Sweating in an airport? You could be a terrorist

In November, a security scanner that sees through clothes and produces a nude image of passengers was tested at Terminal 4 of the London Heathrow airport. The scanning device can spot not just metal but other potential threats like ceramic knives or hidden drugs.

The electromagnetic technology, known as Millimeter Wave, is just one aspect of a potential revolution in security screening being pioneered at QinetiQ.


While travelling, you could one day be submitted to “hyperspectral sensing” that will check for pheromones, chemicals secreted by the human body, which may indicate agitation or stress. The stress could betray the nervousness of a potential attacker, but it could also simply indicate fear of flying.

As with MMW, the technology could function at a distance and without the need for people to wait in line.

Now as you proceed through the terminal, the next layer of surveillance could be carried out through “cognitive software” which monitors someone’s movements and sounds a silent alarm if it picks up an unusual pattern.

While many of these technologies are still under development, others have already been rolled out to clients. Millimetre wave, for example, has been trialled at airports and is being used by immigration authorities and Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel to detect illegal immigrants trying to enter the country as stowaways in the back of trucks.

Via Wired and Prison Planet.
Related: security check for plastic bottles.