"Homeland Security Hasn't Made Us Safer"
This will be nothing new to readers of this blog, but it's nice to read other people saying it too.
Posted on January 11, 2011 at 7:47 AM
Dogs were briefly introduced on the transit system here to detect drug users.
However due to some administrative error - the transit police were issued with fierce alsatians rather than the usual beagles or bloodhounds, this was unfortunate since it seemed to intimidate many of their customers to have a snarling attack dog in their face.
The scheme was abandoned - apparently it was only a 'trial' - when a dog bit somebody who happened to be a lawyer. The city then couldn't find the paperwork showing the dogs had rabies shots or any training in detecting drugs.
Judging from the lack of new buses I think we are still paying for the settlement.
The failure rate is meaningless on it's own.
If say 1 in a million people were carrying a bomb then a 56% false positive rate is miraculous.
If you are searching for drugs among a certain section of society, in the right time and place then you could probably achieve the same detection rate by just stopping everyone - which is generally the purpose of drug detecting dogs in jurisdictions that have limits on random stop and search.
Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.
Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of IBM Resilient.