Friday, June 3, 2011

Homeland Security test 'Minority Report' system which knows when you're even THINKING about committing a crime - 3rd June 2011

Don't even think about terrorism when passing through an airport - as a futuristic Minority Report-style security programme could catch you out.

The Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) security programme is designed to spot people who are planning to commit a terrorist act.

The U.S. government system can ‘sense’ when you are planning and measures physiological factors such as heart rates and eye movements.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) carried out a FAST trial in a secret area of Northeastern America over the past few months.

The technology relies on non-contact sensors so can measure indicators while somebody is walking along, reported

This means the system does not require active questioning of anyone.

Comparisons have already been made to Steven Spielberg’s 2002 science-fiction film ‘Minority Report’, starring Tom Cruise.

The film, set in 2054, features Washington D.C. as a virtually crime-free city because of a ‘pre-crime’ elite law enforcement squad.

They use three humans with special powers known as ‘pre-cogs’ who can see into the future and prevent crimes before they happen.

The FAST programme is being tested by officials instructing some people passing through the system to carry out a ‘disruptive act’.

But psychologist Tom Ormerod, of Lancaster University in Britain, says this role-playing may not be representative of real terrorists.

He has also suggested people will react differently when they know they are being tested.

‘Fill the place with machines that go ping, and both screeners and passengers start doing things differently,’ he told

Tests so far did not happen at an airport but were at 'a large venue that is a suitable substitute for an operational setting', a DHS spokesman said.

The DHS claims accuracy rates of around 70 per cent in lab tests but it is still analysing results and said more tests will be carried out.

Other critics have questioned the system’s effectiveness and raised concern that innocent people will be labelled as terrorists. Read More