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-   Practical Travel Safety and Security Issues (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/practical-travel-safety-security-issues-686/)
-   -   What is happening at DTW security? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/practical-travel-safety-security-issues/1433865-what-happening-dtw-security.html)

Global_Hi_Flyer Feb 1, 13 11:39 am


Originally Posted by goalie (Post 20162685)
Then it is none of their "you know what" bidness :mad:

Which is exactly the answer I gave to the three-striper at DCA who started that stuff with me when I opted out.

cptlflyer Feb 1, 13 6:51 pm


Originally Posted by RadioGirl (Post 20162958)
So I've got three reputable scientific studies; what have you got?

I'm not a security expert, so I'm not arguing one way or the other. But, observing an individual's behavior for subtile cues has been used the world over for centuries -- from law enforcement to poker.

Fly El Al, and you'll see it used to an extreme... the difference is that El Al actually racially profiles, which is against U.S. law.

Whether it actually works or not may be a matter of dispute, but that it's been relied-upon heavily, far-and-wide (and yet only in the pilot phase at TSA) sure would indicate to me that there's at least something to it beyond "TSA ineffectiveness at work".

cptlflyer Feb 1, 13 6:53 pm


Originally Posted by saulblum (Post 20163794)
My pet rock has also been relatively effective at detecting and keeping away terrorists.

You might be surprised how much horror we could avoid in this world if people actually just paid a little more attention.

jms_uk Feb 3, 13 6:27 am

Flew through DTW couple of weeks ago on DL [international>>domestic] and wasn't asked this.

cptlflyer Feb 3, 13 1:07 pm

What is happening at DTW security?
 
Again, it's a pilot program... only in BOS & DTW so far, and only at certain checkpoints. If you flew in from an international origin and went through the international reconnect checkpoint, you wouldn't be asked.

Pup7 Feb 3, 13 4:16 pm


Originally Posted by cptlflyer (Post 20169384)
I'm not a security expert, so I'm not arguing one way or the other. But, observing an individual's behavior for subtile cues has been used the world over for centuries -- from law enforcement to poker.

Fly El Al, and you'll see it used to an extreme... the difference is that El Al actually racially profiles, which is against U.S. law.

Whether it actually works or not may be a matter of dispute, but that it's been relied-upon heavily, far-and-wide (and yet only in the pilot phase at TSA) sure would indicate to me that there's at least something to it beyond "TSA ineffectiveness at work".

I think the prime argument here is not just that the scientific validity may be questionable, it's also that based upon prior encounters with TSA agents, two weeks' "specialty training" is never going to produce a reliable practitioner from that particular group. The skill seen with poker players and long-time cops, to include organizations like the FBI, has been honed with extensive training (in the case of law enforcement) and equally extensive experience. And my guess is more reliance is placed on the experience.

I would think two weeks is just long enough to make you dangerous and possibly gives you just enough knowledge to misread nervousness and irritation for guilt and deception.

saulblum Feb 3, 13 5:49 pm


Originally Posted by cptlflyer (Post 20178179)
Again, it's a pilot program... only in BOS & DTW so far, and only at certain checkpoints. If you flew in from an international origin and went through the international reconnect checkpoint, you wouldn't be asked.

So, what's the metric by which the "success" of this pilot program is measured?

saulblum Feb 3, 13 5:50 pm


Originally Posted by cptlflyer (Post 20169395)
You might be surprised how much horror we could avoid in this world if people actually just paid a little more attention.

What did I misinterpret?

saulblum Feb 3, 13 5:54 pm


Originally Posted by cptlflyer (Post 20169384)
Fly El Al, and you'll see it used to an extreme... the difference is that El Al actually racially profiles, which is against U.S. law.

I guess the El Al mind-readers must have somehow missed this guy.

I've never understood why so many people view El Al as the ideal.

RadioGirl Feb 3, 13 8:43 pm


Originally Posted by Pup7 (Post 20179192)

Originally Posted by cptlflyer (Post 20169384)
I'm not a security expert, so I'm not arguing one way or the other. But, observing an individual's behavior for subtile cues has been used the world over for centuries -- from law enforcement to poker.

Fly El Al, and you'll see it used to an extreme... the difference is that El Al actually racially profiles, which is against U.S. law.

Whether it actually works or not may be a matter of dispute, but that it's been relied-upon heavily, far-and-wide (and yet only in the pilot phase at TSA) sure would indicate to me that there's at least something to it beyond "TSA ineffectiveness at work".

I think the prime argument here is not just that the scientific validity may be questionable, it's also that based upon prior encounters with TSA agents, two weeks' "specialty training" is never going to produce a reliable practitioner from that particular group. The skill seen with poker players and long-time cops, to include organizations like the FBI, has been honed with extensive training (in the case of law enforcement) and equally extensive experience. And my guess is more reliance is placed on the experience.

I would think two weeks is just long enough to make you dangerous and possibly gives you just enough knowledge to misread nervousness and irritation for guilt and deception.

I agree. It's a long way from "some people can tell when others are lying" to "any TSA person with two weeks training can identify a terrorist by chatting with passengers in line."

Let's consider the poker example.

First, there's no doubt that a good poker player develops skill in reading signs from other players; indeed, someone who can't develop this skill will never be a great poker player. (TSA, OTOH, believes they can train anyone in 2 weeks.)

Second, the environment is controlled: the whole point of the game is to hide from the others whether you have a good or a bad hand, so everyone knows that some kind of deception is occurring, and those looking for deception are themselves trying to deceive the others. (TSA, OTOH, is working in an environment, as pointed out in the third article I referenced, where 99.99(how long have you got?)99% of passengers are not terrorists, so the chances of finding a genuine Bad Guy is vanishingly low.)

Third, the nature of deception in poker is binary: does he have a good hand or is he bluffing? TSA, OTOH, has to determine some intention to do harm in some unspecified way, with some unspecified device/material/information which may (or may not) be hidden on the passenger or in their bags or already on the airplane or...

Fourth, in a poker game the players' attention - both the observer and the observed - is focused on the game, not on the thousand other details of life. Henry isn't trying to determine whether Fred's nervousness is because he has a bad hand, or whether it's because his Fred is cheating on his wife, embezzling from his company, planning to rob a gas station, worried about his dying mother, scared of playing poker, coming down with the flu or plotting a terrorist attack. TSA, OTOH, deals with passengers facing all sorts of personal issues - good and bad - which may cause excitement, anxiety or stress: meeting a girlfriend, going to a funeral, going on a luxury vacation, leaving a bad marriage, going to a job interview, scared of flying. And they have to find the one in a billion terrorist out of all those ordinary people.

Fifth, as a poker game progresses, the players get immediate feedback about who was bluffing, and can start to relate outcomes to behavioral cues. TSA gets no such feedback, mostly because there are so very few terrorists that they've never been able to relate someone's specific behavior with "they turned out to be the Bad Guy" and partly because they deal with thousands of people, each for a minute or three, rather than spending hours at a poker table with a few other people.

You (cptlflyer, not Pup7) claim that behavior detection has been "relied-upon heavily, far-and-wide" but you can't provide evidence that it's been used with success in the casual, short-encounter, trying-to-find-a-needle-in-a-haystack way that the BDO program is.

In fact, from the GAO 2010 report (pdf):

Figure 4 shows that approximately 2 billion passengers boarded aircraft at SPOT airports from May 29, 2004, through August 31, 2008. Of these, 151,943 (less than 1/100th of 1 percent) were sent to SPOT referral screening, and of these, 14,104 (9.3 percent) were then referred to LEOs. These LEO referrals resulted in 1,083 arrests, or 7.6 percent of those referred, and less than 1 percent of all SPOT referrals (0.7 percent of 151,943).

Reason for arrest and number of people
Illegal alien - 427
Outstanding warrants - 209
Possession of fraudulent documents - 166
Other - 128
Possession of suspected drugs - 125
No reason given - 16
Undeclared currency - 8
Suspect documents - 4
When considering how many people were arrested out of the total number of passengers (or even out of the total number of people "SPOTted"), the arrest rate is probably similar to what you'd get for just randomly referring people to LE. More importantly, the arrests were for immigration status, fake ids, drugs, etc, not for terrorism. Not one.

Further, you claim that it's "only in the pilot phase at TSA". The 2010 GAO report states that the pilot program started in 2003 at BOS, expanded in 2004/5, then moved from a pilot program to full deployment at 42 airports in 2007. TSA press release from 2006 says that "The goal is to have 800 "BDOs" by the end of 2008." The GAO notes that "As of March 2010, about 3,000 BDOs utilizing SPOT were deployed at 161 of 457 TSA-regulated airports." TSA continually hides its incompetence behind "we're only a new agency"; "we just started this program"; " we haven't trained everyone yet"; "it will take us a while to get it right" but after nearly a decade, it's a little silly to call it a pilot program.

FlyingHoustonian Feb 3, 13 8:52 pm

and as an aside, what is up with the 8 for "undeclared currency"? I presume they mean CBP got someone for a FINCEN 105 violation since there is no rule or law to declare currency during any domestic travel.

I know the TSA has a history of thinking otherwise but I would be curious which law agency actually arrested those 8 people.
Is it burried in the report by any chance? I only see the table on page 44.

RadioGirl Feb 3, 13 9:35 pm


Originally Posted by FlyingHoustonian (Post 20180304)
and as an aside, what is up with the 8 for "undeclared currency"? I presume they mean CBP got someone for a FINCEN 105 violation since there is no rule or law to declare currency during any domestic travel.

I know the TSA has a history of thinking otherwise but I would be curious which law agency actually arrested those 8 people.
Is it burried in the report by any chance? I only see the table on page 44.

Well, there are two anecdotes (first and third) from TSA on page 45 that describe three undocumented aliens, two of whom had large sums of money which in one case tested positive for drugs, but it doesn't describe any charges in relation to the money.

A global search on the word "currency" only hits on page 44 and 45. Mostly the report is about..., oh, heck, it's so good, let's just quote the GAO itself :D:D :

TSA deployed SPOT nationwide before first determining whether there was a scientifically valid basis for using behavior and appearance indicators as a means for reliably identifying passengers as potential threats in airports. TSA reported that it deployed SPOT before a scientific validation of the program was completed in response to the need to address potential threats to the aviation system that would not necessarily be detected by existing layers of aviation security. TSA stated that no other large-scale U.S. or international screening program incorporating behavior- and appearance-based indicators has ever been rigorously scientifically validated. While TSA deployed SPOT on the basis of some risk-related factors, such as threat information and airport passenger volume, it did not use a comprehensive risk assessment to guide its strategy of selectively deploying SPOT to 161 of the nationís 457 TSA-regulated airports. TSA also expanded the SPOT program over the last 3 years without the benefit of a cost-benefit analysis of SPOT.
Even TSA admits it hasn't been validated and that no one has validated behavior detection for "large-scale screening." But yeah, they're "pretty sure that it works.":rolleyes::rolleyes:

Epod Feb 5, 13 10:11 am

"My cell leader ordered a face-to-face meeting of all the co-conspirators...no, um, my Grandmother is ill...no, wait, I had it right the first time, ...the cell leader thing."

SeriouslyLost Feb 5, 13 10:51 am


Originally Posted by saulblum (Post 20163794)
My pet rock has also been relatively effective at detecting and keeping away terrorists.

Hi, I'm from the TSA. Wee've read about your Scientific & Successful (tm) pet rock terror detection programme I'd like to talk to you about having your pet rock train our TSO's in terrorist detection. Would $45 million be enough to start a pilot programme for that? :(

SeriouslyLost Feb 5, 13 10:55 am


Originally Posted by cptlflyer (Post 20169395)
You might be surprised how much horror we could avoid in this world if people actually just paid a little more attention.

I find it enthralling that you somehow expect humans to not be, well, human. :rolleyes: "Solutions" that require the human race to change are not really... solutions. You might as well announce a cure for the common cold by asking everyone to Just Be Healthier.


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