‘Pre-Crime’ Screening Technology is a FAST fail

Homeland Security’s ‘Pre-Crime’ Screening Will Never Work – Alexander Furnas – The Atlantic.

The U.S. Department of Homeland security is working on a project called FAST, the Future Attribute Screening Technology, which is some crazy straight-out-of-sci-fi pre-crime detection and prevention software which may come to an airport security screening checkpoint near you someday soon. Yet again the threat of terrorism is being used to justify the introduction of super-creepy invasions of privacy, and lead us one step closer to a turn-key totalitarian state. This may sound alarmist, but in cases like this a little alarm is warranted. FAST will remotely monitor physiological and behavioral cues, like elevated heart rate, eye movement, body temperature, facial patterns, and body language, and analyze these cues algorithmically for statistical aberrance in an attempt to identify people with nefarious intentions. There are several major flaws with a program like this, any one of which should be enough to condemn attempts of this kind to the dustbin.

Tip: Boing Boing

This technology is doomed from the start because of too many false positives, for one. Somewhat like a lie detector. People get nervous and signals that are there for other reasons other than intent to blow something up. Testing showed a 70% accuracy rate, but it was not representative testing. It was done in a lab instead of the real world. I don’t see how this will pay off. It does not seem to be worth the cost. Sounds awful sciencey and too good to be true. It won’t work.

  1 comment for “‘Pre-Crime’ Screening Technology is a FAST fail

  1. April 18, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    I am so glad I quit the TSA.

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