How does this add any level of security for our airports?
If you’ve flown recently, you may have seen a TSA agent holding a tablet that pops up an arrow that tells you which line you should stand in. That little app is called a “Randomizer” and TSA agents use it to determine who is subject to the random searches that are a part of the TSA Pre-check program.
Multiple stories are circulating about the cost of the app that pops up with a big arrow. Fusion reports that TSA claims the “total development costs” of the app itself were ONLY $47,400, part of a larger $336,000 payout with IBM, which was part of a larger $1.4 million contract between the TSA and IBM, which may include the building of other mobile apps and a computer program. It is still unclear if perhaps one of the higher figures includes costs for the machines themselves.
The arrow app (see video below) is part of TSA PreCheck, a program in approximately 150 airports that lets pre-approved travelers get through security faster. They don’t have to take off their belts or shoes, and so the lines move more quickly—but some travelers are subject to random searches. The app is there to make sure that whomever is being subjected to those searches is truly selected randomly, so no one is discriminated against.
The TSA, promotes its risk-based security techniques as one way to save taxpayers money. The agency plans to eliminate more than 1,400 employees and close six of its 26 federal air marshal field offices.
In the meantime, someone is being paid to stand there and tap that little screen so an arrow will pop up and randomly tell passengers which line to go to. Some people get lucky and are pointed to the fast lane.
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