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article imageOrwellian Airport Security and Brain-fingerprinting Technology

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By Barbara Sowell     Dec 3, 2008 in Technology
Airport security may soon shift from analyzing the physical content on our person or in our bags to analyzing the immaterial content of our intentions and emotions. Eventually only very happy passengers will be allowed to fly.
According to CNN.com an Israeli-based security company, ATHENA GS3, along with other Israeli-based security companies are developing detection systems that pick up signs of emotional strain.
Omer Laviv, CEO of ATHENA GS3, is looking for a paradigm shift in the way security is done.
"This 'brain-fingerprinting,' or technology which checks for behavioral intent, is much more developed than we think."
WeCU Technologies is using a combination of infra-red technology, remote sensors, and flashing subliminal images which should detect a person’s stress reactions by reading body temperature and respiration, “signals a terrorist unwittingly emits before he plans to commit an attack.”
Proponents of these new brain-fingerprinting technologies say that they will be speedier for passengers, they are less expensive that other security methods, and they are more effective than profiling because they don’t discriminate by race and religion.
Proponents are looking for non-intrusive security options and say that once these technologies are in place, “a passenger may pass through a security screening without realizing it.”
According to CNN, WeCU Technologies received grants from the Transportation Security Administration within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The hope is to discover internal terroristic threats from airline employees.
For example, passengers could use an automated check-in system or gaze at a screen with departures information without realizing they've just been exposed to the words "Islamic jihad" written in Arabic.
These stimuli, explains Givon, will intrinsically elicit some sort of biometric response -- whether the passenger knows it or not -- that can be picked up by WeCU's strategically placed sensors.
Behavioral intentions supposedly can be determined by analyzing the steps a person takes. A passenger could be walking around the airport terminal and not even know that “he has stepped on a "smart carpet" filled with hidden biometric sensors.”
A similar WeCU option is the “smart seat” which provides emotional details about your airport sitting behaviors.
CNN also reports that Nemesysco, another Israeli-based technology company, is working on LVA, or Layered Voice Analysis technology that picks up verbal threat cues from a passenger. It too, is an emotion detector.
Nemesysco's devices use a series of patented signal-processing algorithms that can differentiate between a "normal" voice and a"'stressed" voice.
Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport is already using a version of the Nemesyco Layered Voice Analysis system “to target criminals and drug traffickers.”
Layered Voice Analysis is limited by an inability to trace the voice patterns of persons with speech impediments.
Proponents say that our efforts should be put towards identifying the intentions of passengers rather than looking for “each and every threat agent.”
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