Enjoy your flight – while we analyze you

In yet another revelation, it appears that all passengers on domestic US flights are routinely tracked and analysed by facial and motion recognition systems. The program named ‘Quiet Skies’ is designed to help “thwarting threats to commercial aircraft posed by unknown or partially known terrorists”. The Transportation Security Administration, and the US Federal Air Marshal Service  are having a long day to tell journos why it wasn’t announced when initiated in 2010.

Apparently, the program is involving some kind of AI-driven trickery to select persons of interest and then based on the decision a team of human assets are deployed to keep track of the subject. While it caused some media uproar, there really is absoultely no news in it, since for the last five decades it has been pretty obvious that a profiling of the incoming passengers do occur.

Also, in the last decade all public places where foot traffic is plenty similar (or way better) systems has been installed and are used real-time. Since terror threat became a good calling card accross the globe there is virtually no transport hub or shopping center without such a security feature. And recently all the active digital CCTV systems are upgraded with facial recognition functionality, partly because the aformentioned terror threat and partly because well-connected big-time tech companies started a sales drive to sell as many systems as they could. With their promises of security wrapped in flashy brochures who could resist the temptation?

Also, it is a quite normal thing that the Air Marshals themselves don’t like the Quiet Skies thing at all. Law people usually like to watch others, but when it comes to the prospect of someone watching them… well, it usually is a different game.

What is tell-tale however, is that seemingly Air Marshals had to complement the augmented reality with the age-old pen-and-paper questionnaire. So, where is the breaktrough technologies really are – some might ask…

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