TSA paid IBM $47,400 for an app that randomly showed left or right arrows

TSA paid IBM $47,400 for a basic random number generating app that directed passengers to check in lanes

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) paid International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) $47,400 for developing a "randomizer" app that sorted passengers into lanes in US airports.

The "randomizer" app is a trivially easy to make random number generator that shows either a left or right arrow to assign lanes to passengers. The app was part of a program called "managed inclusion" that was designed to make lines shorter at airports, as well as dodge any allegations of racial profiling. The randomizer app also apparently made it more difficult for terrorists to identify patterns in the lines. The pre check program allows for faster processing of frequent fliers, but was discontinued after a convicted felon and member of a domestic terrorist organisation was accidentally put in the pre check line.

The details of the contracts between the TSA and IBM were uncovered by a developer who filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents show that the randomizer software was part of a larger contract totalling $1.4 Million. Documents provided by TSA shows that the contract related to the randomizer app had a $336,413 payout. TSA clarified to Mashable that the cost of developing just the randomizer app was $47,400. This figure might also include the cost of the iPads used to run the app in 150 airports across the US.

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