More Effective And Less Obtrusive Airport Security Is Possible
Rather than "nickel and diming" travelers with what now has developed into an excessive security search that has a dubious success rate, a better defense against a terrorist threat would be to focus on locating and neutralizing a suspect at an airport before he or she can even get to the security check. After all, a terrorist could kill as many people in an airport departure hall as on an aircraft.
Terrorists and mentally disturbed persons tend to act differently compared to the run of the mill public, sometimes their behavior is subtly dissimilar, sometimes their actions are blatantly obvious to even an untrained eye.As a rule, even subtle, unusual activity can now be "read" by trained personnel and sophisticated computers linked to cameras called CCTV systems. They have been deployed in casinos for some time now and EL AL; the Israeli airliner has used them in and about their airline terminals with great success over the years. Considering the dangers passengers now have to confront from terrorists, such systems should be made obligatory at all major airports and if that can't currently be done, due to budgetary constraints, then they should be secretly deployed at selected airports, that way a wannabe terrorist will not know which airport is under such surveillance.Scientists are working hard on even more "intelligent" video-surveillance software that can spot subtle variances in behavior that is out of the ordinary. For obvious security reasons, rather than disclose what the operators look for, suffice to say their approach is pretty sophisticated. On the other hand, the software technology flags a suspicious subject using algorithms to profile human behavior in the environment where the system is deployed. If it detects behavior different from the norm it gives a warning signal. It can track the individual even in low light and in crowded spaces having memorized the shape of the person. The suspect can then be safely intercepted and questioned or given a heightened security inspection.Digital memory has a prodigious memory, far surpassing what the human mind is capable of; as a result the effectiveness of the surveillance feeds on itself and multiplies. Furthermore, suspects can be fed into the database and will then be spotted as soon as they enter the range of the camera's observation.
This year a new invention by two Norwegian physicists, Vibeke Jahr and Morgan Kjolerbakken involving sonar technology, I believe could be adapted and incorporated into the CCTV system described in my earlier paper of airport security "Identify your Enemy" Dec. 2009.