Risk-based screening

Old Mar 30, 12, 7:52 pm
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Risk-based screening

Does anyone else cringe whenever Pistole blurts out, "risk-based screening initiatives"?

Take, for example, this commonly recited passage, regarding passengers under 12 [and now over 75 too] --

http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/testimony/2...portation.shtm

By streamlining procedures for these lower risk passengers through programs like these, TSA is better able to focus its finite resources on those who pose higher risks to transportation. We are continuously evaluating lessons learned from these modified procedures to determine our next steps as we consider future procedures to strengthen and streamline the security screening process for other low-risk populations.
A quick look at census data shows that the under-12 and over-75 crowd comprise around 20% of the US population. One imagines that a smaller segment of this population actually flies than other age groups, so let's say that these groups comprise 10% of passengers.

So essentially Pistole is saying, "90% of all air passengers pose a substantial risk to aviation security".

Too bad no one in the media ever calls him out on this BS, or even asks, "Well, then, who are the higher-risk passengers?".
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Old Mar 30, 12, 8:17 pm
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Originally Posted by saulblum View Post
Does anyone else cringe whenever Pistole blurts out, "risk-based screening initiatives"?

Take, for example, this commonly recited passage, regarding passengers under 12 [and now over 75 too] --

http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/testimony/2...portation.shtm



A quick look at census data shows that the under-12 and over-75 crowd comprise around 20% of the US population. One imagines that a smaller segment of this population actually flies than other age groups, so let's say that these groups comprise 10% of passengers.

So essentially Pistole is saying, "90% of all air passengers pose a substantial risk to aviation security".

Too bad no one in the media ever calls him out on this BS, or even asks, "Well, then, who are the higher-risk passengers?".
Well, his predecessor was effectively calling 100% of all air passengers terrorists. In 90 years we'll be back the reality of 0%.
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Old Mar 30, 12, 8:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Pesky Monkey View Post
Well, his predecessor was effectively calling 100% of all air passengers terrorists. In 90 years we'll be back the reality of 0%.
Something to look forward to
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Old Mar 31, 12, 8:02 am
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TSA's idea of "risk-based" screening is a gimmick that plays off gullible audiences.

The TSA already knows how many passengers have flown from airports where the TSA conducted screening for flights where there have been no terrorist incidents. The risk of there being a terrorist incident on such flights -- no thanks to the TSA -- has remained so low that to separate a "low-risk" out from a "medium-risk" or "high-risk" status is essentially nothing more than a wild gamble given the nature of the TSA and the market in general. If the TSA were witches and wizards with magical powers to mind-read in the real world, perhaps then there would be reason to have faith in this TSA ritual exercise of "risk-based" screening.
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Old Mar 31, 12, 10:14 am
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Until TSA hires and puts people on the front lines that are smart enough to actually think the risk based approach is vaporware.
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Old Mar 31, 12, 2:40 pm
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I'd ask Pistole how he defines and measures risk. I'd be very surprised if "risk" was defined as anything other than a subjective level of concern, with all of the bias and lack of verifiability inherent in such a definition.
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Old Mar 31, 12, 3:00 pm
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My suspicion on the TSA definition of risk, and risk based screening:

Low Risk: This person has been through the checkpoint 100 times in the last year. They know exactly what to do. They know what objects and materials attract attention and repeatedly successfully negotiate the gauntlet of the CP without additional scrutiny or the need to voluntarily surrender items. They provide little opportunity to catch things for which the TSA can take credit for saving aviation yet another day. They are a waste of their time and as such they are declared low risk so they can get them out of the way for the moderate risk people.

Moderate Risk: These folks fly fairly often, but not quite often enough to keep up with the myriad of rules and requirements that must be negotiated successfully for a lot of airports. They forget how early one must arrive and may be in a rush and occasionally forget and leave water bottles in their carry on. These folks provide a significant opportunity for the TSA to pad their numbers, but they are savvy enough and experienced enough to not bring really stupid things through the CP.

High Risk: What, fireworks are not allowed? How the heck do I blow up a plane with an M-80. Its just a screwdriver. Well, a big screwdriver, but screwdriver nonetheless. Hey, mama, you did remember to leave your Glock in the car didn't you? What do you mean I can't have a pocket knife? I feel naked without a pocketknife. You mean I have to pay $3 for water and can not bring my own? (In other words, the travel naive that make a lot of mistakes and add all sorts numbers to the statistical record.)

Highest Risk: Foreigners, old people in wheelchairs, anyone in diapers, nursing mothers, people who have injuries affecting mobility, people with implants, people with prostheses, and people taking pictures.
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Old Mar 31, 12, 3:06 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
TSA's idea of "risk-based" screening is a gimmick that plays off gullible audiences.
So basically: Congress. The geniuses that fund their silly endeavors, and will believe anything the Chertoff Group lobbies on the Sunday talkshow circuit.
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Old Mar 31, 12, 4:05 pm
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Congress is indeed gullible (with evidence of that in the form of Rep. Peter King, of Long Island, NY, as a supporter of the TSA), but they are only part of the gullible audience problem.

Originally Posted by InkUnderNails View Post
My suspicion on the TSA definition of risk, and risk based screening:

Low Risk: This person has been through the checkpoint 100 times in the last year. They know exactly what to do. They know what objects and materials attract attention and repeatedly successfully negotiate the gauntlet of the CP without additional scrutiny or the need to voluntarily surrender items. They provide little opportunity to catch things for which the TSA can take credit for saving aviation yet another day. They are a waste of their time and as such they are declared low risk so they can get them out of the way for the moderate risk people.

Moderate Risk: These folks fly fairly often, but not quite often enough to keep up with the myriad of rules and requirements that must be negotiated successfully for a lot of airports. They forget how early one must arrive and may be in a rush and occasionally forget and leave water bottles in their carry on. These folks provide a significant opportunity for the TSA to pad their numbers, but they are savvy enough and experienced enough to not bring really stupid things through the CP.

High Risk: What, fireworks are not allowed? How the heck do I blow up a plane with an M-80. Its just a screwdriver. Well, a big screwdriver, but screwdriver nonetheless. Hey, mama, you did remember to leave your Glock in the car didn't you? What do you mean I can't have a pocket knife? I feel naked without a pocketknife. You mean I have to pay $3 for water and can not bring my own? (In other words, the travel naive that make a lot of mistakes and add all sorts numbers to the statistical record.)

Highest Risk: Foreigners, old people in wheelchairs, anyone in diapers, nursing mothers, people who have injuries affecting mobility, people with implants, people with prostheses, and people taking pictures.
... and those in the above kind of "low risk" and some segments of the "highest risk" categories are increasingly being treated in preferential ways to those in the middle categories. It's those middle categories that help pad the TSA's numbers without creating a PR issue for the TSA that runs up a big, critical audience online and on the evening news.
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Old Mar 31, 12, 4:36 pm
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Originally Posted by InkUnderNails View Post
Low Risk: This person has been through the checkpoint 100 times in the last year.
Not in TSAWorld™. In their self induced paranoia TSA/DHS claims that there are sleeper cells everywhere, constantly "probing" the system with dry runs. Part of their "DHS Can't Find Them, So if You See Something, Snitch" mentality.

Hence one or more of those "100 flights per year" folks is the Real™ terrorist. Thus that group must be assigned Very High Risk status.

Many of the 9/11 hijackers were constantly flying around the world as they plotted. If they had patronized one airline alliance, several could have made Silver or Gold elite status and really blended in with the frequent flyers and other gate lice.

If they were FT type miles hogs, they would have gathered enough mikles for several award tickets. What if they purchased 9/11 tickets with miles? If one or ore of the 9/11 hijackers had been on an award ticket, the public outcry would be to ban such "free tickets." Now that is true terrorism.
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