It has been revealed that the Transport Security Administration spent a massive $1.4 million on an iPad app that randomly chooses whether someone has to move left or right in the airport security pre-check line.
The application’s sole purpose is to display either a left or right pointing arrow during TSA airport checks, an incredibly simple function, yet the government agency paid a small fortune for the product.
The discovery was made when developer Kevin Burke submitted a Freedom of Information Act request asking for more details about the agency-bought application and its purchase. The request revealed that the TSA paid over $336,000 for the software alone, but referenced a whopping total of $1.4 million for the project as a whole.
It has been speculated that this enormous purchase included the iPads to host the app, as well as personnel training, but this fails to explain the amount of money spent solely on the simple software tasked with the menial job of pointing left or right.
The application was designed to make random check designations in the Pre-Check lane easier and more secure. The theory behind the app was that by having an unpredictable random generator behind the lane designation, people in the queue would not be able to predict patterns in the random checks and attempt to avoid them.
“The TSA uses software to randomly choose whether travelers in the PreCheck lanes go left or right, making it harder for potential terrorists to detect any patterns,” wrote Bloomberg on the subject. “The randomization also helps to prevent accusations of racial or other profiling.”
Dozens of commenters on social media and elsewhere have taken the opportunity to mock the TSA, with programmers providing variations of the code to enact the simple function in multiple languages online. Others suggested that the government use the far cheaper random alternative of a coin toss instead, highlighting the fact that it would provide the same outcome as the pricey $1.4 million project.
Charlie Nash is a frequent contributor to Breitbart Tech and former editor of the Squid Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington.