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Homeland security will let computers predict who might be a terrorist on your plane —

Homeland security will let computers predict who might be a terrorist on your plane —

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Old Dec 5, 18, 1:46 pm
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Homeland security will let computers predict who might be a terrorist on your plane —

https://theintercept.com/2018/12/03/...land-security/

YOU’RE RARELY ALLOWED to know exactly what’s keeping you safe. When you fly, you’re subject to secret rules, secret watchlists, hidden cameras, and other trappings of a plump, thriving surveillance culture. The Department of Homeland Security is now complicating the picture further by paying a private Virginia firm to build a software algorithm with the power to flag you as someone who might try to blow up the plane.
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Old Dec 5, 18, 1:56 pm
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Just another waste of taxpayer money to further establish the prejudices and systemic biases already held by the powerful fueling and feeding on fear.

These kind of approaches also have a few fundamental weaknesses, amongst which are the fact that the approach can be gamed by targets and that the approach makes it more likely to radicalize people who weren’t already radicalized. https://www.google.com/amp/s/genius....monster-lyrics

Garbage in (from government), garbage out (dumped on the public).

Last edited by GUWonder; Dec 5, 18 at 2:01 pm
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Old Dec 5, 18, 2:15 pm
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Ever see that movie "Brazil"?
​​​​​​
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Old Dec 5, 18, 2:22 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Just another waste of taxpayer money to further establish the prejudices and systemic biases already held by the powerful fueling and feeding on fear.

These kind of approaches also have a few fundamental weaknesses, amongst which are the fact that the approach can be gamed by targets and that the approach makes it more likely to radicalize people who weren’t already radicalized. https://www.google.com/amp/s/genius....monster-lyrics

Garbage in (from government), garbage out (dumped on the public).
This reminds me of Napolitano's failed proposal for a points-based database of watch-listed 'domestic extremists'. The higher your score, the closer the scrutiny.

IIRC, one of the ways you got 'points' was going to be if you ordered an airline special meal. Because you know..halal is obvious, vegan - well, there are militant vegans, although none have ever been involved in aviation security. Still, if some vegans are militant, then obviously all vegans are immediately suspect.

It was as well-intentioned - and as ripe for abuse - as the ridiculous leaked BDO 'ways to recognize a bad guy'.
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Old Dec 5, 18, 3:03 pm
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Any computer worth its salt is going to notice that the real terrorists are the ones snowing the public with all these high tech gadgets and gizmos, and endless propaganda campaigns.
Echoes of the 80's thriller : "We've traced the call...it's coming from inside the house!"
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Old Dec 5, 18, 3:42 pm
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DHS/TSA is clearly wagging the dog.
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Old Dec 5, 18, 10:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
DHS/TSA is clearly wagging the dog.
More like screwing the pooch ...
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Old Dec 6, 18, 8:15 am
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Old Dec 6, 18, 9:00 am
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If this project is carried out as well as the No Fly Lists there will be a lot of new terrorists found to be living in the world.

It's a shame that Vegas doesn't have a line for DHS Win/Fail. Of course no one would bet the Win so I guess it makes sense.
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Old Dec 6, 18, 10:26 am
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
It's a shame that Vegas doesn't have a line for DHS Win/Fail. Of course no one would bet the Win so I guess it makes sense.
That's not true. Give them high enough odds, and people in Vegas will take a flyer bet on anything.
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Old Dec 7, 18, 7:01 am
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Beyond the fundamental issue of the entire concept of pre-crime punishment (which is what no fly lists and the like are), the issue with all these watchlists and risk identification algorithms is that the there are so few actual terrorists that you end up with tons of innocent people targeted. Even if you generously assume that there are 300 people in the US actively plotting meaningful terrorists acts (and are actually have the mental wherewithal of carrying out said acts - this is a big filter that most people ignore), that means that you are looking for a literal 1 in a million.

Even if your algorithm is absolutely amazing and only has a .1% false positive rate (i.e., it is 99.9% accurate at identifying whether or not someone is a terrorist), that still means that it will falsely identify over 300,000 innocent American citizens. This is unacceptable. Even if you managed to get your algorithm to be 99.999% accurate (which is impossible - unless you get your false negative rate to be near 100% which again makes it useless), that is still a 3,000 people falsely "accused".
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Old Dec 7, 18, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by ethernal View Post
Beyond the fundamental issue of the entire concept of pre-crime punishment (which is what no fly lists and the like are), the issue with all these watchlists and risk identification algorithms is that the there are so few actual terrorists that you end up with tons of innocent people targeted. Even if you generously assume that there are 300 people in the US actively plotting meaningful terrorists acts (and are actually have the mental wherewithal of carrying out said acts - this is a big filter that most people ignore), that means that you are looking for a literal 1 in a million.

Even if your algorithm is absolutely amazing and only has a .1% false positive rate (i.e., it is 99.9% accurate at identifying whether or not someone is a terrorist), that still means that it will falsely identify over 300,000 innocent American citizens. This is unacceptable. Even if you managed to get your algorithm to be 99.999% accurate (which is impossible - unless you get your false negative rate to be near 100% which again makes it useless), that is still a 3,000 people falsely "accused".
Speaking of "pre-crimes", there's this from seven years ago:

https://www.cnet.com/news/homeland-s...ime-detection/

....DHS is betting on algorithms: it's building a "prototype screening facility" that it hopes will use factors such as ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate to "detect cues indicative of mal-intent."
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Old Dec 7, 18, 8:59 am
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I suspect many of you are too young to remember the '70's movie "Colossus: The Forbin Project". For its time the movie was entertaining, but with a chilling message of unintended consequences.

Now we have an article suggesting that an AI project is showing signs of human intuition. DeepMind's AlphaZero now showing human-like intuition in historical 'turning point' for AI . We are years away from a Forbin computer but I wonder if we aren't heading in that direction? There seems to be no controls on what government is willing to attempt in order to control/monitor the population. In public our movements are recorded on camera, in our homes many of us have electronic personal assistants which can record our actions without our knowledge, our home computer networks can be monitored by knowledgeable people, our vehicles have devices to record our movements, our cell phones track our activities and location, our DNA is being collected and compiled to a massive database. Where does it stop?

We have airports using biometric systems for boarding our flights American Airlines piloting biometric boarding at LAX, DHS moving towards a computer determination if an individual is a potential terrorist as discussed in this thread. I know these things are a far cry from a Forbin computer but how much control of our daily lives do we want to turn over to technology and government? How much private information do we want others to have (if we haven't already forfeited all of it) without being fully aware of what is being collected and how that data will be used?

I see a trend that I find very unsettling. The impact of business and government using biometrics and other personal data to monitor our movements might be going a step farther down that path than I am ready to go.
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Old Dec 7, 18, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by petaluma1 View Post
Speaking of "pre-crimes", there's this from seven years ago:

https://www.cnet.com/news/homeland-s...ime-detection/
Just another example of why DHS/CBP was so insistent on advocating on behalf of racist profiling by law enforcement when the prior Administration was wanting to try to curtail racist profiling by law enforcement and seeking input on how to go about doing that.
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Old Dec 7, 18, 4:11 pm
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It seems to me that the perfect place to test this stuff and debug it is on TSA staff. both at the checkpoints and in HQ's offices. An insider threat is potentially a much greater threat than an outside assailant.
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