Airport International News - September 2007
‘Terrorist‘ Security Cameras for UK Airports
Posted by Paul Fiddian on 10/09/2007 - 16:56:50
It was reported on the 9th September 2007 that cameras capable of picking out potential terrorists will be installed imminently across the UK’s airport network. The cameras in question, which are already part of standard airport security in the US, will be set up to record passengers at check in areas. Their entry into airport service is, according to the Scotland on Sunday, merely months away.
The cameras work on the principle of so-called behavioural screening, in which passengers’ body language is assessed, with alerts subsequently raised and passed to security workers. The analysis extends to mannerisms, facial expressions and even excessive levels of perspiration – all key indicators of anxiety or nerves. The epicentre of the technology behind the cameras’ ability to detect possible terrorist threats is an internal database, programmed with regular human actions. When in operation, the cameras identify and, therefore, rule out “normal” interaction, conversation, etc. However, they lock on to behaviour deemed irregular. The range of criteria which they file under irregular goes from picking up on screams, to an adult progressing rapidly through the airport.
They are so advanced that they can distinguish between 10,000 separate ‘microexpressions’, as well as fluctuations in the temperature of the skin.
In addition to this, the cameras can recognise individual characters and known criminals – a process that takes just seconds.
The new system deliberately focuses on the most populated areas of airports, given that these are considered the sites most prone to suicide bomber attacks. As Airport International has stressed for some time, passengers at check in are inherently more vulnerable there, given that no screening takes place at airport entrances. Therefore, potential terrorists have a clear path to destruction before being examined at Security. The problem is exacerbated by the current state of a large number of airports in the UK, with check in delays creating long lines of targets.
The number of cameras designated to any one check in area will be based on its size, but will be restricted to about four. Their rapid analytical ability allows operation to take place, even when hundreds of people pass through the viewfinder.
In conversation with the Scotland on Sunday, one senior figure within the airport security sector confirmed: “The cameras will be phased in over the next few months across the UK as part of a rolling programme of new anti-terror initiatives”
He continued: “These cameras will help passengers at all UK airports enjoy a new level of safety and will provide the authorities with a vital tool to tackle the terror threat. They have been used already in other parts of the world and so it is only natural that the government here would want something similar.”
Source – Airport International’s Sub Editor
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