The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently paid IBM a hefty sum for an app that told airline travelers whether to go left or right.
App developer Kevin Burke obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that indicated TSA officials spent $336,413.59 for "mobile application development" services from IBM, and $47,400 of this total was used to design and deploy a randomizer app for the TSA.
So what does the randomizer app do exactly? Mashable pointed out the app serves as a random number generator, assigning travelers to left or right lanes at airport security.
TSA paid IBM $47,400 for an app that only pointed right or left https://t.co/sBAD4KHl83— Brad Knowles (@bradknowles) April 7, 2016
The app initially was leveraged in more than 100 airports as part of the now-defunct "managed inclusion" program that was designed to make it more difficult for terrorists to discover patterns in security lines.
It also proved the app development space can be profitable.
We're all in the wrong business https://t.co/lTjq1wwLYu— Joshua Topolsky (@joshuatopolsky) April 4, 2016
However, the app is no longer in use, despite the fact that demand appears to be on the rise.
Burke noted there were four bids for the TSA mobile app development contract, and ultimately, IBM won the bidding.
But developer Chris Pacia recreated the app in 10 minutes -- without a $47,000 budget at his disposal.
The Next Web reported if Pacia was awarded the contract for the TSA app, he would have earned an hourly rate of about $282,000.
This makes IBM's ability to secure the TSA contract that much more impressive, according to one computer engineer.
Well done, IBM, well done.…https://t.co/DytdhuYbEn— Humdrum Harv (@harvardheinous) April 6, 2016