Dennis J. Kucinich on John Gilmore's "suspected terrorist" adventure

After reading this, I catch myself thinking more about what wasn't said.

The security implications of our absurd new 'tighter security through profiling' bother me. It reminds me of the bayesian spam filtering that I use. It works well when you have a good balance of spam (terrorists) and ham (non-terrorists), but only because both the spam (terrorists) and the ham (non-terrorists) follow fairly predictable patterns.

Assuming that the people in charge of searching passengers have a fixed amount of time to search everyone, any kind of profiling ends up being a bad idea.

Especially given that you can look at your boarding pass and see if you've been selected for extra search treatment.

So, given that security resources are dedicated to people matching a known profile, that leaves less resources to search those who don't match the profile.

Thus, if a potential terrorist decides to be smart, our profiling systems actually make it easier to get past security than a pure random-search system would.


Airlines in general don't really make much sense to me. I suppose this is because they don't really operate in anything close to an ideal market.

I would be willing, for example, to pay more for actual security. If UPS and FedEx can track my packages, the airlines can track my luggage (guarantee that it is on the plane with me, and never loose it). AFAIK, the marginal cost for operating the plane isn't more if I don't stay over a weekend, so the airlines shouldn't be able to price-discriminate like that.

Oh well. (enough of me rambling)

Who ever said that the world supposed to operate rationally?

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