I’ve been doing a lot of flying in the last couple years, and have been especially conscious of the airport security measures – largely as a result of reading a lot of Schneier, I find the whole process fascinating, especially in the ‘security theatre’ context.
I am not sure what a “normal” amount of singling out is when getting the swabs after going through the metal detector phase. But I seem to get what I would consider an above average amount of that treatment. I know I’m spotless and I’m generally always early so I’m not worried about being delayed, but I know that when they pick me up, it’s a gigantic false positive that stops them from swabbing and probing people that actually might be problematic.
I’ve noticed that I can seemingly evade the swabbing process if I delay my exit from the x-ray machine. For example, after my bag and laptop come out, if I spend some extra time putting it in my bag, I can keep an eye on the swabber. As soon as he swoops on someone else (assuming he hasn’t already profiled me as a high-risk entity), I can just grab my bag and walk out the door, because he’ll be occupado.
This is a pretty obvious strategy. I’d like to think their profiling is good enough that they can easily spot people like me, shiftily glancing at the swabber out of the corner of their eyes while they spend an eternity struggling to stuff their laptop into their bag and putting their belt back on.