Lie Detection, Special Treatment at the Airport ... (Friday Links Roundup)

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Jay Stanley @ ACLU: Lie Detection, Special Treatment at the Airport, and Recursive Cameras (Friday Links Roundup)

    Salon has a nice piece on how research shows the difficulty of detecting lies—the impossibility, really—and how people consistently overestimate their ability to do so. And, how people consistently misidentify signs of stress (from a variety of causes) as proof of lying. Of course, an entire TSA program has been built on the premise that people can be trained to detect lies with a reasonable level of certainty.

    Speaking of misguided airline security programs, Ethan Zuckerman of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society has some interesting reflections on his participation in the TSA’s Pre-Check program. He discusses one aspect of the program I hadn’t focused on before: even when you’re in the program, you can’t predict when you will and will not be invited to go through the special, expedited Pre-Check line. This randomness is a security feature; one result is that you can’t arrive at the airport later. But when you do get picked for the Pre-Check treatment, it’s reportedly very pleasant (and no doubt, for many of the lucky enrollees, a source of the cheap status thrill that comes from being “special”). Zuckerman notes that the Pre-Check lines he’d been through were physically separated from the regular TSA screening lines, speculating that this is to minimize resentment on the part of the suckers going through the normal TSA gauntlet.

    Zuckerman also points to this far harsher assessment of the program by Michael Lind, who places Pre-Check in the context of a U.S. airline industry “eking out nickels and dimes by playing crudely on the snobbery of their customers” through the various elite-flyer programs. Unlike such purely commercial programs, however, he argues that “security screening is an onerous civic duty” that “should be shared equally by rich and poor alike.” But “at many airline checkpoints there are two lines. The long line looks like America; the short line is made up mostly of affluent white men.” Ultimately, he concludes, “in true crony capitalist fashion, the precheck program blurs the line between the government’s security function and the airlines’ purely commercial frequent flier programs.”
Tags: pre-check

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