TSA Launches Mind-Reading Security Initiative

Mind reading of air travelers? That’s right – we’re in for another goofy technology created with lavish Department of Homeland Security grants to its favored high-tech companies…
…and yet another population-control experiment to foist on the submissive travelling public.
That “strip search” backscatter x-ray technology has certainly made its creators rich. The bettin’ man in me just can’t wait to see which well-connected crony capitalist makes a fortune on this latest hair-brained scheme. But the freedom-loving American in me sees yet another crazy bureaucratic initiative that needs to be strangled in its crib.
To be sure, brain-mapping technology is a real and growing field. And it is certainly based on far better science than the old Soviet-era ESP experiments. So yes, scientists are inching closer every day to creating technology that can read which parts of your brain are most active – as well as map facial expressions – to essentially read your emotional state.
This could be great news for medicine and health – between you and your doctor. But in the hands of Big Government (which already punishes peoples’ thoughts when it comes to hate-crime prosecutions), the implications of mind-reading schemes are a bit scary. A recent report in The Telegraph (UK) revealed these breakthroughs:
  • In Canada, they’ve developed a method of using brain scans to predict what physical action a person is about to do before he or she does it, something that could have many benefits to amputees, for example.
  • At the University of Utah, they’re matching brain signals to actual words, which could benefit someone who has lost the ability to speak.
But the danger is when central governments co-opt this technology using taxpayer funds, only to provide a means to their ends. The feds are already rapidly expanding the use of new surveillance methods.
“The vast government apparatus of ‘national security’ does not keep us safe so much as threaten our liberties by regarding the entire citizenry as a threat.” – Ron Paul, Liberty Defined
Social Media Monitoring
In the past, we revealed that the Fed has used new technology to monitor social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others. Why a central bank needs to read, analyze, and record mundane comments about daily life or view your holiday party photos is anyone’s guess! The point is, they’re investing big in that capacity.
The CIA, Department of Homeland Security, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA), the FBI, and NSA are just some of the agencies eager to get their hands on such technology.
  • An article at InformationWeek.com says, “In addition to its own aim to build a data-mining tool, the FBI also will likely benefit from the fruits of IARPA’s research… seeking to create technology that will continuously analyze and mine data… to help it better forecast global events.”
  • Foxnews.com says, “The system sought… would fuse together everything from Web searches to Wikipedia edits to traffic webcams to ‘beat the news’ by predicting major events ranging from economic turmoil to disease outbreaks.”

The Feds Can’t Predict Anything…

It’s not because they don’t have enough technology or unlimited budgets. As bureaucracies, governments don’t focus on appropriate data. They missed the mark on the stock market crash in the early 2000s, they goofed on the real estate collapse, and they’re blind to the disastrous results on the horizon caused by their own unrestricted spending, negative interest rates, and exploding money supply.
To be fair, certain investment companies use similar social media monitoring technology to help pick stocks based on current Twitter “sentiment.” But these are private companies risking their own capital on the latest electronic gimmick to make a profit in the market. This isn’t the case with government snoops.
  • As Foxnews.com reports, Center for Naval Analyses security analyst William McCants says he worries we’ll fall into an overreliance on technology at the expense of carefully trained human analysts better at zeroing in on facts that matter.
  • Former CIA analyst and current security and surveillance technology consultant Ross Stapleton-Gray mentions in the early 1990s, the U.S. Intelligence community resisted the urge to collect data from the public Internet, “[the] old hands… believed that secrets were more valuable than the information anyone could get.”

    “You didn’t need to be on Twitter to know that a revolution was happening in Egypt,” McCants points out.

  • “Any time that you have to worry about the federal government following you around peering over your shoulder listening to what you’re saying, it’s going to affect the way you speak and the way that you act,” says Electronic Privacy Information Center’s (EPIC) director of the Open Government Project Ginger McCall.

We’re From the TSA, and We’re Here to Help

At 161 airports nationwide, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) has already rolled out its “behavior detection” screeners to monitor the traveling public. Essentially, these agents act as ‘greeters’ while actually eavesdropping on you and studying your facial expressions and intonations.
A Politico report says, TSA chief John Pistole wants agents to have more personal interaction with travelers. But not in a good way.
TSA Human Interaction
Here’s how the behavior monitoring program works: a screener chit-chats with you, signaling friendly intentions. If you exhibit “suspicious” physiological or psychological signs, you get singled out for more intensive harassment regardless of being a U.S. citizen who possesses required travel documents. You and your belongings would face extra scanning and invasive, hands-on screening.
“I’m very much interested in expanding the behavior detection program, upgrading it if you will, in a way that allows us to… have more interaction with a passenger just from a discussion which may be able to expedite the physical screening aspects,” Pistole is reported saying.
If this sounds as scientific as flipping a coin, you’re right. As mentioned in the Examiner.com, “scientific consensus does not exist on whether behavior detection principles can be reliably used for counter terrorism purposes, according to the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.”
What’s worse, this Big Government program was pushed through by the TSA without any scientific validation according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). So far, this one specific TSA program has already cost over half a billion dollars. And it’s estimated to cost an additional $1.2 billion over the next five years.