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Discussion Starter #1
Quote:
Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by developer Kevin Burke show the Transportation Security Administration paid IBM $336,413.59 for "mobile application development," of which $47,400 was used to develop randomization software for the TSA.
Quote:
The app, which you can see in action the video below, is essentially a random number generator - assigning passengers to right or left lanes at airport security.
Source

Even though it is a waste of money, randomization software does make some sense. That said, there are probably hundred free apps out there already. That's the government for you. The article does say it was implemented to make airport security less predictable for terrorists, but there are many better ways.
 

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aaannnndddd wouldn't a randomization cause more problems in multiple TSA lines? Wouldn't there be a chance of an uneven distribution of people in 1 line over the other? I won't speak to the cost because it's only going to cause people to violate the TOS here... but yea
 

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Even disregarding all the RNG apps out there, why didn't they just do this in house?

I realize our government is not much more intelligent than a bunch of apes but they should be able to put together an random number generator.
 

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Originally Posted by icehotshot View Post

Even disregarding all the RNG apps out there, why didn't they just do this in house?

I realize our government is not much more intelligent than a bunch of apes but they should be able to put together an random number generator.
this has nothing to do with the skill or intelligence of devs within the gov, this entirely has to do with the corruption of those who made this decision.
 

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IBM probably charged $300-400/hr to develop the application which while on the high side is within reason for an application development contract. 20% of that would have been for development, another 20% for meetings and the last 60% reserved for debugging/support.

So assuming the higher rate of $400/hr that means they spent 23.5 hours on coding, 23.5 hours in meetings and 70.5 hours on support. Seems pretty reasonable to me for a simple app.
 

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Wait, how does this make it "less predictable for terrorists"?

They don't know which lane they are going through? Other than airport and airline personnel, who have their own lane, who ever does?

OK, maybe if a crew of TSA agents are terrorists, and will let certain people through their station with weapons, then maybe, just maybe, this might make a difference. But if you have got TSA agents on your side, why not get the person at the front on your side too? Also, surely there are backups and checks so that one or two suborned TSA agents wouldn't be able to let dangerous goods through.

Also any plan that depends purely on going through a certain security lane is doomed to failure anyway.

This just seems like more TSA idiocy, and further security theatre meant only to reassure people rather than to provide an effective defence.

Edit: I'm pretty sure this is safe for OCN, I had a quick scan through it:

As an engineer who flies a lot, I play a little airport game called "how would I find a way around this bit of security". I can usually think of a few things off the top of my head, and that's without researching them. Also, I have managed to accidentally get steak knives onto at least two flights that I know of, one transatlantic, because I forgot to take them out of my laptop bag and security didn't catch them. So yeah, TSA sucks.
 

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u go right they go right I only stay left ya.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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Originally Posted by Cakewalk_S View Post

aaannnndddd wouldn't a randomization cause more problems in multiple TSA lines? Wouldn't there be a chance of an uneven distribution of people in 1 line over the other? I won't speak to the cost because it's only going to cause people to violate the TOS here... but yea
In the video the lady gets asked about line overflow. She says if a line gets too many people, she will just let people go in the short line.
 

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Originally Posted by obikenobi27 View Post

In the video the lady gets asked about line overflow. She says if a line gets too many people, she will just let people go in the short line.
Which pretty much bypasses the entire point of having the device in the first place.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakewalk_S View Post

aaannnndddd wouldn't a randomization cause more problems in multiple TSA lines? Wouldn't there be a chance of an uneven distribution of people in 1 line over the other? I won't speak to the cost because it's only going to cause people to violate the TOS here... but yea
It's not about the distribution - It's about being indifferent.

Randomization removes bias. Therefor, it will save money in the long run.

Can't sue when something is truly random.

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Originally Posted by GingerJohn View Post

Which pretty much bypasses the entire point of having the device in the first place.
Statistically speaking it won't happen...If it does, we're not talking about enough to skew the sample.
 

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Originally Posted by Masked View Post

Statistically speaking it won't happen...If it does, we're not talking about enough to skew the sample.
That assumes that each lane is equally efficient at screening people, which isn't always true.

Sometimes some crews are slow, sometimes they have a slow handover, and they may randomly get more of the awkward passengers who have no clue about what they are and aren't allowed and spend ages arguing about it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by GingerJohn View Post


As an engineer who flies a lot, I play a little airport game called "how would I find a way around this bit of security". I can usually think of a few things off the top of my head, and that's without researching them. Also, I have managed to accidentally get steak knives onto at least two flights that I know of, one transatlantic, because I forgot to take them out of my laptop bag and security didn't catch them. So yeah, TSA sucks.
Great video ;p TSA just likes to RolePlay as Abusive Overlords.

I know exactly what you mean, used to fly on Standby often and did the same thing keeping note of security flaws, simulating quick PayDay style heists in my head lol.

You hang around long enough, you will see ridiculous stuff in just about any Airport.

Also, if the creening Agents, were actually Terrorists, wouldnt they have an easier time sneaking a bomb in than a passenger ? or is this strictly against Hijacking.
 

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Originally Posted by t00sl0w View Post

this has nothing to do with the skill or intelligence of devs within the gov, this entirely has to do with the corruption of those who made this decision.
Having worked for years with a government contract hardware supplier, this is exactly correct.

1) Does the budget allow for it?
2) Can it be passed off as a problem and solution?
3) Are we friends?

That's pretty much how it goes.
 

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There should be a law against people doing such a mundane job . Imagine 50 years ago if you told our parents you could have a job where you stand behind a screen and repeatedly tap it all day...

Mind blown
 

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Originally Posted by Stewart=B View Post

There should be a law against people doing such a mundane job .
Traditional values regarding work ethic need to die first. Society, well at least the society I've been surrounded by for most of my life, often values the act of labor more greatly than the products, or lack thereof, of that labor.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakewalk_S View Post

aaannnndddd wouldn't a randomization cause more problems in multiple TSA lines? Wouldn't there be a chance of an uneven distribution of people in 1 line over the other? I won't speak to the cost because it's only going to cause people to violate the TOS here... but yea
Like the OP said, it reduces the chance that a terrorist would have a "friend" at the TSA counter he goes up to if whatever counter he's assigned to is random instead of pre determined in a fashion he could game, or just open selection.

All in all it's still security theater and doesn't do jack diddly squat except piss people off when they can't take a water bottle onto an airplane, you know, an essential component of life and wot.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masked View Post

It's not about the distribution - It's about being indifferent.

Randomization removes bias. Therefor, it will save money in the long run.

Can't sue when something is truly random.
This.

The government contracts it out so that it isn't made by them, removing one layer of culpability. The unbiased software now decides who goes where instead of a possibly biased person, removing another layer of culpability. As far as the price, I doubt IBM does anything for anyone for a low price. If they used some off the shelf random number generator there would always be the possibility of it being compromised in some way.
 
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