An interesting piece in InformationWeek:
IBM Patenting Airport Security Profiling Technology
IBM, it seems, is very interested in computer-based airport security and has applied for a number of patents to claim invention of the methods:
A dozen "secret" patent applications define a sophisticated scheme for airport terminal and perimeter protection, incorporating potential support for computer implementation of passenger behavioral profiling to detect security threats.
What we have is a grid of networked computers that receive data from a collection of sensors: “video, motion, chemical, and biometric.” The data is analyzed real-time and presented to security personnel. According to Robert Angell, one of the inventors, "If it's done right, we could do passive profiling [and] passive detection and do it without a whole lot of fanfare."
This technology is pretty interesting:
Attributes may include an individual's age, make and/or model of a vehicle, color of a hat, breed of a dog, sound of an engine, a medical diagnosis, a date of birth, a color, item of clothing, walking, talking, running, a type of food eaten, an identification of an item purchased.
An attribute that is an event may include eating, smoking, walking, jogging, walking a dog, carrying bags, carrying a baby, riding a bicycle, an engine running, a baby crying, or any other event.
The individual patents are fascinating, and the article describes a few:
Detecting Behavioral Deviations By Measuring Eye Movements
Unique Cohort Discovery From Multimodal Sensory Devices
Detecting Behavioral Deviations by Measuring Respiratory Patterns in Cohort Groups
We have found Big Brother and he is Big Blue! Somehow digitally automated profiling leaves more of a bad taste in my mouth than profiling by trained humans. I know that’s not entirely logical. Will we acquiesce to this as the price we pay for security? I don’t know. Maybe it’s too late anyway.