Carol Platt Liebau: The Lie Detectors

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Lie Detectors

This piece in Time magazine notes the plethora of new gadgets that could be used to flag potential terrorists in airports -- and points out that much of the technology may not be 100% reliable.

Well, so what? Something is better than nothing, isn't it?

It's irritating but predictable that "civil liberties" groups -- which appear more interested in ensuring the rights of terrorists than protecting the lives of innocent Americans -- are once again kicking up a fuss. One could understand if these machines were being used to deprive people of their life, liberty or property. But all we're talking about here is using them to decide who should be screened more carefully. And it's hardly a crisis of constitutional magnitude to be pulled aside for a few questions or a careful and respectful search.

Just last Friday, I was pulled aside and my bag was searched by a security guard in St. Louis. Why? Did I look suspicious, did something seem strange on the x-ray machine, or was I just the next random number? Who knows? But I was willing to be searched; that's simply the price of air travel these days, and it's worth it to figure that (hopefully) other, less innocent people than I may face similar scrutiny.

If there were some even partly reliable basis for deciding whom to flag, it's all for the best, and certainly much better than depending on an untrained worker's suspicion or random method of picking passengers out of a crowd. Those who resent the searches can simply drive or travel by train (for now) -- air travel is, after all, a privilege and not a right.

4 Comments:

Blogger Editor said...

If they are in the 70 to 90 pecentile in a lab setting with machine calibrated to the subject, they'll be getting so many false positives in an uncontrolled setting, they'll need an army to interview all those who fail.

Why fool around with courteous interviews when Yoo says the president can use torture. Much faster to use a little water boarding to get to the truth.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Carol,

Is this an ad hominem attack:

editor, you're an idiot.

Just wondering.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Editor (Dittohead) said,
"Why fool around with courteous interviews when Yoo says the president can use torture. Much faster to use a little water boarding to get to the truth"

Exactly!

2:07 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

You finally made an intelligent comment.

2:16 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Google