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Homeland Security Programs to Read Minds and Emotions

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posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 03:30 PM
New "Malintent" software will analyze your facial expressions, as well as stuff like “heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration rate, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia,” to determine if you might be about to do something anti-social. Lovely.

This past February, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded a one-year, $2.6 million grant to the Cambridge, MA.-based Charles Stark Draper Laboratory to develop computerized sensors capable of detecting a person’s level of “malintent” — or intention to do harm. It’s only the most recent of numerous contracts awarded to Draper and assorted research outfits by the U.S. government over the past few years under the auspices of a project called “Future Attribute Screening Technologies,” or FAST. It’s the next wave of behavior surveillance from DHS and taxpayers have paid some $20 million on it so far.

Conceived as a cutting-edge counter-terrorism tool, the FAST program will ostensibly detect subjects’ bad intentions by monitoring their physiological characteristics, particularly those associated with fear and anxiety. It’s part of a broader “initiative to develop innovative, non-invasive technologies to screen people at security checkpoints,” according to DHS.

The “non-invasive” claim might be a bit of a stretch. A DHS report issued last December outlined some of the possible technological features of FAST, which include “a remote cardiovascular and respiratory sensor” to measure “heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration rate, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia,” a “remote eye tracker” that “uses a camera and processing software to track the position and gaze of the eyes (and, in some instances, the entire head),” “thermal cameras that provide detailed information on the changes in the thermal properties of the skin in the face,” and “a high resolution video that allows for highly detailed images of the face and body … and an audio system for analyzing human voice for pitch change.”

Ultimately, all of these components would be combined to take the form of a “prototypical mobile suite (FAST M2) … used to increase the accuracy and validity of identifying persons with malintent.”

Coupled with the Transportation Security Administration’s Behavior Detection Officers, 3,000 of whom are already scrutinizing travelers’ expressions and body language at airports and travel hubs nationwide, DHS officials say that FAST will add a potentially lifesaving layer of security to prevent another terrorist attack. “There’s only so much you can see with the naked eye,” DHS spokesperson John Verrico told AlterNet. “We can’t see somebody’s heart rate…. We may be able to see movements of the eye and changes in dilation of the pupil, but will those give us enough [information] to make a determination as to what we’re really seeing?”

Ideally, Verrico says, FAST mobile units would be used for security, not just at airports, but at “any sort of a large-scale event,” including sporting events or political rallies. (”When the Pope visited Washington D.C.,” he says, “it would have been nice to have something like this at the entrance of the stadium.”)

“Basically,” says Verrico, “we’re looking to give the security folks just some more tools that will help to add to their toolbox.”

More at

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 04:02 PM
So if someone farts too hard in an airport, and makes a contorted face, bang, terrorist. You're walking into a court house, and stub your toe on the way in, computer flags you as a jihadi. Holy hell, this reminds me of the simpsons episode where Flanders is the overlord of the world and everyone has to walk around smiling, or face "re-neducation"

[edit on 10-12-2009 by dashen]

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 04:16 PM
reply to post by silent thunder

What if someone is jittery or anxious just from drinking too much coffee or caffeine products? What about the elevated heart rate and stress levels of parents with unruly children and crying babies? What about the stressed out, perspiring, out-of-breath people who run trying to get to the gate on time? There are lots of reasons for physiological changes due to stress that are in no way related to terroristic thoughts.

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 05:37 PM
Freedom in the United States is an illusion.

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 05:45 PM
oooh I'm in trouble!!! Because I'm one of the most stressed out travelers you'll ever meet. I'm anxious and nervous just because I have to sit in a sardine can that flies in the air and is known to sometimes crash, not to mention all the other worries I pack with me when I travel. I hope their computer is pyschic enough to know the difference between ill intent and normal human emotions and thoughts.

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 05:52 PM
Personally I'm going to travel in a clown suit from now on. Nobody messes with clowns. The white paint, red nose, and gag gigantic sunglasses, hide facial expressions, too.

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 06:04 PM
This is a way to target anyone that is awake and aware. Think about it...if you are asleep as to their intentions you will feel safe going through check points and anxiety at all. Now if you are awake and aware of these issues you will not be comfortable with check points, and now they will be able to stop you for extended time frames to harass you.

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 07:45 PM

Be sure to keep your eye out on when they plan to implement this and invest accordingly. Also I'm sure a well executed class-action suit would stop this in their tracks, this is profiling just with technology and instead of people.

Of course that is if the country still exists by then.

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 07:52 PM
reply to post by silent thunder

Project Hostile Intent - the real 'Minority Report'

Being targeted for what could be very common anxieties and treated like a criminal for something we haven't yet done.

posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 12:49 AM
I once read a biography of a famous smuggler. He said that in order to counteract the natural nervousness of going through airports, checkpoints, etc., at such times he'd run a sexual fantasy in his head. It would relax him and make him seem less stressed out or nervous to those in charge of monitoring his behavior.

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