back to article EU project scans air passengers for terrorist tendencies

An EU aviation safety project is testing a camera-based passenger surveillance system intended to spot terrorists poised to rush the cockpit. According to a report in the New Scientist, the European Union’s Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment (SAFEE) project relies on video cameras being built into every …

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Anonymous Coward

I'll tell you what

If the man think this works and the EU thinks this is a sensible thing to protect against terrorists then fair enough.....

....PROVIDED....

That every person wrongly labelled a terrorist can sue their (the inventors and EU backers) asses for libel.

Fair enough?

How long do you think you'd hold onto your money when the number of nervious flyers is 5% and the number of terrorists 0.00001% and terrorists are often calm. Yet if you were not prepared to defend against the libel claims, why are you so free to label people terrorists based on your algorithm?

How's CCTV going? Stopping many crimes? Or mostly used to enforce parking tickets?

How's the MET's anti-photo campaign going, stopping terrorism?Or mostly just making people suspicious of other innocent people?

These dipshit ideas only happen because the people involved don't face the consequences of their actions. Was the man responsible for the MET campaign sacked? No!

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What a waste of money

I find it astonishing that because we've had one major instance of a plane-related terrorism incident, so many people assume that it's the ONLY way terrorists can attack. I've had enough of the ridiculously over-the-top security on planes, and have decided not to bother flying again (although environmental concerns contribute to this decision too).

And this kind of technology worries me because the makers will start looking for other applications if it is useful. How about installing it on every work computer - the built in webcam could monitor us for signs of boredom, disobedience, or distraction?

Ooh, and how about in cars - it could cut the motor if the driver looks stressed and angry?

The phrase 'terrorist tendencies' makes me laugh too. What's the betting that the first 'terrorist' this system bags is someone who is scared of flying - sweating, looking around, stressed, getting up and walking around regularly... quick, shoot him!

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Jobs Horns

Is someone going to film me picking my nose?

No thank you. I will choose carriers that do not sport this ridiculous invasion of one of the most uncomfortable experiences around - flying.

Steve, coz I'm sure it comes with iChat built in.

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Alert

What does a "terrorist" look like?

I wonder where they've got the information about how a "terrorist" behaves when sat in a plane seat?

A nervous, sweating, figgiting passenger may just be afraid of flying.

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Fantastic: more intrusive surveillance

So now, again, in the name of "security", we get more intrusive cameras.

As for their feasability, I would like to say it is s***. How are you going to diff a nervous passanger from a dangerous one? how many false positives?

And, how much will it cost in money and personal intrusion? perhaps it would be better to use it in public health... and actually save lives and not only lies..

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Gates Horns

Clever...

Can't wait until the first genuine "flying phobic" gets picked up and vanishes for 42 days....

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Pirate

Terrorist tendencies

Along with the threat of body cavity searches and having my laptop thoroughly examined for useful info, (if visiting civilised countries like USA - do you think that perhaps they make a copy of the hard drive - and are capable of looking after the data on it afterwards ?), we are x-rayed in the airport boarding zone after running the gauntlet of the tube to Heathrow Terminal 5, (ie; the potential to get shot in the head by anti-terrorist police) I then need to include the higher cost of all flights owing to the price hikes on aviation fuel, er, don't forget the "Green Aviation Fuel Tax", I am then expected to make my customers pay the extra increased cost of all this extra hardware and software, in the hope that I won't be mistaken for a terrorist or become a victim of the terrorists.

I suppose to some folks this creates peace of mind.

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Linux

Hmmm...

..walks from his seat to the bathroom, then several cameras can be used to track his facial movements....

...nervously touching their face or excessive sweating....

I don't know if the clever monkies behind this have actually ever been on an aeroplane, but I seem to recall this kind of behaviour on a number of occasions. Clutching of handbags and mumbling about taking the train the next time they go to see auntie Pamela springs to mind as well.

Perhaps the system will actually be on the lookout for bearded men with wrapped headgarments, evil hands slowly stroking said beard, and that all revealing glint in the left eye?

Tux, because pinguins aren't allowed to fly.

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Coat

How prepared...

are we to have our every last twitch monitored and analysed? Depressingly well prepared. No doubt if airlines were to introduce "rendition class" where passengers are hooded and manacled to the seat, people would still fly. It is to protect you from terrorists how could you object.

Still I'd love to know how a piece of software tells the difference between a nervous flyer and an anxious terrorist.

Mines the Ryanair straitjacket(buckles €5 extra).

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Joke

New in-flight game: Gurneying the F16

So much for Solitaire and PacMan on your 8 h transadlantic flight.

I must start practicing my shifty squints!

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two thoughts

1. Sounds like someone's trolling for grant proposals. As an actual security package this simply won't fly. (Posit a 99.99% success rate. Now posit fitting this to a Boeing 737-400, with 150 seats, flying short-haul, six sectors per day. The plane's going to be carrying 900 passengers daily ... meaning there's a very high probability of a false positive <em>every</em> day. Given the rarity of actual hijackers, you'd need to make the thing better than six-nines accurate, and there's no way a face recognition system's going to do that.)

2. If they ever deploy this, I start traveling with a stick of chewing gum in my hand luggage. Personally I hate the stuff, but as an alternative to blu-tak it ain't bad ...

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Its a good idea... but....

Dont a lot of people still get nervous on planes? Hence, causing sweating and unsual behaviour.

Good to see that these new technologies are at least being tried and tested.

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How do you tell the difference...

... between getting ready to rush the cockpit and getting ready to rush to the bog?

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PHEAR

As the article states, once they are onboard the harm is usually done.

"Tower, this is LA seven niner heavy. There is a man currently using what appears to be fire extinguisher trying to break into the cockpit. Please advice."

"LA79-Heavy, what does the PHEAR-system* tell you?"

"It says that he is either a terrorist or a gay man whom is illinformed what a cockpit actually is. In either case it tells us to be very afraid."

*It shouldn't be to hard to make that the acronym for the system, I just don't have the time for it atm.

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Alien

Just cover the camera

If I ever get on a plane that has a camera mounted in the back of the seat in front of me monitoring my every move I will immediately cover it with my jacket or some other article of clothing. I will then proceed to look for the other cameras covering the aisles and continually make rude gestures with my hands and fingers throughout the flight.

I hope I'll be allowed visitors after I've been gitmo'd.

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Paris Hilton

But isn't it a little late ....

... to be detecting terrorists once they're already on the plane.

Probably, but what the heck it gives yet another bunch of free loaders a chance to dip into the security industry pork.

Paris because she obviously likes to dip the pork.

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At last

You may have dug up the most stupid idea of all time. It's certainly a contender. Finally a way to while away those long distance flights. If you can manage to look shifty enough you can win the prize of an unscheduled landing at a mystery airport.

Will they replace the no smoking signs with no scowling, will the announcement include the imprecation to think happy thoughts.

I've worked in IT for many years and I've encountered some pretty impressively stupid suggestions at various meetings. I am somewhat flabbergasted that this unbelievably stupid dross has actually received a red cent in funding.

A security system which can be stymied by a postage stamp or a blob of chewing gum, never mind botox. On the other hand it could become a new sport, synchronized swimming watch your back. I can see the records being set, most amount of false terror alerts in 1 hour, teams of 4, relays.

It'll be interesting to see how they deal with burkas, not to mention beards and sunglasses.

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Alert

Don't ...

scratch that itch, they're watching!

With some billion innocent air travelers, they'll have fun sorting out everybody with allergies, hangover, impending deadlines, ...

Don't forget to take your mood pills before boarding!

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A Better/Cheaper idea...

If the worlds bullies are that scared of revenge attacks from the people they carpet bombed why not just strap everyone down and sedate them for every flight?

It would give plenty of time to rifle through their private belongings and steal trade secrets off their laptops. Also those gay security guards that like to fondle peoples buttocks could have a field day? They could just use some cheap old microphones and send every non wealthy white american who talks in their sleep off to Auschwitz/Gitmo? I mean surely beating a confession out of someone who's been interned in a neo nazi concentration camp for a couple of years is a lot easier than trying to work out if someone's had a bad curry or are planning on rushing the cockpit with a sharpened passport?

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air-rage

I declare this the word of the day.

Also, I cannot wait for teenagers to get a wind of this. "Hey mum, bet I can summon a F-16?" *grrrrr*

We're laughing now, but by 2012 we will all have a little cam strapped to our foreheads, constantly monitoring our every twitch, plus heartbeat, and whether you floss or not. Sullen officials in cheap suits will come knock your door "we don't like your face, and you need to floss more". It'll be pretty much like Minority Report, only less precise.

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Black Helicopters

I can see a market...

Teaching people to fool the system.

Wouldn't really take much. Actors act scared/sad/terrorized/happy/whatever all the time, and occaisionally those watching their show actually believe the actors.

There are going to be false positives. Some nasty. I hope that airline execs are the first to suffer from that little problem.

Where's my bush-with-dunce-cap icon?

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Unhappy

So

I've indentified someone as a possible terrorist, now what.

If the sky marshall stands up and intervenes the other terrorists now know who they are, if F-16s are scrambled will they shoot down 300 people and claim a victory.

At some point the terrorist will "reveal" themselves anyway by acting in a terrorist fashion, such as killing people, asssuming they have considered violence and resisting arrest, once on board the plane the jobs 90% done anyway.

I can just imagine the ground control smiling warmly as the plane catches fire, "we got an 80% reading on the main guy prior to the explosion, well done everybody"

Anon, deals with information related to terrorism or related acts.

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I'm glad I don't have a phobia of flying!

It seems this tech (_if_ it works) would be great for people who are nervous of flying... Nervous of flying, don't worry, we'll just assume you're a terrorist... feeling better now?

Actually, if your way of dealing with these people is to administer a sedative, it might work. You could even use any spare stock on the inevitable noisy brat a few rows away...

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Just say so

Next: A taser in every seat. Oops! False positive... please accept a complimentary drink.

If the airlines don't want passengers why don't they just say so instead of all this not-so-subtle hinting?

Methinks travel by rail and cruise ship is about to become much more popular. Hell, if the airlines keep going down this path travel by bicycle and canoe will have more appeal.

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Coat

Every last twitch?

So like...the loo's are all full and your sitting cross legged desperate to do a runner, or the dodgy inflight meals decided to come back for a return visit...and this thing goes off and you get twenty black clad nutters pointing guns at your head?

...as others have said, this maybe getting tested with a bunch of bored students as test gophers, but come reality, its go so many other possibles it's going to become a joke very quickly.

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Oh this is going to work well...

...what with the introduction of mobile phones on flights.

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"continually walks from his seat to the bathroom"

Is that as they try again and again to mix their proven impractical liquid explosives?

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Black Helicopters

Blu-tac

Carry a small amount of blu-tac and stick it over the lens?

It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

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Unhappy

Who do they plan to test it on?

Are we going to put out an ad in the paper, under the Terrorists Wanted section, to see if the system can detect them?

If they test it on actors pretending to be terrorists, they're just admitting that the system can be reliably tricked.

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jim

WTF...Ferryman

WTF....This asshole Dr Ferryman has once again conned stupid EU governments run by Luddite idiots of which Gordon Brown is one big one.

EASY....Just thrust a pen/biro through the camera lens.

If everyone on board did this on every flight the airline would go bust in days due to the replacement cost.

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Anonymous Coward

It's a good thing...

...we've avoided changing our behavior, out of fear, in reaction to a terrorist attack. Otherwise you might mistakenly think they'd achieved their goals.

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But think of the terrorists!

<sarcasm>

To all you wussy liberal namby-pambys clamoring about "innocent" people and how to tell the difference between a terrorist and someone scared of flying... Grow up. We don't care. If we stop even one terrorist, it's worth ruining the lives of everyone. Think of the terrorists! We must stop them. Better yet, think of the children. We need to protect them using any means necessary.

</sarcasm>

Sadly, there are people who seriously think that way, and think that we must stop the terrorists using any means necessary, even if it means declaring martial law. With that thinking prevailing in anyone's mind, the terrorists have already won.

On a side note, "terrorist", "terrorist tendencies", etc. are defined the same way as "obscenity" -- completely undefined, with the "definition" being "we know it when we see it". Here in the US, animal rights activists are labeled terrorists. And while I know many of you here disagree with them and their beliefs, I would be deeply disappointed if you put them in the same group as people who blow up buildings and airplanes and kill people indiscriminately.

The terrorists hate the "Western World" because of their [the westerners'] beliefs and freedoms. In "protecting" ourselves from the "terrorists", we are systematically stripping ourselves of these freedoms, while at the same time increasing the cost of everything which results in the (not so) slow destruction of the economy and even further widening the gap between the rich and the middle/poor. To anybody who claims we (the US and UK, at least) are still "free", I would question the definition of free. The way I see it, we have as much freedom as a goldfish in a fishbowl.

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Stop

I've missed something here

So, I'm sitting in my seat being monitored by this camera mounted in the seat in front and I start to assemble a gun (like Christopher Lee in "The man with golden gun") so I can hijack the plane.

The camera records this and me setting the timer on the bomb.

Then what?

What is the point? The camera won't stop me unless my seat is fitted with automatic handcuffs too..... What a waste of time.

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Paris Hilton

no more mile high club?

Are they going to video the toilets as well?

Paris, cos she'd probably still do it irregardless

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Anonymous Coward

I wasn't checked

Far more worrying, last week I boarded a flight from Dublin back to Stansted and at no point, not once, was I even asked my name, much less asked for my passport. Only once we had landed in England was I eventually asked to produce my passport. During the flight I sat in row 1 (ie, right at the front), and on two occasions the cockpit door was open during the flight.

My booking was with a friend, who approached the desk first and produced our booking number. His passport was checked at that time. The check in attendant then assumed that I must be the second person listed, and issues me my boarding card, luggage tags and what not without asking who I was. I could have been absolutely anybody and I could have gotten on that flight.

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Must be a lot of pork ...

... slopping around that trough if a numbskull idea like this is taking even a baby step off the drawing board.

@Justin: TSA butt- grabbers are more likely (~9:1) to be hetero males gawking at female bits. I doubt your buttocks are special enough to lure het guys to the other side, so kindly keep your homophobia to yourself.

@Allan: They've stopped serving meals on many flights as a cost- cutting measure, so "revenge of the day- old mystery meal" may be a thing of the past (depending on what's sold in the terminal, anyway).

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No thank you!

I'm an elite member in my favorite airline (Continental. Ok free advertising since they do a good job) which means I fly at least 25,000 actual miles a year (more than that I assure you) and I go to the bathroom a lot (I drink a lot of water on the plane to stay hydrated) to the point that on intercontinental flights I pick an aisle seat for not bothering my neighbors, but if my airline implemented something like this I'd stop flying with them. It's a pain in the neck already all the ridiculous useless security I have to go through (recently they threw away my Passion Fruit Jam purchased in Hawaii for my mother saying it was a security risk).

I'm sick and tired of paranoia. Security YES, overzealous security agents cutting off on my freedom NO.

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Ook

We are so screwed, can't smoke and now can't scratch our arses in a plane.

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Stop

Cost?

Southwest has 500 planes, assume United, US Airways, Delta, Jet Blue have the same. 2500 planes, averaging 100 seats, $50 per camera, $5000 for the other cameras and control system, another $5000 in labor to retrofit, that's $37.5m. $50m for testing and setting up the program, $20m per year to run it. I'm sure those estimates are much lower than it would actually cost, so where's all that money going to come from? The airlines certainly can't.

@ Ian Ferguson

There have been plenty of terrorism-related airplane incidents. The PLO was behind several, including four hijackings in one day.

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@ Chris C.

I agree with most of what you say, except "The terrorists hate the "Western World" because of their [the westerners'] beliefs and freedoms". Not True. They hate us because of our actions. They hate us because we bomb their countries, kill indiscriminately, cripple their economies with sanctions, continually change sides, supply them with weapons so they can kill each other then move in and wipe out the weakened victors, then have the nerve to call them evil when they dare to try and fight back.

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Alert

adverts?

how long before the camera is fed into the inflight entertainment system.. 'hi you appear to be stressed, we would like to take a minute out of this film to tell you about the wide range of stress relief products available on this flight...'

and of course that data, coupled with your boarding pass now has you marked as a nervous flyer. expect spam on the email you confirmed with and through your letter box..

cus you just know a system like this will have to be 'self financing'

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Paris Hilton

darn.

I guess that means no more in-seat masturbation any more either.

oh well.

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Happy

@PHEAR

You mean the Potentially Hostile Extremist/ Air Rage detector system? ;-)

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Coat

Green jackets

Imagine not being permitted to enter the USA because you picked your nose and wiped it on your jacket?

Imagine then that they could posts and tag those pictures on your Facebook profile?

That'll stop them there terrorists in their tracks.

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Muslim Passengers

A few years back (after 9/11) I was on a European flight sitting next to a Muslim gentleman. As the plane started to taxi for takeoff, he produced a copy of the Koran and, hunched over it commenced to mumble what I can only assume were prayers.

I was somewhat alarmed.... but being British and not wishing to 'make a scene' I sat there waiting for something terrrorist'y to happen.

About 5 minutes after take off and the plane was safely above the clouds, he heaved a great sigh of relief and put the Koran away and started to read the paper.

Just an ordinary bloke, shit scared of flying....

Under this loony tunes proposal, he''d probably have wound up with at least nine rounds to the head......

Ridiculous.....

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Probably has a grant already.

It should be revoked. C'mon, say it with me: "Don't pay the Ferryman"

Mines the one with the deep cowl.

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Perhaps . . .

A glass of milk, a couple of prozacs and a good night sleep would lower the hysteria at Brussels.

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just one more example

anyone read the traveller and dark river by john twelve hawks

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They do work...

You guys need to come down to South Africa where the government is corrupt and the police chief is a crook. We have convicted fraudsters and murderers in parliament. Our future president is under investigation for corruption, money laundering, and other offenses.Violent crime is out of control and the government doesn't really care (the minister of safety and security said that white people should go back to europe instead of complaining all the time).

At least some of these surveillance measures must be working because otherwise you'd be in the same situation we are....

Mind you the London Met would not be very effective down here. Their policy of shooting brown people in the head for carrying a rucksack would not leave many people standing.

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Very good idea

But only if they promise not to show boring/stupid/offensive movies anymore. What if you are looking at some movie you don't like or hear a news item you don't agree too ?

Maybe they can rig it to the video system too ? That way they can get the future terrorists even before they are aware they are terrorsts ?

Just put in a newsflash that USA has invaded -insert country of destination here- and all the passengers that do not show the proper facial expression of total approval can be escorted out of the plane into the proper re eductation centre.

Any body here feels like starting their own country ruled on the basis of reason and decency ?

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