At one of the major airports I used to travel through (DTW), exiting the terminal involved going through a slow-moving motorized revolving door. It was one way, and also included a brief instant where you could neither enter, nor leave, and could be "stopped" by airport security at that point should detaining you be necessary. Because it's a revolving door that works very similar to nearly every revolving door a person encounters (save for the motor and one-way nature), it doesn't have that same feel and certainly wouldn't warrant an NBC News segment.
I'd imagine this over-engineered solution to a solved problem also comes at a much steeper price tag.
A toothpaste company had a small rate of faults when producing the product, every couple of thousand tubes produces the machine would put an empty one on the production line, it would then be packaged and shipped, so every now and then a customer would complain he bought an empty toothpaste.
The company decided to fix that, hired a couple of consultants, and after a dozen of engineers looked into the problem for a couple of months and burned a couple of millions in research they came up with a brilliant solution.
before packaging the toothpaste, they added a very sensitive balance to the production line, every toothpaste would pass there, if the balance detected a difference in the expected wight it would pause the line, then a mechanical arm would push it out, go back to the resting place and continue the line.
After implementing the solution the managers waited a couple of months to see the results and compare numbers, to see how efficient the new solution was. It was amazing! 100%. not one complaint of empty tubes after the expensive solution was implemented. The board was so satisfied with the investment that they came to the production floor for a tour on the new QA perfect tool. But it was turned off.
They called the floor manager and asked what happened, they couldn't turn off that important piece of the production line, they could have all the complaints back.
The floor manager said he doesn't even remember how to turn it on, he said, I turned it off shortly after the put this thing here.
So how it is possible they have 0 complaints with if not because of the new tool?
The floor manager said it was slowing down production, every now and then it would completely stop the whole production line, so he turned it off and bought a fan, pointed out to the stop, the fan would be string enough to push any empty toothpaste case.
It's a dangerous methodology to preach though. In this story they found out that they had a problem where they were producing boxes without product and instead of actually figuring out why they were producing empty boxes in the first place (i.e. determining the root cause of the problem) they over engineered a 100% quality control inspection on every piece at a huge expense.
As for over-engineering: the SLC airport just uses a down escalator as the exit.
A large iron maiden (floor-to-ceiling revolving gates, like NYC subways) seems to be a much better, cheaper solution.
The national security policy people who implemented this probably go through one to enter and exit their office every day and didn't think anything of it. They exist in all kinds of secure facilities. (Not necessarily as a glass coffin, but simply a room to which only one door can be open at one time.) Like a turnstile, it solves the tailgating problem - you can visually inspect who is in the room before you let them through, and if someone's face doesn't match the badge they swiped, you can hold them there while you call the police.
As for fire safety, in some areas building code requires that the controller is tied into the fire alarm and allows free egress if activated. There's also almost always a bypass switch/key/code to let both doors open.
A couple of examples I can remember from popular fiction are the entrance to CBS Master Control in The Insider (1999) and the executive suite of Seatec Astronomy in Sneakers (1992). There were a few in the Artemis Fowl and Alex Rider books. There is a mantrap with no access control between the main floor and the butterfly wing at the Milwaukee Public Museum to keep the air conditioning out and the butterflies in. Haven't been there since ~2005, but I remember being locked in it for several seconds before the exit light turned green.
Any Biosafety Level-rated lab has negative pressure to prevent virus from escaping, so there's an interlocking door system between the hot part of the lab and the rest of the building. Electronics prevent both airtight doors from unlocking simultaneously, and you are required to go through a decontamination shower procedure before opening the outer door (not sure if that's enforced by electronics or just training.)
This is not a turnstile, because turnstiles do not detain you or trap you; you can always move freely on one side or the other. This device detains you and then lets you move on. What are you going to do when it decides not to let you move on?
1. This is an egregious fire hazard. I would love to see the fire marshal weigh in on this. This violates basic common sense regarding the ability to egress a structure in the event of an emergency, regardless of any safe-guards that would automatically open these pods in the event of a fire.
2. This is detainment without probable cause. It completely violates the spirit and intent, if not the letter, of the Fourth Amendment. No matter how long you are detained within this pod, in my opinion, it is absolutely without probable cause, which is a pillar of the Fourth Amendment.
Are all vestibules holding you without probable cause?
As it is, I quietly protest in the only way I know: I avoiding flying unless it's impossible, and take road trips instead, despite the dramatically higher safety risks. I've come to deeply loathe the airport experience.
I'm all for civil disobedience, but I'd suggest something that doesn't actually cause a panic.
It is an example of nothing of the sort, since that scenario never happened. That hypothetical scenario was dreamed up to justify the arrest of a war/draft protester for what was plainly political speech.
The TSA stuff is bonkers, though, and I think totally unconstitutional.
That verdict was later effectively overturned, and the judge who first said those words also had this to say shortly afterward in another free speech case:
"The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas -- that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out."
It's time to stop trotting out that fear-mongering phrase.
Security features and entrapment issues are the same: the controller normally lets people through in the manner specified by its programming (i.e. assignable permissions to exit on certain sides of certain floors depending on the keys/cards/codes features possessed by the rider, potentially also time of day and manual verification).
If something fishy is going on, security (or electronics like a metal detector) can direct the controller to stop the car and not open the doors.
Once you are in the car, you cannot leave until the controller lets you.
This is just a two-doored elevator that doesn't move between floors.
This device's express purpose is to restrict your exit from a building or area.
And practically every subway system already has one-way turnstiles that can "detain" you in the sense that you can't pass until it opens, and either can't return through it without re-inserting a fare card or can't return through it period.
In fact, there's a fuck ton of controlled-access places with systems which effectively do this. What are you already doing for the "detainees" who already are created by those?
(not that I like the TSA, I just also don't see why you're treating this as new or unusual)
Subways that I have seen that require fare cards on exit do not actually prevent you from leaving; you can jump the turnstile or go through a gate on the side that possibly alarms. This is not the greatest thing, but at least while you are inside you can move freely inside a large subway system; being encased in plexiglass until a light turns green is a whole different degree of trapped.
Edit: And I guess this is an important part of the point: degree matters. The old boiling-a-frog story is just about slowly increasing the degree of something.
Have you ever ridden an elevator from the lobby of a large office building? If the security clerk at the desk thinks you're a threat, he'll let you get in an elevator and then press a button to stop you between floors.
When help arrives, they'll override the controls and force the elevator the ground where the only exit is into the hands of an armed response force.
The last time I was in Atlanta, they had a similar thing, but more subtle. If I remember correctly, they have a bank of escalators, but all of the escalators go in the same direction. As I found out when I got to the top, and had to go through security again to get back down...
I can very distinctly remember going through these in FRA.
Because it is default allow the feeling is quite different to the system shown in the video where it feels like default deny and it asks you to wait.
When you exit the secure area of the airport, you usually pass through a corridor with tons of CCTV cameras and a TSA employee. Those cameras and that employee are to keep you from turning around and re-entering the terminal once you've begun the process of exiting.
When you are passing through such an area, you are free to move unless you are detained, which in theory would not happen without good reason. The idea is that you are free to exit and just cannot go back in.
When you enter one of these chambers, you are detained by default until you are released. You are not free to go in any direction. It is very different.
edit: the operative word in your sentence is "_like_" and "_never_"
My point is, you have encountered systems "like" this, if you have ever exited an airport secure area. And it's the secure area, not the airport building itself.
also; boiling frog analogy is quite flawed
As do many fast food restaurants and other buildings, I'm fairly sure it's meant to function as an air-lock, mitigating the equalization of outdoor and indoor temperatures and preventing drafts into the building. Additionally, you are not being detained in such a situation as it is up to your own agency to either manually open the door or activate the IR sensor. In the airport situation it does appear people are being detained because they don't seem to have the option of opening the exit door themselves.
In fact, there's a fuck ton of controlled-access places with systems which effectively do this.
Sure, if someone or group is occupying a building and they don't want people wandering around willy-nilly they can control access and 'buzz people in' or whatever. The airport situation is entirely different as it is essentially controlling access to the entire world, restricting ones freedom of movement.
So all in all, put a little thought into what your saying before a reflexive "nothing to see here."
Every place I've ever seen one of those doors, when you can't return, you can always go forward, when there is some check, and you may not be able to go forward, you can always return.
I guess, the police would be able to legally create a silo that may detain you, but nobody else can (at least on most democratic countries, I'm not sure about the US specifically).
You are correct that many subway systems have something in place to verify that you were a fair-paying customer. It just doesn't strike me as equivalent.
In the subway case, it is there to prevent bad actors from cheating the system. It's lame the same way that people checking your receipts at Sam's Club is lame. In the airport case, you're assumed to be a criminal even before you've received any benefit.
Not meaning to troll, but I genuinely wonder if the report came from a different source, how it would be treated, and why there is no one discussing the potential of misuse behind this?
We all know the dangers from our govts & businesses are in the form of creeping erosion, not the earth-shaking policies.
There is no way of knowing who is claustrophobic, but anyone could sympathize with them. it has to be designed to let people through quite quickly in the default case, and no doubt does.
so how would this system get abused exactly? I mean to me it just seems like a technicality, like an elevator 'detaining' you. It seems like just a design thing. (For example it can keep people from entering, allowing them only to leave, like a one-way valve, as someone pointed out.)
I'm open to the possibility that your imagination is better than mine...so let's hear a description.
what I mean is that these things can't possible be "detention pods" in practice. Like, how would that even work? I just can't imagine the mechanics of it. I would like a description of what people are imagining. How do you imagine this will get abused (exactly)..describe the process.
That is a pretty straightforward next step from what is there now. I am not sure how likely it is, but if you claim you can't possibly think of abuses, then you just aren't thinking very hard.
I'm pretty sure that even the TSA is smart enough that if they were going to install facial recognition systems to catch people on the terrorist watchlist or no-fly list, the first place they would do it wouldn't be the exit from the secure area of the airport.
moreover, if the US government wants to take pictures of your face and arrange an arrest, they can get it at airport entry (or customs) which are far more detention-like procedures, and a place you could actually enforce the measure: the guard tells you "look at the camera, please" before waving you through.
So I don't really see the "exit-turnstile-chamber plus camera" threat to be particularly worrisome. It's a poor choice of place to implement camera-system abuses.
Likewise, as someone else mentioned, it would be very similar to doing the same thing with revolving doors, which are just as easy to stop and trap someone in it. I am receptive to the idea that this is even easier than adding face recognition to revolving doors, as these doors are already associated with security, already in a high-security area, etc.
But these very things - the high security - mean that in practice the end result is going to be what? How is it different from scanning a crowd and sending guards out to collect someone at an airport?
Likewise, how is it different from adding this to turnstiles?
I mean, I am just not seeing how this one thing qualifies as 'detention'. I walked through double doors like this to get to high security banks (to my surprise - must have been a rough part of town). I certainly did not feel 'temporarily detained'! Any more than I do in an elevator. And I've been stuck in an elevator. That actually sucks.
I just am not seeing the exact argument you're making, you're not really being descriptive or visual enough. If face recognition is a worry, why not worry about it in every place that it could be applied, where people go through some point single-file and it's security-related? Why have a special worry reserved for this particular situation?
Put another way, what if the doors were always open - but spaced far enough apart that even at adult running speed, the system can do face detection fast enough to slam both of them shut. Is that just as bad as this system? Why or why not - after all, it's always open, anyone can walk through.... But logically the end-result is equivalent.
is it a psychological thing? You think it feels psychologically like preemptive detention? Let me tell you, it didn't feel that way to me...it just felt like double-doors. I imagined that in an emergency, they can all be briefly locked, and no one can just fly out there at running speed. it slows things down a bit. that's it.
I'm just not seeing it. The security nightmare you imagine can be added everywhere, there's nothing special about this system and it's practically logically equivalent to two open doors - would you call that "temporary detainment" based on the fact that they could (but don't) slam shut? That this could (but doesn't) arrest you? it doesn't feel that way and doesn't have that effect any more than any other part of the airport does.
on the other hand it can act very well as a one-way valve, making sure no one comes in past you through an exit-only door on your way out. that is not really related to detention in any way.
But yeah, at an airport this is strange. Altho I also see similar hand/palm print activated doors at data centers for access control.
Its a lot harder to do that from a locked room.
I have seen those (generally larger, automated versions) in airports, and there is certainly a moment in every transit where the way back is closed and the way forward is not yet open. That same is true of ordinary, two-way, glass-walled revolving doors, to serve their purpose as a temperature airlock. I've never heard anyone worry about either one trapping people.
Revolving doors go round and round and don't usually prevent egress.
It can't even be compared to a turnstile because they don't seal you in like this appears to do.
Understanding that this will get me downvotes, the concern is, quite frankly, stupid. Before you ever get to this door, you've gone through airport security at some other airport. You've already been "detained," identified, and searched. If they wanted to arrest you there, they could (and they do).
If they wanted to arrest you when you landed, well, they have the trip manifest for every flight. You can't fly anonymously. If they wanted, they would have a police officer waiting at the gate to arrest you. And they do this.
Now, when you're leaving the airport, and they already know who you are, and they have already searched your bags, and they have already had numerous chances to arrest you at both the source, destination, and connecting airports, suddenly, a one way door that temporarily encloses you (like a revolving door, or an elevator, or the multiple sets of automatic doors leading into a supermarket) is "detainment" and "ripe for abuse" and an "erosion of the constitution." What?
Please. This kind of nonsense is embarrassing.
The only difference from the status quo is that currently, you could try to run from the police once recognized and they might not be fast enough to tackle you. But as far as I know, the Constitution does not enshrine any principle of "the right to a sporting chance at escaping trial" - just "the right to a fair trial."
Airports seem to have their own notion of legality, so at what point would it detain someone? An international warrant? US felony warrant? US state felony? Misdemeanor? Back taxes? Unpaid child support? Unpaid municipal fines? We accept all major credit cards! You didn't report for jury duty... mind telling us where you live now? And while you're here, we'd like to inform you that your ex-roommate has run afoul of the law... perhaps you've seen him lately? Let me get the investigating officer on the line...
Facial recognition primarily fails because the camera is too far away, and at a poor angle. Please stare at this camera to open the door. Hmm, those glasses are getting in the way, mind taking them off? Please, don't bang on the glass like that, it scares the other travelers. Just a second, I'll black out the "privacy" glass.
Anything that can be done will be done in the right context. A little imagination is always prudent!
For the children...
If you were going to build an "automated warrant officer" system overlaying existing airport security, there's plenty of places where it would already be fairly trivial to do that exit mantraps probably don't affect the risk that much.
It sounds like it's an electronic one-way gate to exit the secure area of the airport, replacing the TSA agent who used to sit at the exit. Physical one-way turnstiles have been around for a while - I'm not sure I've ever seen one at an airport.
Personally, I'd prefer the human. This system sounds too complicated and expensive and prone to malfunction. What if there's a fire and the doors stop working?
I get panic attacks, can you imagine if one of those things accidentally locked on me?
TSA quit screening my thoughts!
A regular turnstile doesn't really work very well for people with a lot of luggage.
So this is basically a large version of a turnstile, that is more secure than just a single gate, so it can be secure enough to leave without full time guards without preventing people with baggage from getting through.
Not a bad idea, not horrible civil liberties wise, but could be a problem for people with claustrophobia, and if they are avoiding having a guard, it's likely that there won't be an alternative exit for people for whom these won't work.
Works for me. Unlike TSA workers, automated exit doors can't form unions.
these are jail cells, not doors.
You can override these doors most likely with an emergency button if needed.
I'm absolutely sure the TSA wouldn't abuse this device. At all.
I don't believe you can't win the argument because this is Hacker News; you can't win the argument because of the TSA's track record (and to a greater extent, the results of unchecked power on humans).
Here's a PDF explaining the airlock rooms at PHL (they call it a "secure exit lane system") with photos:
If you look closely at the metal turnstiles in the bottom-right photo on page 8, you can see that there are glass doors between them. These separate and close by sensor to allow only one person at a time through the exit passage. This room is, by necessity, fully covered in cameras, and as other posters have said, it's a short jump from this into something with software recognition that locks the doors and waits for the armored men with clubs.
Sure, it's a far cry from the firetraps that those glass tubes in Syracuse are, but this method of containment is not new -- we were just not really paying attention to it before.
This is NOT a new security measure, it's the same old measure implemented in a different way.
I think people are freaking out about the fact that the system detains you for a split second in the process. There are better solutions out there. For example, all of the train turnstiles in Japan are set to default-open. If they detect someone going through without paying, they close extremely rapidly as soon as you cross the front threshold. That should do the trick, although I guess it wouldn't stop someone from passing contraband across the gap.
And there are very, very, very few arrivals (and also virtually no departures) between 10PM and 5AM, which means it doesn't make much sense to pay a single TSA agent for an eight hour graveyard shift for 2 or 3 incoming flights.
Take this. http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.474936.131463560...
and make it bigger. Boom, problem solved.
Side benefit: This can be an entirely mechanical design = energy efficient.
Because of the high crime rate, most banks in South Africa have these double-door man traps (although less sleek-looking), and everyone accepts them as a normal part of life. Reading the comments here reminds me of how abnormal that really is.
There are dozens of civil liberty violations to complaint about w/r/t airports and TSA. This isn't one of them.
If there's a fire, I'm sure that all the doors open.
Airports are not exempt from building codes.