Friday, December 5, 2008

The future looks edgy.


There is a new security scare at India's airport. Maybe airports everywhere have been on heightened alert after that shooting spree in Mumbai.
But how secure are airports around the globe?
Is it possible today to hijack an aircraft using only five able-bodied passengers who are well trained in Kung Fu fighting?
Yes, highly probable, as there is no technology in place in airports to detect a threat like that.
Wait, not anymore...
I just stumble in the internet that a new Israeli-based technology company has developed detection systems that will pick up signs of emotional strain.
They say it's like a psychological red flag that can detect when a passenger has an intention to commit an act of terror.
(Gasping..., machines can read minds now!?)
They claim too that it is speedier and less intrusive than metal detectors. And that these systems may eventually restore some efficiency to the airplane boarding process.
How does it work?
Oh simple. They say that once these technologies are in place, a passenger may pass through a security screening without realizing it. For example, passengers could use an automated check-in system or gaze at a screen with departures information without realizing they've just been exposed.
Another option could be a "smart seat," or cushion full of hidden biometric sensors that could provide a more detailed read on someone sitting in an airport waiting area.
(Writing on post-it note: should learn how to hold gas, while sitting in an airport lounge).
While the technology sound like something from a James Bond flick the security people who invented it says that passengers will not find the techniques intrusive.

Guys, anything that pokes into our minds and more than sniff our gases is always perceived intrusive, duh!

6 comments:

Sid Brechin said...

To be honest changes in aircraft design since 911 have made it so no one can get to the cockpit or out of it once the plane has taken off now. The cockpit has become like a bank vault. However banks have been robbed.

Also air marshalls on planes are now common. Martial arts work great and I have a problem with the idea of a single air marshall two in my mind would be minimum and three best and just my way of thinking but one should be a woman. People who think like terrorists don't percieve females as threats. To me that puts them at a strategic disadvantage.

for those who don't know the guns air marshalls use are normal but the rounds ( bullets ) are very different. They are made of hundreds of tiny round pieces of glass normally red ( probably for psychological reasons ) in a suspension of liguid teflon. They will almost certainly kill who ever they hit even if only a .22 round but will not go through a bulkhead ( wall of the plane ) even if the round is a 44 Magnum. I have only seen these rounds once and that was at a gun show in Detroit. ( that shouldn't surprise anyone ) There they were being marketed for homeowners who were concerned about burglars but had children in other rooms. They won't go through walls either.
I imagine if security concerns grow other measures will come into use. Things we have in the past only seen on programs like star trek. Remember how if a section of the plane is taken a knockout gas ( they call it anethsetacine gas ) is dispersed on the Captains order. With minor advance in Medical technology something like that could be a contact drug. Or it works on contact with skin doesn't need to be inhaled.

As for identifying intent by minor signs. Spies, good police, good combat soldiers have been subconciously doing that forever. Computer facial recognition software can identify someone even in wig fake beard, coloured contacts and makeup. Maybe enough info being monitored will let them tell those with evil intent ( I'm sounding like a comic book ) from those terrified of flying.
To be honest I never objected to inconvience in the interest of safety. Simplest example is a seat belt. I always use a harness if I mountain climb and wear a helmet. There some places where extra security measures only make sense. Like no smoking or don't even take cigarettes into an area where explosive gas is present.
With terror becoming a weapon of choice for some I think I could tolerate longer waits and more stringent checks. Heck my Grandparents took weeks to cross the ocean to get here. I could go around the world in about a day.
I should be thankful not complaining.
And maybe when we do get stopped and checked for any security reason we should say thank you for trying to make my life safer instead of you delayed me 5 minutes.
Just my point of view.

amna said...

Airports checks are very thorough now everywhere and supposedly safe. There was only once when I felt so scared at the aircraft not trusting the mechanical capability of that Jet. We were bound to Marlyland in the midst of thunderstorm where most of the flights were cancelled. I can hear lots of crackings in the plane and my husband told me calmly that maybe there are some parts of the plane that fell down. That was the first and last that I travelled on that economy jet. I was not sure if we would be able to arrive in our destination as I can see all the passengers faces were also horrified.

Anyway,after 911 I travelled again in a turmoil Islamic Country from West but chose their aircraft with its own people on it and i felt safe of doing so. But i avoided going to famous Hotels where white folks (foreigners) were hanging out. And I was at peace mixing in with the population wearing their clothing and hijab. I passed by at the US embassy down there and I thought it was the country's military base , it look like it is for security reasons. When its your time it will come in a blink but if you can take precaution and stay safe as possible why not do so..

amna said...

Before 911, Airport checks was so lapse that it only concern for illegal entries. Anybody who had been picked for interrogation cried out for foul and racial profiling, it was a one time amusement for me to watch and listen when I was on KLM flight from Islamabad to Amsterdam being the only non- Hindu/Pakistan origen, I was spared from interrogation and stepped aside listening to the stupid questions they asked to the passengers just for the sake of intimidating them. Now its scary and nerve wrecking to pass by at the security check coz you don't know anymore what to expect..I almost had a heart attack once, detained from London because my in-law had put herbal pain killer balm on my hand carry without telling me.. for a while, I thought I had dangerous subtance and that was the end of me...after lenghty of questionings and a series of testings I was cleared. But the way they asked questions was so frightening. Since then I no longer enjoy going to the airport.

amna said...

erratum..origin missplelled above.

Hello Odette, You really impressed me, you never ran out of new ideas. Keep that smart brain of yours cracking. I am a net surfer nerd and your blogs became a part of my surfing...actually there are numerous of you guys that I am following. Really very interesting blogs.

amna said...

ha ha ha, don't know what's going on with my brain tonight..the misspelled is again wrong..aaahhh one of these dreadful time..by the way how's Phils. now with this looming economy?

blue_butterfly said...

oh, its just typo error, amna. it happens to me a lot too.
well if you have read my article "a different twist to an old story", that somehow sums up the real scenarion here - life is getting tougher.
but you know how filipinos are, always finding means to survive through the trying times.

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