Monday, December 20, 2010
by Maayana Miskin (Israelnationalnews.com)
An Israeli device designed for use in airports aims to detect terrorists whether or not they are armed, and to cut back on many security measures that inconvenience all passengers equally. The device tracks physical reactions to basic questions or statements.
Israel currently uses a similar system at Ben-Gurion Airport, where screeners aim to detect suspicious passenger behavior instead of focusing primarily on objects in passengers' possession. Unlike security teams in other countries, who take all liquids from passengers or conduct invasive searches, the Ben-Gurion screeners engage passengers in conversation and use their training to scout out unusual reactions, which lead to passengers being pulled out of line for further screening.
While the human conversation-based system works well, it can be time consuming. If the new devices being developed for security are put into action in airports, they are expected to significantly speed the process.
Ehud Givon, CEO of WeCU Technologies, spoke to Britain's Live about the new machines his company is working on. WeCU has worked with top psychologists to create a system that detects the small, involuntary physical response a person will have to something they know.
The device measures a subject's heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, changes in breathing, and more. It begins taking readings immediately as a subject approaches, establishing a “baseline” - then exposes the person to something that would elicit a reaction in someone involved in terrorism.
The phrase or image used to get a response is specially selected so as to not get the same response from someone who is anxious due to a fear of flying or some other, non-terror-related reason, Givon said.
Givon explained that going public will not reduce the machine's efficacy – if anything, he said, it will do the opposite. “It's even better if [the subject] knows this test is going to happen. This isn't a trick,” he stated.
The machine has a relatively low false positive rate, and in tests has selected just one or two of each hundred people for further questioning. Once it is in use, only those selected would be questioned by a human, while everyone else can continue to their flight.