The Transportation Security Administration uses full-body scanners and other equipment to gauge whether travellers are a threat or not. And as much as it sucks to go through the TSA’s invasive X-ray and scanning checkpoints, it turns out the TSA’s tactics are pretty messed up even when they’re low-tech.
One of the TSA’s lowest-tech methods of sniffing out potential terrorists — Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, which is seriously just deciding whether or not someone is sketchy based on how they act — is being used to catch unauthorised immigrants, not terrorists:
But in one five-week period at a major international airport in the United States in 2007, the year the program started, only about 4 per cent of the passengers who were referred to secondary screening or law enforcement by behaviour detection officers were arrested, and nearly 90 per cent of those arrests were for being in the country illegally, according to a TSA document obtained by The Intercept.
The TSA spent $US900 million on a program that essentially boils down to “hey look out for nervous-looking people who don’t speak English.”
This just goes to show you that the TSA doesn’t even need to turn on the body scanner to step way over the line. STOP is only a screening methodology by name — it is thoroughly unscientific profiling. The Intercept’s report makes it clear yet again that airport security is in desperate need of an overhaul. [ The Intercept]