Sunday, December 7, 2008

Meet MALINTENT - Homeland Security's *mind-reading* system

The following was written by my chiropractor, Dr. Aaron Hinde of Scotts Valley, CA. Although I have not formally asked his permission to transcribe this, I doubt he would mind. All bold type is Dr. Hinde's. The interpretation of the facts that Dr. Hinde provides is not necessarily the opinion of this blog poster.

Imagine this: You're walking through the airport really fast because you're running late and trying to get to the gate on time, before your flight takes off without you. You reach the security but instead of a long, drawn out process that includes a baggage search - you simply pass through a body scanner that...

Reads Your Mind!

I hope you have pleasant thoughts while you pass through the scanner... because... even though this sounds like science fiction - it's not.

Believe it or not, this technology is being tested and perfected as you read this [blog post - DK]!

What this is all about: Most preventative screening looks for explosives or metals that pose a threat. But a new system called MALINTENT turns this old school approach on its head. This Orwellian-sounding machine detects the person - not the device - set to wreak havoc and terror.

MALINTENT, the brainchild of the cutting-edge Human Factors Division in Homeland Security's Directorate for Science and Technology, searches your body for non-verbal cues that predict whether you mean harm to your fellow passengers.

It has a series of sensors and images that read your body temperature, heart rate and respiration for unconscious signs invisible to the naked eye - signals terrorists and criminals may display in advance of an attack.

But this is no polygraph test. Subjects do not get hooked up or strapped down for a careful reading; those sensors do all the work without any actual physical contact. It's like an X-ray for bad intentions.

Currently, all the sensors and equipment are packaged inside a mobile screening laboratory about the size of a trailer or large truck bed, and just last month, Homeland Security put it to a field test in Maryland, scanning 144 (mostly unwitting) human subjects.

Results of the test are being kept very "hush-hush!"

Here's how it all works: When the sensors identify that something is off, they transmit warning data to analysts, who decide whether or not to flag passengers for further questioning. The next step involves microfacial scanning, a measurement of minute muscle movements in the face for clues about mood and intention.

Homeland Security has developed a system to recognize, define and measure seven primary emotions and emotional cues that are reflected in contractions of facial muscles. MALINTENT identifies these emotions and relays the information back to a security screener, almost in real-time.

This whole security array - the scanners and screeners who make up the mobile lab - is called "Future Attribute Screening Technology" - or FAST - because it is designed to get passengers through security in two to four minutes, and often faster.

If you're rushed or stressed, you may send out signals of anxiety, but FAST isn't fooled. It's already good enough to tell the difference between a harried traveler and a terrorist. Even if you sweat heavily by nature, FAST won't mistake you for someone with bad intentions.

Bob Burns, MALINTENT's project leader, said that this is not Big Brother. Its goal is to "restore a sense of freedom." Once MALINTENT is rolled out in airports, it could give us a future where we can once again wander onto planes with super-sized cosmetics and all the bottles of water we can carry - and most importantly without that sense of foreboding that has haunted Americans since Sept. 11.

That's a nice thought.

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