Next time you go to the airport, there may be more eyes on you than you notice.They're already at a dozen airports, and there will be 500 officers by the end of next year. Watching your face. Watching your body. But enough about my fantasies.
Specially trained security personnel are watching body language and facial cues of passengers for signs of bad intentions. The watcher could be the attendant who hands you the tray for your laptop or the one standing behind the ticket-checker. Or the one next to the curbside baggage attendant.They're called Behavior Detection Officers, and they're part of several recent security upgrades...
Behavior detection officers work in pairs. Typically, one officer sizes up passengers openly while the other seems to be performing a routine security duty. A passenger who arouses suspicion, whether by micro-expressions, social interaction or body language gets subtle but more serious scrutiny.Got that? Micro-expressions are cause for alarm. A mere flicker. I can see the signs now: "Poker faces advised beyond this point."
The Department of Homeland Security hopes to dramatically enhance such security practices.Yikes--there's that "enhance" word again. Remember "enhanced interrogations"? Torture much?
Not that they ever believed in science before this, but you know, if the fear factor fits...
Jay M. Cohen, undersecretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology, said in May that he wants to automate passenger screening by using videocams and computers to measure and analyze heart rate, respiration, body temperature and verbal responses as well as facial micro-expressions.Homeland Security is seeking proposals from scientists to develop such technology.
It faces high hurdles, however. Different cultures express themselves differently. Expressions and body language are easy to misread, and no one's catalogued them all. [...] Finally, the extensive data-gathering of passengers' personal information will raise civil-liberties concerns.Nooooo, really? Civil liberties? Like they ever counted. And about those different cultures, would that lead to "blink profiling" or "twitch discrimination"? What if you're Middle Eastern with a poker face, but American with a nervous cough? What a challenge, huh? Whew! I don't envy them Face Cops!
In Cohen's PowerPoint slide accompanying his aviation industry presentation was this slogan: "Every truly great accomplishment is at first impossible."Now there's a guy with a dream.