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The aim of one company that blends high technology and behavioral psychology is hinted at in its name, WeCU — as in "We See You." The system that Israeli-based WeCU Technologies has devised and is testing in Israel projects images onto airport screens, such as symbols associated with a certain terrorist group or some other image only a would-be terrorist would recognize, said company CEO Ehud Givon. The logic is that people can't help reacting, even if only subtly, to familiar images that suddenly appear in unfamiliar places. If you strolled through an airport and saw a picture of your mother, Givon explained, you couldn't help but respond. The reaction could be a darting of the eyes, an increased heartbeat, a nervous twitch or faster breathing, he said.
Proponents of these new brain-fingerprinting technologies say that they will be speedier for passengers, they are less expensive that other security methods, and they are more effective than profiling because they don’t discriminate by race and religion. Proponents are looking for non-intrusive security options and say that once these technologies are in place, “a passenger may pass through a security screening without realizing it.” According to CNN, WeCU Technologies received grants from the Transportation Security Administration within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The hope is to discover internal terroristic threats from airline employees. For example, passengers could use an automated check-in system or gaze at a screen with departures information without realizing they've just been exposed to the words "Islamic jihad" written in Arabic. These stimuli, explains Givon, will intrinsically elicit some sort of biometric response -- whether the passenger knows it or not -- that can be picked up by WeCU's strategically placed sensors.
"Islamic jihad" written in Arabic.
The logic is that people can't help reacting, even if only subtly, to familiar images that suddenly appear in unfamiliar places
JERUSALEM, May 29 (Reuters) - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Thursday he will seek to adopt novel Israeli methods, like behaviour-detection technologies, to better secure America's airports.
"That's a scenario where Israel has a lot of experience," Chertoff said in an interview with Reuters. "I think that it is of interest to us to see if there is any adaptation there."
Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, known for its strict security measures, relies heavily on techniques that detect suspicious behaviour among travellers.
Chertoff said such methods, as well as Israeli technologies that detect explosives, are some of the things that may help protect U.S. airports and other public places against attacks.
Chertoff, at a conference in Jerusalem for public and homeland security ministers from around the world, signed an agreement with Israel to share technology and information on methods to improve homeland security.
One of the new systems presented at the conference, developed by the Israeli technology company WeCU, uses behavioural science, together with biometric sensors, to detect sinister intentions among travellers.