Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The FAST Track to Big Brother

Electrocardiogram

The video below is a promotional presentation by the Department of Homeland Security for a project known as “Future Attribute Screening Technology”, or FAST. The project is not new — the video came out several years ago — and the technology is not new, either. The system incorporates several existing forms of non-invasive psychological evaluation methods, including thermal imaging, the monitoring of heart rate, etc. It doesn’t even include the measurement of galvanic skin response (as commonly used in lie detectors), but produces similar results through other means. Just as with the full-body scanner, a subject has only to stand in one place briefly to be examined by several forms of instrumentation, whose results are then analyzed and recorded in a networked computer system.

The purpose of this new form of electronic scrutiny is nothing less than to detect in advance the intention or propensity to do violence. It is truly Orwellian in its proposed scope.

Here’s what the DHS website says about FAST and two related projects:

Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) Project
Project Manager:
Robert Middleton

Project Overview: The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division (HFD) Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) project is an initiative to develop a prototype screening facility containing a suite of real-time, non-invasive sensor technologies to detect cues indicative of mal-intent (the intent or desire to cause harm) rapidly, reliably, and remotely. The system will measure both physiological and behavioral signals to make probabilistic assessments of mal-intent based on sensor outputs and advanced fusion algorithms and measure indicators using culturally neutral and non-invasive sensors. FAST uses an established independent peer-review process to ensure objectivity and thoroughness in addressing all aspects of the program.

Hostile Intent Detection - Automated Prototype Project
Project Manager:
Larry Willis

Project Overview: The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division (HFD) Hostile Intent Detection - Automated Prototype Project aims to demonstrate real-time, non-invasive, and culturally independent, video extraction algorithms to identify unknown or potential security threats. The operational benefit is the increased ability to detect potential threats during secondary checkpoint screening. This project supports the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review missions of preventing terrorism and enhancing security, and securing and managing our borders.

Hostile Intent Detection - Validation of Observable Indicators of Suspicious Behavior Project
Project Manager:
Larry Willis

Project Overview: The Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division (HFD) Hostile Intent Detection – Validation project aims to empirically validate behavioral indicators employed by Department of Homeland Security’s operational components to screen passengers at transit portals. The operational benefit is the increased ability to detect potential threats during primary checkpoint screening. This project supports Quadrennial Homeland Security Review missions of preventing terrorism and enhancing security, and securing and managing our borders.

The project was spearheaded by the Battelle Memorial Institute, a research and development organization that is actually a charitable trust headquartered in Columbus, Ohio (as of this writing, the organization’s website was down, due to a cyberattack on it and its affiliated laboratories).

What’s really creepy is that the same organization has a spinoff project known as “Battelle for Kids”, which “believes in and is committed to transformational change in education.”

Well, I guess we know our children’s future is in good hands.

And now for the video, which is just below the jump:


What makes it difficult to resist this 21st-century version of Big Brother is that nobody can argue against better security for ordinary citizens. Everybody is in favor of not being blown up at the airport, or the ball park, or the shopping mall.

Did you notice the docile subjects lined up in front of those grim mobile labs, chatting with each other while waiting for their turn to be examined? Yes, we know they are only actors or company employees pretending to be citizens doing their civic duty. But real citizens who line up for the scanners now in use at all airports display the same sort of docility — FAST is just one step further in the direction of the complete abandonment of privacy.

Just think about what this means: your future “intentions” will be discerned, and if you have just had an argument with your wife or are on the way to visit your mother-in-law, you might be one of the 20% false positives and end up in the little room having a chat with the special agents, revealing the total contents of your mind to interrogators using the latest oh-so-gentle high-tech methods.

And this is without having committed a crime, without being accused of a crime, and without even having intended a crime. This could happen if your face is too warm or too cold, or you took Sudafed and your heart is racing, or entertained some angry thoughts just before being scrutinized.

Right now it’s mainly airports, but after Islamic terrorists blow up a mall or a theme park, we can expect airport-style security to pop up all over the place. And why not? It means increased employment, and is good for the local economy.

It will also mean giving up your inner self to vigilant strangers as the price for leading a normal life and going about your everyday business.

Doesn’t anyone wonder whether this has any place in a society that prizes liberty?

Is it even constitutional?

And this is without even considering the Islamic angle. How much do you want to bet the Muslimas in their hijabs will get an exemption from all this nonsense?

No, it will primarily be Mr. and Mrs. Whiteman who can expect to have their minds read by the mobile inquisitors.


Hat tip: LN.

12 comments:

Hesperado said...

"aims to demonstrate real-time, non-invasive, and culturally independent, video extraction algorithms to identify unknown or potential security threats."

If all the sensors are working properly, and "mal-intent" will be effectively ferreted out, then I see no problem: a culturally neutral detection system will be unable to avoid detecting a pool of mal-intents 97% Muslim.

Our current problem is that we have a culturally biased screening process (biased in favor of Muslims) -- on all levels of anti-terrorism -- whereby humans deformed by PC MC are the problem in the design and the execution.

Baron Bodissey said...

Hesperado --

Not only that, Muslims are adept at wheedling exemptions and waivers for themselves, and all for the best PC MC reasons: the screening techniques violate their religious sensibilities.

Furthermore, Islamic zealots -- in whom taquiyyah is deeply ingrained -- can pass polygraph tests when they are lying. I'll wager they can do the same with thermal imaging, etc.

Finally, the selection of candidates will be random -- no "profiling" for DHS! Since only a small percentage of people can be screened with this stuff, and only a microscopic percentage of the crowds will be terrorists intending havoc, the chances of nabbing any bad guys are slim indeed.

No, it will be mainly Ma, Pa, and Junior Whitebread who have to go through this humiliating ordeal.

Egghead said...

Or, will the system be swamped at events with large numbers of hostiles? Let's say a soccer game where one whole side of fans is murderous against the other.

And, once the results of the predictors are found to deviate from PC MC doctrine that Islam is the religion of peace with a tiny minority of extremists, will the PC MC establishment simply deem the predictors to be faulty - neigh - culturally biased predictors?

What say you, IOC? What say you, indeed? Where does the "springy" world-wide ummah stand on this technology that could be easily implemented against rebels and malcontents?

Zenster said...

Baron Bodissey: Finally, the selection of candidates will be random -- no "profiling" for DHS! Since only a small percentage of people can be screened with this stuff, and only a microscopic percentage of the crowds will be terrorists intending havoc, the chances of nabbing any bad guys are slim indeed.

From the original post: What makes it difficult to resist this 21st-century version of Big Brother is that nobody can argue against better security for ordinary citizens.

As with the majority of TSA and Homeland Security measures, so long as there is no admission that Muslims are responsible for the overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks, this will be of little to no use in preventing said attacks.

El Al airways implements highly effective profiling at a tiny fraction of the cost. As Takuan Seyio is fond of noting:

America’s air transportation system could have been made secure effectively, at a fraction of the cost and without the annoyance, humiliation and devastating time waste imposed on America’s population (and the world’s, really), had our ruling mythology, to which all political factions subscribe equally, permitted for inconveniencing a few million profiled individuals instead. The profiling would have to select young Muslims of Third World origin for special scrutiny, but race-neutral psychological profiling would have to be just as important. All that has been applied with outstanding success by the most jeopardized and safest airline in the world, El-Al, for years.

Lawrence Auster pointed out the reason why the profiling approach cannot be implemented in the United States: a proper verbal screening of passengers in the Israeli style requires a high degree of intelligence and training. That requires a selective hiring process as a result of which almost all Black (mean IQ 85) and Hispanic (mean IQ 89) applicants would have to be rejected. The resulting White (mean IQ 100) cadre would be challenged in the courts as evidence of “racism.” The suicidal “Disparate Impact” doctrine imposed on America by a legal system run amok — in this respect since 1971 (Griggs v. Duke Power Co.) — would overturn the hiring procedures and turn the entire endeavor into the same sordid parody that it has forced already on much else of what remains of America.
[emphasis added]

Instead, we are treated to the gruesome spectacle of Big Government cheerfully bedding down with Big Business in pursuit of a ridiculously expensive waste of taxpayer's money so as to circumvent any whiff of political incorrectness.

Zenster said...

Taksan's overview is equally instructive:

The TSA theater of insanity now on stage nationwide eschews the real objects of its pursuit in order to chase after their trailing shadow. By the time they have seized the shadow, the foe is ahead of them and doing something else. They ban little old ladies’ nail files because of terrorists’ box cutters, but the terrorists have already moved on to flammable liquids. Wise to flammable liquids, they stand the world’s travelling population in a long supplicants’ line with little shampoos in little nylon baggies — but the terrorists have already moved on to exploding underpants. When they have spent billions to peek or feel under everyone’s underpants, the terrorists will have already moved on to anal suppositories. By the time they stick a probe into every flying anus, the terrorists have already moved on to buses and trains. When they have “secured” buses and trains, Allah’s troops will have already moved to department stores and exploding private cars.

To protect against terrorists you have to define them truthfully. You have to stop importing the entire socio-cultural category that fits the definition. Those already imported are readily containable when you have stopped lying as to who they are. What we have in place instead is a system to enslave the citizenry of the United States under the yoke of their own government.
[emphasis added]

Dymphna said...

So the mean IQ of blacks is whatever. That doesn't signify. Lots of smart blacks in that mix.

So if we go strictly by racial standards of smart, in a one-size-fits-all, let's have only Asians doing the work.

Beyond a certain level of intelligence, say perhaps 115 or so, the other kinds of smarts kick in. The ones that have to do with intuition...the kinds of smarts that con men use to bilk the average joe.

If we're going to choose categories of people to do these jobs, I vote for Asian blackjack dealer. They have to read faces, find tells, look for unconscious disclosures all the time and their overseeing of the lay people - the tourists & pro gamblers all - is further watched by the guys upstairs.

They work, iirc, two hours on and at least an hour off. Then two hours on...no extended time at the table cuz they lose their edge.

Hey, the retired ones would probably enjoy the DHS work. It would be cushy in comparison. The casinos could be the farm teams for DHS the way the minor leagues work for the majors, or the way that military aviators switch over to much-higher paying big league airlines.

Dymphna said...

Please do not take this thread down the old racial intelligence hole. It is boring, predictable, and in itself is not very smart.

A high IQ has certain adavantages but there are other more important kinds of smarts that we need to survive in an increasingly violent world. An IQ of 200 won't save your gluteus maximus in situations where physical prowess, a good weapon, or a fearless attitude will get you a long way down the road toward safety.

All those white overseers in DHS are probably plenty smart. A lot of good they do the rest of us...

latté island said...

No matter how smart and qualified Asians, or some blacks can be, one thing neither group, on average, has, is unambiguous loyalty. East Asians are in the process of taking over America. And I like many of them personally, but if you have seen your town taken over by them, and heard some of the things they say about America and white people, you will question their loyalty.

It is totally in the interest of Chinese agents to sabotage the efforts of loyal white people to prevent terrorism. When white America is over, the Chinese will inherit it. The Chinese, dancing backwards in high heels, can handle the Muslims, because Muslims aren't real contenders. Muslims are only as effective as Western governments allow them to be.

Asian screeners will do a fabulous job, but when their handlers tell them to make a mistake, they will.

sulber nick said...

latte island - v.astute.

Zenster said...

My point has nothing to do with racial intelligence but only how PCMC "sensitivities" are killing us.

No better example exists than, after the Ft. Hood massacre, having Chief of Staff, General George W. Casey, telling us that:

"Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.

So, how many more of our loyal troops must be gunned down like targets in a shooting gallery before this much-hallowed "diversity" is no longer such an imperative?

Erich said...

Baron,

My anti-Luddite point was that the machines aren't the problem; the humans and their cultural paradigm du jour are the problem. Were the West not PC MC, then these devices predicting mal-intent in a culturally neutral way would most likely not be a problem.

In such a circumstance, they would either be more or less benignly redundant, or could be a limited useful adjunct to other measures to prevent Islamic terror and the infiltration that enables terror.

While a non-PC MC West would spend more time simply identifying and locating Muslims in order to round them up and ship them out, a system of "mal-intent sensors" would be of use during, and after the process of mass deportation, fish-slipping-through-the-net-wise.

matism said...

And MY point is that it is NOT the "Leadership" who make stuff such as this a problem, but it is instead "Law Enforcement", who actually will operate it and arrest whomever they choose. If even HALF of "Law Enforcement" in the United States would bother to honor their oath of office, just how few problems do you think there would be?

The stench is overwhelming.