Behavioural Detection at Events- In the UK, the development of behavioural detection within events has been brought to fruition due to the continued threat of a terror attack. A service that was provided by trained police officers, the acceptance that private security providers will now play a role in this is common.
Behavioural Detection Officers (BDO’s) , look for the subtle signs that may indicate that a person does not fit in with those around them. This could be detecting persons involved in pick pocketing (theft), mobile phone theft, drug dealers to terror threats. As with many roles within events, the deployed private security providers take an an active role in this provision. Unlike the police though, the understanding of the role and the training required is still developing and growing.
We can look at other areas of security though that have been successfully using the techniques and skills learned. To understand the field the most prominent area that deploys Behavioural Detection Officers in aviation; airport security. We will provide you with material to gain a better understanding of the skill set to achieve a valid operation.

Published on Jan 25, 2011


The Benefits of Positive Passenger Profiling on Baggage Screening Requirements

Russell Shaver, Michael Kennedy


This research addresses airport security needs over the longer term; namely, how best to balance in the future the two principal criteria that are commonly put forward for sizing the machine deployments at individual airports. These two criteria—keeping the cost to the government of acquiring, installing, and operating the baggage scanning equipment as low as possible and not seriously disrupting the passenger flow through the airport—are in conflict because lowering passenger disruption requires more machines and thus more program cost. In this research, we present a methodology for balancing the two criteria and thus for answering the question, How much (baggage scanning equipment) is enough?

Scientific Substantiation of Behavioral Indicators

Transportation Security Administration

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – Scientific Substantiation of Behavioral Indicators

Executive Summary

This report contains a detailed discussion on the scientific evidence for the continued use of behavior indicators as a method to identify terrorists. It provides the background for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Behavior Detection program and the scientific substantiation. This report supplies the current state of the Behavior Detection program, the implementation of a revised behavior detection protocol, and subsequent plans to test behavior detection rigorously.

Verbal and Nonverbal Clues for Real-life Deception Detection

Verbal and Nonverbal Clues for Real-life Deception Detection

Ver´onica P´erez-Rosas, Mohamed Abouelenien, Rada Mihalcea,

Yao Xiao, CJ Linton, Mihai

University of Michigan


Deception detection has been receiving an increasing amount of attention from the computational linguistics, speech, and multimodal processing communities. One of the major challenges encountered in this task is the availability of data, and most of the research work to date has been conducted on acted or artificially collected data. The generated deception models are thus lacking real-world evidence. In this paper, we explore the use of multimodal real-life data for the task of deception detection. We develop a new deception dataset consisting of videos from real life scenarios, and build deception tools relying on verbal and nonverbal features. We achieve classification accuracies in the range of 77-82% when using a model that extracts and fuses features from the linguistic and visual modalities. We show that these results outperform the human capability of identifying deceit.


Using Behavioral Indicators to Help Detect Potential Violent Acts

A Review of the Science Base


Paul K. Davis, Walter L. Perry, Ryan Andrew Brown, Douglas Yeung,

Parisa Roshan, Phoenix Voorhies


This report reviews the scientific literature relating to observable behavioural indicators that might, along with other information, help detect potential attacks, such as those by suicide terrorists or the laying of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The report is intended to be of interest to officials contemplating future investments amidst tightening budgets, and to researchers and analysts. It deals with individual-level indicators and does not extend to detecting society-level phenomena, such as social movements or insurgent groups.

Discretion and fairness in airport security screening


Cynthia Lum * , Peter Zachary Crafton , Rebecca Parsons , Dale Beech , Tarren Smarr and

Michael Connors

Department of Criminology, Law and Society, Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, George Mason

University , 4400 University Drive, MS 6D12, Fairfax , Virginia 22030 , USA .


This study reports the fi ndings of a fi eld survey asking more than 500 passengers at a large East Coast international airport about their experiences while going through airport security. Although existing research shows that metal detectors and baggage screening can be effective in reducing the likelihood of violence at airports and on planes, the fairness of such procedures has yet to be fully examined. While all passengers must be screened, there can also be discretion in airport security regarding whether passengers receive additional screening and how they perceive they are being treated. Findings indicate differences between racial groups and treatment, with nonwhites more likely to receive additional screening, have more items confiscated, feel embarrassed, and less likely to be provided an explanation for searches. Policy recommendations are suggested.

Behavioural Detection as a Security Measure

Behavioural Detection-as-a-Security-Measure

IFALPA The Global Voice of Pilots


Over the last decades, States have developed an array of security procedures to prevent acts of unlawful interference against civil aviation. Likewise, new technologies have emerged, such as new generation metal detectors and Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) equipment. However, these systems remain very costly and time-consuming when applied to all passengers. Some of the most efficient methods are actually applied to only a selection of persons, usually selected on a random basis. Alongside such selection, it is also possible to apply a system based on analyzing behaviour to categorize passengers. This allows baseline measures to be applied to some passengers, and additional measures to others.



Mark G. Frank and Melissa A. Menasco

University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York

Maureen O’Sullivan

University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California


Human intelligence is the key to stopping terrorism, and therefore it is essential to know when the information obtained is false. This article briefly outlines the research on behavioral clues to deception, as well as research on people’s abilities to spot deception once it has happened. We find that there is no clue or clue pattern that is specific to deception, although there are clues specific to emotion and cognition. In general, behavioral clues are only limited in their abilities to identify deception and that there are still behavioral measurement issues that may plague research on deception. Moreover, a closer examination of the laboratory research suggests that many research studies are not relevant to security contexts, thus the research literature may underestimate the usefulness of behavioral information—particularly for the utility of identifying emotional and cognitive states. We also find that most people, unaided by technology, cannot detect lies from behavioral information, but that some groups do show significantly higher levels of accuracy—although more research is needed to understand why. We conclude that a more directed interaction with scientists and practitioners—in both lab work and in the real world, in creating real-world databases, identifying base rates for malfeasant behavior in security settings, optimizing training, and identifying preexisting excellence within security organizations can more rapidly capitalize on the usefulness of behavioral information in security settings.


ECAC Behaviour Detection Strategy (November 2016)


1. In 2011, the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) established the Behaviour Detection Study Group (BDSG) to facilitate the exchange of information, validation results, and best practices among States with active anomalous behaviour detection (BD) programmes in civil aviation environments. While applied methodologies, practices, and processes vary within each State’s programme, all share similar characteristics as an optimised, flexible tool that has been integrated into its current aviation security regime.

 Behavioral Profiling at U.S. Airports 

Harcourt OpEd Behavioral Profiling Longer Version

 © Bernard E. Harcourt

 Behavioral profiling is the latest development in U.S. airport security. The Transportation Security Administration began experimenting with the technique last December at about a dozen airports. At each, six T.S.A. employees who had once been routine screeners were given four days of classroom training, three days of field practice, and sent out to identify suspicious passengers.

Passenger Profiling, Imperfect Screening, and Airport Security

Passenger Pro…ling Imperfect Screening and Airport Security

by Nicola Persico and Petra E. Todd

The need for greater airport security has recently led to major changes in passenger screening procedures. One important change is the development of a Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening System (CAPPS II), a new tool to select passengers for screening. When boarding cards are issued, CAPPS confirms passengers identities, performs criminal and credit checks, and retrieves additional information, such as residence, home ownership, income, and patterns of travel and purchases, used to construct a predicted threat rating. Passengers with elevated ratings are subject to searches and baggage inspections and may be questioned. Some other passengers are searched at random. These pro.ling measures have been challenged in lawsuits alleging unlawful discrimination. Some also question the effectiveness of profiling strategies relative to random searches. A second change in airport security has been an effort to select higher ability screeners and to improve their training

(see e.g. U.S. General Accounting Office 2004).

Democracy Now!

 Published on Mar 30, 2015

Statistical profiling to predict the biosecurity risk presented by non-compliant international passengers

Statistical profiling to predict

Stephen E Lane, Richard Gao, Matthew Chisholm, and Andrew P Robinson

Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010,


Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia

February 15, 2017


Biosecurity risk material (BRM) presents a clear and significant threat to national and international environmental and economic assets. Intercepting BRM carried by non-compliant international passengers is a key priority of border biosecurity services. Global travel rates are constantly increasing, which complicates this important responsibility, and necessitates judicious intervention. Selection of passengers for intervention is generally performed manually, and the quality of the selection depends on the experience and judgement of the officer making the selection. In this article we report on a case study to assess the predictive ability of statistical profiling methods that predict non-compliance with biosecurity regulations using data obtained from regulatory documents as inputs. We then evaluate the performance arising from using risk predictions to select higher risk passengers for screening. We find that both prediction performance and screening higher risk passengers from regulatory documents are superior to manual and random screening, and recommend that authorities further investigate statistical profiling for efficient intervention of biosecurity risk material on incoming passengers.

One Size Does Not Fit All: A Game-Theoretic Approach for Dynamically and Effectively Screening for Threats


Matthew Brown, Arunesh Sinha, Aaron Schlenker, Milind Tambe

University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA

fmattheab, aruneshs, aschlenk,


An effective way of preventing attacks in secure areas is to screen for threats (people, objects) before entry, e.g., screening of airport passengers. However, screening every entity at the same level may be both ineffective and undesirable. The challenge then is to find a dynamic approach for randomized screening, allowing for more effective use of limited screening resources, leading to improved security. We address this challenge with the following contributions: (1) a threat screening game (TSG) model for general screening domains; (2) an NP-hardness proof for computing the optimal strategy of TSGs; (3) a scheme for decomposing TSGs into subgames to improve scalability; (4) a novel algorithm that exploits a compact game representation to efficiently solve TSGs, providing the optimal solution under certain conditions; and (5) an empirical comparison of our proposed algorithm against the current state-ofthe– art optimal approach for large-scale game-theoretic resource allocation problems.

Are Emerging Technologies in Airport Passenger Screening Reasonable under the Fourth


Are Emerging Technologies in Airport Passenger Screening Reasonab

Sara Kornblatt

Loyola Marymount University and Loyola Law School Digital Commons at Loyola Marymount

University and Loyola Law School

September 11, 2001 ushered in a new era in a multitude of ways. At the forefront is the issue of airport security and passenger screening. The United States faces the task of protecting our citizens, our buildings, our skies, and our country from another attack similar to that harrowing day that changed America forever. Technologies have emerged to help thwart a future strike. Airports across the nation have started to implement some of these technologies. Americans now may be subject to “backscatter xrays“‘ and “explosive trace portals ‘ 2 prior to boarding aircraft at our nation’s airports. These tools present a tenuous balancing act between the need for national security and citizens’ constitutional rights against warrantless searches and seizures as afforded by the Fourth Amendment.


Behavioral Science and Security: Evaluating TSA’s SPOT Program



10:00 A.M.—12:00 P.M.



The Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight meets on April 6, 2011 to examine the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) efforts to incorporate behavioral science into its transportation security architecture. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been criticized for failing to scientifically validate the Screening of Passengers by Observational Techniques (SPOT) program before operationally deploying it. SPOT is a TSA program that employs Behavioral Detection Officers (BDO) at airport terminals for the purpose of detecting behavioral based indicators of threats to aviation security. The hearing will examine the state of behavioral science as it relates to the detection of terrorist threats to the air transportation system, as well as its utility to identify criminal offenses more broadly. The hearing will examine several independent reports-one by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), two by the National Research Council, and a number of Defense and Intelligence Community advisory board reports on the state of behavioral science relative to the detection of emotion, deceit, and intent in controlled laboratory settings, as well as in an operational environment. The Subcommittee will evaluate the initial development of the SPOT program, the steps taken to validate the science that form the foundation of the program, as well as the capabilities and limitations of using behavioral science in a transportation setting. More broadly, the hearing will also explore the behavioral science research efforts throughout DHS.

How Effective Is Security Screening of Airline Passengers?


Susan E. Martonosi

Department of Mathematics, Harvey Mudd College, 301 Platt Boulevard,

Claremont, California 91711,

Arnold Barnett

Operations Research Center, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, E53-379, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139,

With a simple mathematical model, we explored the antiterrorist effectiveness of airport passenger prescreening systems. Supporters of these systems often emphasize the need to identify the most suspicious passengers, but they ignore the point that such identification does little good unless dangerous items can actually be detected. Critics often focus on terrorists’ ability to probe the system and thereby thwart it, but ignore the possibility that the very act of probing can deter attempts at sabotage that would have succeeded. Using the model to make some preliminary assessments about security policy, we find that an improved baseline level of screening for all passengers might lower the likelihood of attack more than would improved profiling of high-risk passengers.

Airport Security from a Passenger’s Perspective



The level of airport security has increased significantly in recent years. Most of these security measures were taken due to incidents such as the Lockerbie bombing and the 9/11 attacks. The measures influence all parties involved in the aviation industry.

Published on Feb 16, 2016

 Evaluation of the effectiveness of an airport passenger and baggage security screening system 

Evaluation of the effectiveness of an airport passenger and baggage security screening system-1

Abstract Airport security managers need methods to quantify changes in secu-rity level to prevent terrorist attacks. This study presents a method using a fuzzy inference system to assess the overall effectiveness of prohibited items detec-tion during passenger and baggage security screening. The results show that the screening system performance can be improved from medium to high by up-grading screening devices at hold baggage checkpoints and by increasing the frequency of training sessions. In the case of increased risk of terrorist attacks an obligation to control 20 per cent of passengers manually complemented by a 30 per cent increase in the sensitivity of metal detectors increases system per-formance to very high detection level. On the positive side our results show that these results can be achieved with minimum financial outlays, while on the negative sides system throughput is somewhat reduced. Overall our results show that screening performance can be improved substantially, but as the re-quired performance level rises there is a trade-off with system throughput and personnel training costs

A Mathematical Framework for Sequential Passenger and Baggage Screening to Enhance Aviation Security


Hande Sahin, Qianmei Feng

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204, USA


To enhance security at both national and global levels, airport security screening systems must be designed with high efficiency and effectiveness, which are affected by both screening technologies and operational procedures for utilizing those technologies. The operational efficiency and aviation security can be enhanced if an effective passenger prescreening system is integrated into the baggage screening system. In this paper, passenger information is incorporated into a two-level checked-baggage screening system to determine the screening strategy for different subsets of passengers. By deploying a passenger prescreening system, this paper considers selectively applying baggage screening procedures for 100% screening. Since new image-based screening technologies differ widely in cost and accuracy, a comprehensive mathematical framework is developed in this paper for selecting technology or combination of technologies for efficient 100% baggage screening. The objective is to determine the optimal combination of technologies and the setting of threshold values for these screening technologies as well. Probability and optimization techniques are used to quantify and evaluate the risk and cost-effectiveness of various device deployment configurations, which are captured by using a system life-cycle cost model. Numerical analysis for all possible system arrangements is demonstrated.

Risk and economic assessment of expedited passenger screening and TSA PreCheck


Mark G. Stewart & John Mueller

Received: 25 August 2016 /Accepted: 14 November 2016

# Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016


The Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program allows airline passengers assessed as low risk to be directed to faster screening lanes. The paper assesses the scenario of a terrorist plot to down an airliner with a passenger-borne bomb. There are four main conclusions. First, we find that the layered system currently in place reduces the risk of such an attack by 98% – and probably by quite a bit more. Second, this level of risk reduction is very robust: security remains high even when the parameters that make it up are varied considerably. In particular, because of the large array of other security layers, overall risk reduction is relatively insensitive to how effective checkpoint screening is. Third, under most realistic combinations of parameter values PreCheck actually increases risk reduction, perhaps up to 1%, while under the worst assumptions, it lowers risk reduction by some 0.3%. Fourth, the co-benefits of the PreCheck program are very substantial: by greatly reducing checkpoint costs and by improving the passenger experience, this benefit can exceed several billion dollars per year.We also find that adding random exclusion and managed inclusion to the PreCheck program has little effect on the program’s risk reducing capability one way or the other. TSA PreCheck thus seems likely to bring efficiencies to the screening process and great benefits to passengers, airports, and airlines while actually enhancing security.

Analysis of Airport Security Screening Checkpoints using Queuing Networks and Discrete Event Simulation: A Theoretical and Empirical Approach

Analysis of Airport Security Screening Checkpoints using Queuing

Stephen Louis Dorton

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach


This study utilized discrete event simulation (DES) and queuing networks to investigate the effects of baggage volume and alarm rate at the Security Screening Checkpoint (SSCP) of a small origin and destination airport. A Jackson queuing network was considered for a theoretical assessment to SSCP performance. A DES model using Arena version 12 was utilized for an empirical approach. Data was collected from both literature and by manual collection methods. Manual data was collected during the peak operating time of 6am7am local time at the airport being modeled. The simulation model was verified and validated qualitatively and quantitatively by statistical testing before experimentation. After validation, a sensitivity analysis was performed on baggage volume of passengers (PAX) and the alarm rate of baggage screening devices, where SSCP throughput and PAX cycle time were the dependent measures. The theoretical queuing network approach proved an accurate method of predicting cycle time, but only under limited steady-state conditions. The empirical model and sensitivity analysis showed that SSCP performance is highly sensitive to alarm rate in both throughput and cycle time. Furthermore, empirical modeling and sensitivity analysis showed that SSCP performance was moderately sensitive to alarm rate, and completely resilient to the effects of baggage volume. Practical implications and future directions were also discussed at the conclusion of the study.

Ethnic Profiling In Airport Screening: Lessons From Israel, 1968–2010


Badi Hasisi, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Yoram Margalioth,

Tel Aviv University, and Liav Orgad, The Interdisciplinary Center,

Radzyner School of Law

We interviewed a random sample of 918 passengers—308 Israeli Jews, 306 Palestinians who are Israeli citizens (Israeli Arabs), and 304 non-Israelis—post check-in, at Ben-Gurion Airport, in an effort to learn about the individual and social cost incurred by the Israeli Arabs going through the security process. The article discusses what we learned from the survey and draws some policy implications. This is the first time such a survey was administered. (JEL: Z18, K00, H10)

The Analysis of Nonverbal Communication: The Dangers of Pseudoscience in Security and Justice Contexts

Vincent Denault, Pierrich Plusquellec, Louise M. Jupe, Michel St-Yves, Norah E. Dunbar, Maria Hartwig, Siegfried L. Sporer, Jessica Rioux-Turcotte, Jonathan Jarry, Dave Walsh, Henry Otgaar, Andrei Viziteu, Victoria Talwar, David A. Keatley, Iris Blandón-Gitlin, Clint Townson, Nadine Deslauriers-Varin, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Miles L. Patterson, Igor Areh, Alfred Allan, Hilary Evans Cameron, Rémi Boivin, Leanne ten Brinke, Jaume Masip, Ray Bull, Mireille Cyr, Lorraine Hope, Leif A. Strömwall, Stephanie J. Bennett, Faisal Al Menaiya, Richard A. Leo, Annelies Vredeveldt, Marty Laforest, Charles R. Honts, Antonio L. Manzanero, Samantha Mann, Pär-Anders Granhag, Karl Ask, Fiona Gabbert, Jean-Pierre Guay, Alexandre Coutant, Jeffrey Hancock, Valerie Manusov, Judee K. Burgoon, Steven M. Kleinman, Gordon Wright, Sara Landström, Ian Freckelton, Zarah Vernham, and Peter J. van Koppen


For security and justice professionals (e.g., police officers, lawyers, judges), the thousands of peer-reviewed articles on nonverbal communication represent important sources of knowledge. However, despite the scope of the scientific work carried out on this subject, professionals can turn to programs, methods, and approaches that fail to reflect the state of science. The objective of this article is to examine (i) concepts of nonverbal communication conveyed by these programs, methods, and approaches, but also (ii) the consequences of their use (e.g., on the life or liberty of individuals). To achieve this objective, we describe the scope of scientific research on nonverbal communication. A program (SPOT; Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques), a method (the BAI; Behavior Analysis Interview) and an approach (synergology) that each run counter to the state of science are examined. Finally, we outline five hypotheses to explain why some organizations in the fields of security and justice are turning to pseudoscience and pseudoscientific techniques. We conclude the article by inviting these organizations to work with the international community of scholars who have scientific expertise in nonverbal communication and lie (and truth) detection to implement evidence-based practices.

Deception Detection through Automatic, Unobtrusive Analysis of Nonverbal Behavior

Thomas O. Meservy, Matthew L. Jensen, John Kruse, Judee K. Burgoon, and Jay F. Nunamaker Jr., University of Arizona

Douglas P. Twitchell, Illinois State University
Gabriel Tsechpenakis and Dimitris N. Metaxas, Rutgers University


Every day, hundreds of thousands of people pass through airport security checkpoints, border crossing stations, or other security screening measures. Security professionals must sift through countless interactions and ferret out high-risk individuals who represent a danger to other citizens. During each interaction, the security professional must decide whether the individual is being forthright or deceptive. This task is difficult because of the limits of human vigilance and perception and the small percentage of individuals who actually harbor hostile intent. Our research initiative is based on a behavioral approach to deception detection. We attempted to build an automated system that can infer deception or truthfulness from a set of features extracted from head and hands movements in a video. A validated and reliable behaviorally based deception analysis system could potentially have great impacts in augmenting humans’ abilities to assess credibility. An automated, unobtrusive system identifies behavioral patterns that indicate deception from nonverbal behavioral cues and classifies deception and truth more accurately than many humans.

Applying the Verifiability Approach in an International Airport Setting


Louise M Jupe
Sharon Leal
Aldert Vrij
Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth, UK Galit Nahari
Department of Criminology. Bar-Ilan University, Israel


In the current study we tested the utility of applying the Verifiability Approach within an International airport setting. The Verifiability Approach works on the notion that truth tellers provide more verifiable details than liars and has shown to be successful within other empirical deception detection scenarios. 399 airside participants (those originating from Europe, Asia and African) were asked questions regarding their travel plans. We asked participants to either lie (n = 195) or tell the truth (n = 204) about their planned activities. The critical question required participants to provide information that would convince the investigator they were telling the truth. We then transcribed and coded their responses for verifiable details; that is details that could potentially be checked by an investigator. Overall, truth tellers provided significantly more verifiable details than liars. Furthermore, when taking their geographical origin into account, there was no interaction effect between veracity and region. Additionally, truth tellers provided a higher verifiable/total detail ratio than liars, which again showed no interaction effect between veracity and region. These findings support the suitability of the Verifiability Approach as a cross-cultural veracity tool and implications for its use as an additional security aid are discussed.

Finding a needle in a haystack: Towards a psychologically-informed method for aviation security screening

Thomas C. Ormerod,  Coral J.Dando

Department of Psychology, University of Surrey, UK.Department of Psychology, University of Wolverhampton, UK.


Current aviation security systems identify behavioural indicators of deception to assess risks to flights, but they lack a strong psychological basis or empirical validation. We present a new method that tests the veracity of passenger accounts. In an in-vivo double-blind randomised-control trial conducted in international airports, security agents detected 66% of deceptive passengers using the veracity test method compared with less than 5% using behavioural indicator recognition. As well as revealing advantages of veracity testing over behavioural indicator identification, the study provides the highest levels to date of deception detection in a realistic setting where the known base rate of deceptive individuals is low.

Executing Facial Control During Deception Situations


Carolyn M. Hurley Mark G. Frank


Behavioral countermeasures are the strategies engaged by liars to deliberately control face or body behavior to fool lie catchers. To date research has not shown whether deceivers can suppress elements of their facial expression as a behavioral countermeasure. This study examined whether participants could suppress facial actions such as eyebrow movements or smiles on command when under scrutiny by a lie catcher. The results derived from micro momentary coding revealed that facial actions can be reduced, but not eliminated, and that instructions to suppress one element of the expression resulted in reduction in all facial movement, regardless of veracity. The resulting implications for security contexts are discussed.

From Non-Places to Non-Events:
The Airport Security Checkpoint

Ole Pütz


In this article I raise the question of how individuals avoid interaction in spite of bodily proximity. I consider the empirical case of the airport security checkpoint. Drawing on participant observation of nine different airports, my research focuses on the security checkpoints of a small German airport. I suggest that the security checkpoint functions as a junction of security and mobility where screeners and travelers cannot avoid physical contact. Guided by the insights of Goffman and Augé, my analysis reveals that practices akin to civil inattention, which are based on the avoidance of interaction, create the experience of a non-place through “non-events.” A precondition for non-events is the standardization of procedures at the checkpoint, which creates a visual and sequential order. Strict procedural rules allow screeners and travelers to disconnect the body of the traveller temporarily from the traveller as an individual. Screeners and travellers practically achieve this disconnection by minimizing face-to-face interaction, thereby avoiding problematic definitions of the situation. This practice, however, results in discrimination against travelers who are unable or unwilling to present their body as a normalized and passive body. My findings thus point to the ability of organizationally framed settings, like the security checkpoint, to deviate from public life, while also addressing the limits of such a deviation. In concluding, I discuss the utility of the concept of non-places along with the merits of interactional analysis for understanding consequences of technological and procedural change. I also consider the efficiency of security practices from a dramaturgical perspective.

Verbal and Nonverbal Clues for Real-life Deception Detection


Vero ́nica Pe ́rez-Rosas, Mohamed Abouelenien, Rada Mihalcea,
Yao Xiao, CJ Linton, Mihai Burzo


Deception detection has been receiving an increasing amount of attention from the computational linguistics, speech, and multimodal processing communities. One of the major challenges encountered in this task is the availability of data, and most of the research work to date has been conducted on acted or artificially collected data. The generated deception models are thus lacking real-world evidence. In this paper, we explore the use of multimodal real-life data for the task of deception detection. We develop a new deception dataset consisting of videos from real-life scenarios, and build deception tools relying on verbal and nonverbal features. We achieve classification accuracies in the range of 77-82% when using a model that extracts and fuses features from the linguistic and visual modalities. We show that these results outperform the human capability of identifying deceit.

See no evil: Cognitive challenges of security surveillance and monitoring


Helen M. Hodgetts, François Vachon, Cindy Chamberland, and Sébastien Tremblay


While the development of intelligent technologies in security surveillance can augment human capabilities, they do not replace the role of the operator entirely; as such, when developing surveillance support it is critical that limitations to the cognitive system are taken into account. The current article reviews the cognitive challenges associated with the task of a CCTV operator: visual search and cognitive/perceptual overload, attentional failures, vulnerability to distraction, and decision-making in a dynamically evolving environment. While not directly applied to surveillance issues, we suggest that the NSEEV (noticing salience, effort, expectancy, value) model of attention could provide a useful theoretical basis for understanding the challenges faced in detection and monitoring tasks. Having identified cognitive limitations of the human operator, this review sets out a research agenda for further understanding the cognitive functioning related to surveillance, and highlights the need to consider the human element at the design stage when developing technological solutions to security surveillance.

Bombs, bodies, and biopolitics: securitizing the subject at the airport security checkpoint

Lauren L. Martin

The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) broadcasts the following warning in airports around the country: ‘Making jokes or statements regarding bombs and/or threats during the screening process may be grounds for both civil and criminal penalties and could cause you to miss your flight.’ Despite the warning, people continue to be arrested for making jokes about bombs, anthrax, and security policy. This paper examines the persistence of these disciplinary mechanisms in the context of the deterritorialized risk analysis, biometric identity banking, and ‘network thinking’ that characterize state security regimes. The article first describes how TSA has incorporated theories of complex adaptive systems, networks, and emergence into its strategy. Second, I trace how air travelers move through a series of risk analysis and inspection practices. By combining passenger pre-screening, check-in, visual inspection and ‘behavior observation,’ TSA seeks to surveil different spatiotemporal slices of passengers’ identities, belongings, and future plans. Third, the article situates the banning of the bomb joke in the context of information-driven inspection practices and unpacks the interpretive practices of TSA staff. Finally, I argue that spatial orders are produced in and through the embodied performance of speech, and further, that disciplining speech points to enduring anxieties about the ‘securitized subject’ in post-9/11 security regimes.


Behavioural Detection: a case study from London Gatwick

Feb 2018

Airport operators are constantly working to achieve compliance against heavily prescribed security regulations, but what more can be done to protect against the threat as it has evolved today? Andy Palmer discusses how Gatwick Airport has taken a ‘compliance plus’ approach to security through the implementation of its behavioural detection programme.

Behaviour Detection Demystified: A Glimpse into the TSA’s Capability

Feb 2018

Since its inception, the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Behaviour Detection programme has been criticised for allegedly being a racial ‘profiling technique’ and not scientifically valid. In spite of these criticisms, the TSA continues to deploy this capability. Jennifer Blanchard delves into the reasons why a capability focused on human behaviour is so critical to any security infrastructure and attempts to put the profiling allegations to rest.


A key trend in laws and policies aimed at combatting terrorism is the increasing use of policing strategies that allow law enforcement officers anticipate risk so that they can engage in preventing, interrupting and prosecuting those suspected of terrorism offences before their commission. One such pre-emptive policing strategy is the use of terrorist profiling. The rationale underpinning terrorist profiling is to allow law enforcement officers identify those likely to involved in terrorism or its associated
activities so that law enforcement officers can prevent, interrupt and prosecute suspects before an act of terrorism. The use of terrorist profiling is highly controversial given that its use has been perceived as being unlawful. Previous attempts to analyse terrorist profiling has tended to rely solely on human rights law as the analytical lens to evaluate the usefulness and lawfulness of terrorist profiling.

The discussion in this thesis argues that the effectiveness and usefulness of terrorist profiling should only be undertaken by deconstructing the profiling process so as to allow a thorough examination of the phenomenon of terrorist profiling. As a result, the discussion in this thesis establishes two analytical lenses as the basis to systematically examine terrorist profiling. Firstly, the discussion develops an effectiveness framework that examines the construction of terrorist profiles separately from the application of terrorist profiles. Secondly, the discussion also draws upon criminal profiling methodologies and approaches as the basis to evaluate different
manifestations of terrorist profiling. These analytical lenses are used to conduct a taxonomy on different manifestations of terrorist profiling so as to systematically evaluate their usefulness as a law enforcement tool to predict likely terrorist characteristics.
Mariam Nouh, Jason R.C. Nurse, and Michael Goldsmith
Abstract—The Internet and, in particular, Online Social Networks have changed the way that terrorist and extremist groups can influence and radicalise individuals. Recent reports show that the mode of operation of these groups starts by exposing a wide audience to extremist material online, before migrating them to less open online platforms for further radicalization. Thus, identifying radical content online is crucial to limit the
reach and spread of the extremist narrative. In this paper, our aim is to identify measures to automatically detect radical content in social media. We identify several signals, including textual, psychological and behavioural, that together allow for the classification of radical messages. Our contribution is threefold: (1) we analyze propaganda material published by extremist groups and create a contextual text-based model of radical content, (2) we build a model of psychological properties inferred
from these material, and (3) we evaluate these models on Twitter to determine the extent to which it is possible to automatically identify online radical tweets. Our results show that radical users do exhibit distinguishable textual, psychological, and behavioural properties. We find that the psychological properties are among the most distinguishing features. Additionally, our results show that textual models using vector embedding features significantly improves the detection over TF-IDF features. We validate our approach on two experiments achieving high accuracy. Our findings can be utilized as signals for detecting online radicalization activities
Peter Ayton, Samantha Murray and James A. Hampton
Following the airplane attacks of September 11th, 2001 it is claimed that many Americans, dreading a repeat of these events, drove instead of flying, and that, consequently, there were extra car accidents, increasing the number of fatalities directly caused by the attacks by 1,500. After the Madrid train bombings of March 11th, 2004, Spaniards, like Americans,
avoided the attacked mode of travel, but no increase in car travel or fatal accidents resulted. Here we analyze behavioral concomitants of the July 7th 2005 bomb attacks on public transport in London. We find reduced underground train travel and an increase in rates of bicycling and, over the 6 months following the attacks, 214 additional bicyclist road casualties – a 15.4% increase. Nevertheless we found no detectable increase in car accidents. We conclude that, while fear caused by terrorism may initiate potentially dangerous behaviors, understanding the secondary effects of terrorism requires consideration of the environmental variables that enable fear to manifest in dangerous behaviors.

In 2014 an intense debate over the state of terrorism literature was published. Sageman [2014. The stagnation in terrorism research. Terrorism and Political Violence26(4), 565–580. doi:10.1080/09546553.2014.895649] claimed that the field had stagnated, mainly due to lack of data sharing between government departments that have access to valuable information that could inform our understanding, and researchers who have the skills and expertise to make sense of this. However, others were more positive regarding the literature, highlighting areas where progress has been made [e.g. McCauley, & Moskalenko (2014). Some things We think We’ve learned since 9/11: A commentary on Marc Sageman’s ‘The stagnation in terrorism research’. Terrorism and Political Violence26(4), 601–606. doi:10.1080/09546553.2014.895653; Stern (2014). Response to Marc Sageman’s ‘The stagnation in terrorism research’. Terrorism and Political Violence26(4), 607–613. doi:10.1080/09546553.2014.895654; Taylor (2014). If I were you, I wouldn’t start from here: Response to Marc Sageman’s The stagnation in terrorism research’. Terrorism and Political Violence26(4), 581–586. doi:10.1080/09546553.2014.895650]. Here we re-visit the literature and identify advances that have been made since 2014. We explore ongoing challenges for terrorism researchers and practitioners, and options for ways forward to ensure evidence-based responses to terrorist individuals and groups.

Research consistently supports the notion that terrorists are rational actors. However, there has been a tendency to focus on distal factors associated with involvement in terrorism, and there is a distinct lack of empirical research on aspects of attack commission at the individual level. Little has been done to identify proximal factors associated with attacks. This thesis uses multiple
paradigms from environmental criminology, including journey-to-crime analyses, various spatial and temporal statistics, risk terrain modelling and discrete choice modelling, to examine the target selection for two of the current national security threats to the UK: lone-actor terrorism and Northern Ireland related terrorism. Collectively, the findings indicate that target selection is guided by an inherent logic, and that terrorists are rational in their spatial decision making. The first piece of analysis demonstrates that lone-actor terrorists behave in a similar way to group terrorists and urban criminals. Their residence-to-attack journeys display a classic distance decay pattern. The second empirical chapter shows how attacks by violent dissident Republicans in the period studied were spatially and temporally clustered. The following chapter identifies differences between risk factors for bombings and bomb hoaxes, and suggests that dissident Republicans may select less ideological targets for bombings relative to bomb hoaxes. The final empirical chapter demonstrates that the locations of attacks by the Provisional Irish Republican Army were influenced by characteristics of the target areas as well as the properties of their likely journey to the target. In the concluding chapter, a new framework for target selection is presented and assessed using illustrative examples of recent attacks in the U.K. Important insights are provided that could guide and improve the efficacy of preventative and disruptive measures.

Translate »