It was recently revealed that the contract to create US Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) randomizer app – which decides which pre-check line travellers should join prior to a flight with a giant left or right arrow on an iPad screen – cost an absurd $1.4 million.
$1.4m for this:
In an effort to expose the inordinate cost of the randomizer, Android coder Chris Pacia created his own version of the app. In 10 minutes, at an estimated labour cost of around $10:
The cost of the app was revealed via a freedom of information (FOI) request made by coder Kevin Burke. He sent the TSA the following e-mail:
“I request that a copy of documents concerning the following subject matter be provided to me:
The RFP (Request for Proposal) issued by the TSA for designing and implementing the “TSA Randomizer” iPad application, described here and currently in use by TSA agents at security checkpoints at many airports, including Terminal 2 at Oakland International Airport.
Details of any submitted bids from contractors or internal government agencies to design and construct the “TSA Randomizer” iPad app.
The final signed contract between the TSA and a contractor to implement the “TSA Randomizer” iPad app.”
In return, the TSA sent him a two documents: a covering letter, and another letter which showed a payment of $336,413.59 to IBM, the developer of the app. Further investigation, though, revealed a number of other documents, already in the public domain, which revealed the cost be closer to $1.4m.
Over one million dollars for 10 minutes work. I’m in the wrong job.