Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Improve Security

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conference

Abuja, Nigeria in April 2010

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in a bid to improve security around the airport has approved the installation of Psycho physiological Touch Screen Stress Analysis (PTSSA), which will help identify potential threats in less than 2 minutes. 

The unique screening system, which is fast, accurate, effective, will significantly assist in the screening of individuals to help detect anyone who has direct or indirect involvement in terrorism and smuggling activities or any other types of criminal activities.

The project promoted in Nigeria by PVSA.NET, in collaboration with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has also been mounted at the screening area of the MMIA for passengers’ use.

Abuja-Nigeria-Conference-1Speaking in an interview, the chief operating officer of PVSA.NET, Douglas Fitzgerald explained: “The system is designed for passengers traveling. It asks you a series of questions relating to nationality.  If you live in and reside in Nigeria, then it goes on to ask questions relating to smuggling, terrorism and weapons. It evaluates your responses to the questions by touching the screen to a number of algorithms and then gives you a rating of being either very low risk or very high risk. So, essentially if you look at staffing, out of the B747 that you have more than 400 passengers and may be you can effectively screen 10 per cent.

“This really pushes you to the direction of individuals who you need the time to concentrate on and do your best job at screening and possibly others that you should not be looking at and be wasting time on. This is a psychological stress analyzer.”

He added that a passenger would be asked to respond to a series of simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions in his chosen language.

The first short series of baseline questions are followed by a short series of more stressful questions stressing the person’s intentions regarding weapons, smuggling and terrorism.

Abuja-Nigeria-Conference-3He said the stress responses are measured against the baseline responses, where finely-tuned algorithms precisely determine the person’s emotional reaction to each test question.

 “A successful test produces an indicator on the report monitor and the person immediately thanked and permitted to proceed while an unsuccessful test produces a different indicator easily read by security personnel requiring the person to undergo a secondary test,” he added. 

On whether the installation of the machines was fallout of the unsuccessful attempt by a Nigerian to blow up an aircraft over Detroit on December 25, 2009, Fitzgerald said:  “It was actually the next step. Nigeria got the jump on the system because the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) conference was held here in Abuja. And that is where the system was first coming out because of issues relating to full body scanners that were religious or related to ethnic or people saying it was profiling and privacy issues they did not want to go through it. So this was technological step of being the next one because typically those who did not approve of full body scan really didn’t want to be hand touched. So this is one alternative that we say you really don’t need to be hand frisked or body scanned. As you look at all the equipment used in screening, everything has a limitation or it has parts that can work and parts that cannot work.”

Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Harold Demuren at International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conference at Abuja, Nigeria in April 2010 said, “The world faces continuing, determined and sophisticated threats from terrorists and smugglers. As their methods evolve, so must ours. But how do we increase security without invading people’s privacy and causing massive delays to an increasing number of air travelers? One, technology you will see today, PVSA.NET, exemplifies a whole new approach to the problem. Given the near impossibility of finding every drug or bomb on millions of airline passengers flowing through hundreds of airports on any given day, PVSA.NET looks not at the body or baggage of the passenger but rather the intentions in his or her mind.”

“In two minutes, using a touch screen, it measures their stress response to a scientifically developed set of questions, deciding if the subject needs further questioning. 99 percent of all passengers will quickly be green-lighted through. One percent will have to answer more questions. Those who fail the second test will face thorough scrutiny. This represents a new paradigm in security because not only does it identify those attempting to bomb or smuggle that day, it also identifies those who may be involved in terrorism or drugs even though they are not attempting something at the moment. Although this is only one important layer of an overall solution, it is an essential one in that it builds a database of vital information for the world aviation security community.”

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