Big data airport screening given ok in Australia

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Customs officials and security screeners in Australia will no longer rely solely on reading body language, movement patterns, profiling and mass interviews to thwart passengers travelling under false pretenses. And even the country's civil liberties groups have cautiously supported new computer modeling approaches, said the Australian Financial Review.

The success rate at Sydney Airport was approximately 50 out of every 2,500 people, who authorities were doing extra screening with based on visual profiling. Using computer models, it was able to reduce the number of additional inspections to 1,300 while catching 10 more violators.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship announced at a recent CeBIT big data conference that a new computer system to screen all passengers arriving in Australian airports will be in place by March of 2013. Models used for the trial of the system were built using detailed records of people violating the rules and by sifting through volumes of personal information to identify patterns.

However, David Vaile, the vice chairman of the Australian Privacy Foundation, warned that the increased use of big data in government was being done without enough thought regarding the long-term impact on rights, the Financial Review said.

For more:
- see the Australian Financial Review article

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