For more information, go to: https://www.aclu.org/national-security/aclu-v-tsa
The TSA thinks it can spot a terrorist from our involuntary facial expressions.
As part of the TSA’s Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program, thousands of “behavior detection” officers scrutinize the behavior of travelers in airport screening areas in an attempt to identify anyone who may pose a security risk. If they identify someone exhibiting a “cluster” of behaviors from a list of over 90 expressions that the TSA associates with stress, fear, or deception, they refer that person for secondary inspection or questioning.
The SPOT program is based on junk science. A scientific advisory group that reviewed the program found that “no scientific basis exists to support the detection or inference of future behavior, including intent.” The Government Accountability Office also found that it lacked a scientific basis, and recommended that Congress curtail funding for the program.
It invites racial profiling. As one TSA officer said, “They just pull aside anyone who they don’t like the way they look — if they are black and have expensive clothes or jewelry, or if they are Hispanic.”
And if that wasn’t enough, it’s cost the government $1 billion since 2007 and is not known to have led to the identification of a single terrorist.
The ACLU and the NYCLU filed a lawsuit demanding documents relating to the program.
Music by Keith Kenniff. “Invisible Waves,” Mint Julep.