terrorist acts.

Compiled by Paul Kerstein

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