Saturday, August 18, 2007

You know what I love?

Air travel. It's just great. There's nothing that happens in an airport that can make me frown. Why is that? Because if I look unhappy, I may be arrested.
“Specially trained security personnel” will be watching passengers for “micro-expressions” that will reveal treacherous agendas and insidious intentions at airports around the country. These agents, who may literally hold your fate in their hands have been given a lofty, Orwellian name: "Behavior Detection Officers."

TFA does a good job running down how idiotic this is, and points out one of the BDO's strategeries:
Here’s where it gets really absurd. Apparently, these Behavior Detection Officers work in pairs. One scenario is that an officer might move in to “help” a passenger retrieve their belongings after they’ve been screened. And then the officer will ask where the passenger is headed. If the passenger’s reaction sets off alarm bells in the officer’s well-trained mind, another officer will move in and detain them.

Yeah, after standing an an hour long line to get through security some stranger comes up and grabs my bag and asks where I'm going. How could you do anything but smile and answer honestly?


sideshow bob said...

Just make sure to say "thank you sir, may I have another" after your complimentary cavity search!

I might feel an eensy-teensy-weensy better about this policy if I actually thought that the qualifications for the "specially trained security personnel" were something more than a GED, a two hour training seminar, and willingness to work for minimum wage.

S.W. Anderson said...

First thing I thought of was a TV segment from a few years back showing how thieves and pickpockets were moving in on travelers in just that place, time and way. The travelers are in a hurry and distracted.

Then, I wondered about the microexpression on the face of a traveler feeling the aftereffects of gulping down a soda and airport burrito while running his luggage to a connecting flight at the far end of the Denver terminal.

Can these well-trained psychodetectives distinguish between sinister plans and plain old anxiety about being late at the gate — on top of the prospect of being trapped inside a crowded metal canister for three hours while having intense gas pains?

Smitty said...

Behavior Detection Officers. Oh no, there'll be absolutely no complete abuse and misinterpretation of fucking facial expressions here.

They took a decent concept from Israeli airports - simply paying attention to passengers - and made it one step crazy. So now we wait for the single mother trying to haul 2 or 3 5-year-old-or-less kids through an airport to get hauled in for questioning because she looks like she might be a little dangerous.

Mr Furious said...

Newsflash! Plenty of people are nervous when they fly, even if hey aren't plotting death and destruction.

Smitty said...

I can't wait until they detain half the people in La Guardia. "Get your hands off my bags, freak."

Moon Rattled said...

It's a good thing I live in Canada because in 2002 I was standing in an airport on my way to be with my terminally ill mother. I couldn't have mustered a smile that day if you'd paid me.

Has the government gone completely nuts down there?

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