Airport launches “chat downs” to improve security

Passengers looking suspicious are being asked a series of questions

For a 60-day trial period, Boston’s Logan Airport has just introduced a new layer of security – “chat downs” by trained security agents known as “behaviour detection officers”. Already used in Israel, the process involves suspicious-looking and potentially dangerous passengers being asked a set of questions before they board, initially about their identities.
What is suspicious behaviour? Involuntary physical and physiological reactions seem to be key, rather than simply looking nervous and averting eye contact. However, the practice is being frowned on in the US Congress where officials have told the Transportation Security Administration that it is a “scientifically unproven technique”.
[pictured: Millimeter wave technology image; courtesy US Department of Homeland Security]


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