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Peer-review security

Passengers search each others' luggage
  [vote for,

Typical plane: 200 passengers. Most of them want the plane not to crash, but occasionally one or two do.

Typical security system: Your ticket price pays for TSA employees to scan your bags. Each bag gets one pair of eyes (x-ray-machine-aided) on it for about 15 seconds. If there's a bomb in the bag, this is the only chance to catch it. The TSA fellow is well-meaning and well-trained, but presumably quite bored.

Peer-review security system: the passengers scan each other's bags, on the principle "many eyes make short work". Each bag gets searched twice, by two unrelated passengers. The passenger assignments are randomized by computer. If any search turns up something suspicious, the searcher pushes a button, and the bag gets a few minutes' going-over by a well-paid TSA professional.

1) 200 passengers, max 3 bags per passenger. Each passenger does six inspections. At two minutes each, everyone needs to arrive 12 minutes early---considering that the normal security clearance can take an hour, that's fine. I'm picturing open-the-bag-and-look inspections, but you could also hand the passengers x-ray scans for inspection. (This might not work without training.)

2) Let's take a plane with N passengers, of whom T are terrorists, with 1 bomb between them. The odds that the bomb-bag gets inspected once by co-conspirator are (T-1)/N. The odds of being inspected ONLY by co-conspirators is (T-1)(T-2)/(N(N-1)). Even if the passengers are poor inspectors, there's still a quite low chance of a bomb going undiscovered. You can raise the number of inspections per bag, depending on how effective a zero-training search really is.

3) You can imagine this being implemented by one airline/terminal at a time. Passengers on this airline voluntarily waive privacy on their bags, and get to skip a lot of the normal terminal-access rigamarole. There _does_ have to be some sort of personal scanning (metal detector, sniffer machine), because peer-review patdowns are not a good idea.

bm-gub, Mar 22 2005

The TSA http://www.tsa.gov/public/
for those of us living outwith the US. [calum, Mar 23 2005]

TSA stealing spree https://www.youtube...watch?v=qJkUSNIBsP0
Taking stuff away [pashute, Nov 01 2015]

peer-review baggage handling system https://www.youtube...watch?v=XigMGN9K9jw
[pashute, Nov 01 2015]


       I like the mathematics. I like the shift from a central to a decentralised model and the time-savings associated with that, and I feel sorry for those poor security guards who are paid to be assholes to the rest of us. It really can't be a fullfilling job. [+]
zen_tom, Mar 22 2005

       This assumes that any contraband can be discovered by simple inspection by a completely untrained layman. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Consider Richard Reid's shoes.
krelnik, Mar 22 2005

       In the case of Richard Reid's shoes, the professionals didn't see them either.   

       Technology _is_ important---some x-ray machines can measure nitrogen content (commonly found in explosives), density (most luggage doesn't contain anything as smooth and dense as a lump of C-4) and peer inside closed containers. Also important are the chemical "sniffers". But I think _that_ side of thing can be automated: if the machine spots nitrogen, boom, put the bag in the TSA special-check queue. The non-automatable part of the TSA scanner's job is the simplest sort of human pattern recognition: "is that a gun? Is that a lump of putty with wires sticking out?"   

       I'm trying to imagine what the physical layout of the security area should be. May be complicated.
bm-gub, Mar 22 2005

       How could you prevent peer theft?
sophocles, Mar 23 2005

       [soph] - err they don't have physical access to the bags.   

       [bm-gub] that's a brilliant idea, welcome to the bakery. A croissant for your trouble.   

       <aside>[neilp] wonders for the first time why suicide hijackers don't get together and all take the same flight - much less hassle from other passengers who don't want to die</aside>
neilp, Mar 23 2005

       What about a plane which has 50 people all attending a family reunion and one of them is a terrorist?
froglet, Mar 23 2005

       Peer Review is also used in education as American Schools lower the educational standards for students and teachers. Peer Review of security checks may result in lawsuits if it involves physical touching for guns and knives. While it may simply be more likely that xray machines like those in the Arnold movie Total recall will be used in the future.
travbm, Nov 01 2015


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