A recent article took a look at the ‘future’ of airport security – behavioral screening, rather than baggage checks. It will keep lines at airports short, as the combination of sensors, imagers, and subliminal prompts only takes about 30 seconds to process each individual. Emotional strain, which is a ‘terrorism marker’, will be quickly detected and is a better determinant than traditional security profiling which discriminates based on race and religion.
Of course, there will be problems with the system. Once someone with emotional strain is identified, they will be taken aside for further questioning,. So what happens when a passenger is under emotional strain but not a terrorist? Let’s say you just found out your significant other was cheating on you as he/she dropped you off at the airport. You’re angry and upset, but holding things together. Then airport security accosts you with some very personal and invasive questions. Not going to make you any happier or calmer, is it? What happens when the nervous flier gets questioned and the sociopath walks onto a plane with guns?
It’s true there can be no complete prevention, that such security is a balance between personal rights and group security. I’m just not sure that this new type of screening is really that much more effective than the lousy systems we already have in place.