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The TSA Spent $1.4 Million on an App That Tells You to Go Right or Left

They could have probably saved a solid $1,399,999.75 if they just gave agents a quarter to flip.

by Helen Donahue
Apr 4 2016, 2:56pm

Read: Airport Security Is Apparently Not Very Good at Detecting Weapons or Explosives

You might have noticed the TSA's Randomizer app the last time you were at airport security. It's an iPad application that randomly directs you to go into one of two security lanes—a normal one and one that allows you to leave on your shoes and jacket and belt.

The basic idea is that the randomness of the app will prevent profiling, and it basically uses the same strategy as a coin toss. The whole thing turned out to be a pretty expensive coin, though: Developer Kevin Burke recently dug around to find that the app cost the TSA a whopping $1.4 million.

Burke says it's not clear exactly what TSA got for that million bucks, aside from the Randomizer app. "They might have just gotten the iPad app," he wrote, "[or] they might have gotten iPads, or work on multiple different apps, including the TSA Randomizer."

Still, a random number generator is one of the simplest things to code, and the TSA's Randomizer app is something that "a beginner could build in a day," according to Burke. They could have probably saved a solid $1,399,999.75 if they just gave agents a quarter to flip, instead.

Thumbnail via Flickr user Grant Wickes

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