Tuesday, August 02, 2011

'Pleased to Meet You, Hope You Guess My Name' And Other Innovations Coming to the TSA Checkpoints

...Or something like that.

The TSA has now published some details on its coming-your-way-soon "expanded behavior detection program," in which "specialized behavioral analysis techniques" will be used to determine if a traveler should be referred for additional screening at the checkpoint. The new procedure will be tested first in Boston.

Additional so-called behavior detection officers will be working the lines to do this sleuthing. Oh what fun!

The TSA says: "The vast majority of passengers at the pilot checkpoints will experience a 'casual greeting' conversation with a Behavior Detection Officer (BDO) as they go through identity verification. This enhanced interaction is used by security agencies worldwide and will enable officers to better verify or dispel suspicious behavior and anomalies."

I know, lots of people scoff at the assertion that TSA screeners, even with the three weeks of training they receive in behavior detection techniques, have the skills to really pull this off, without causing additional delays in the processing of passengers.

I am told that this program, once it's fully operational, will be operated by way of making the security hassle less asinine, with less of the security-theater farce we know so well as we watch fellow passengers get busted for a tube of toothpaste or watch a 98-year-old woman struggle out of her wheelchair to stand for the grope.

We shall see.

The TSA published this Q&A:

Q. How is the role of the BDO changed for this pilot program?
A. These BDOs have undergone additional specialized training in interviewing methods designed to identify travelers who display characteristic at the security checkpoint by engaging them in conversation. During the test phase these officers will focus on passenger interaction and behavior analysis in conjunction with the Travel Document Checking (TDC) process.

Q. What is the purpose of the pilot program?
A. This pilot program is part of a larger effort designed to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and customer experience of the security screening process by identifying potentially high-risk travelers and ensuring they receive the appropriate level of screening.

Q. Where will the pilot program take place?
A. The expanded behavior detection pilot program will begin at Boston Logan International Airport. During the pilot, BDOs will employ specialized behavioral analysis techniques to determine if a traveler should be referred for additional screening at the checkpoint.

Q. How soon before passengers see these types of BDOs at other airports?
A. TSA hopes to expand the pilot program to a few other airports this fall; however, the results of this pilot program at Logan Airport will determine our next steps.

Q. What should passengers expect at the checkpoint?
A. After a passenger’s travel documents are verified by a TDC officer, a BDO will briefly engage each passenger in conversation. If more information is needed, the officer will refer the passenger to a second BDO for a more throrough conversation to determine if additional screening is needed.



Anonymous said...

Just experienced this week at both Austin and JFK that the TSA agent checking ID asks your name. Of course, the one in JFK wasn't bothering to even look at people as they answered so I guess they are just trying to find the terrorist who will blurt out the their real name instead of the alias on their ID.

Jerry said...

Definitely were doing it at Jet Blue (T5) at JFK last week