The Boston Globe has a story today on the use of behavior detection in aviation security screening, noting how the TSA initiative follows the Israeli model of behavior detection and that an initial pilot project at Logan Airport has expanded to other airports in the Northeast. The article notes:
The TSA is facing opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts last year claiming behavior detection can be easily abused because TSA officers have to guess who is suspicious, leading to racial profiling.
I get frustrated when I read things like this. This kind of “cry wolf” absolutism on civil liberties fails to examine the potential security benefits of a given initiative and rationally weigh it against the impact on civil liberties. And I always hear the ACLU criticizing homeland security activities, but I never hear them offering alternative proposals on how they would conduct security. Do they want watch list matching? (No.) Do they want risk-based profiling? (No.) Or registered traveler programs? (No.) Or something else? Do they really think that screening should be entirely random, and have a process where an 88-year old grandmother has the same chance of getting pulled aside as a young foreign citizen from a country with known terrorist connections?
I’d like to know.