TSA's Very Expensive App Takes About 10 Minutes to Build [Updated]

The TSA Randomizer iPad app has two jobs: 1) point left or right, and 2) do it randomly. It’s an app a novice coder would write. And it cost the TSA $1.4 million.

In the video below Android developer Chris Pacia takes a crack at building the Randomizer himself, and gets the whole thing done in just over ten minutes. Pacia notes that his usual rate for app development is $100 per hour, meaning the TSA overpaid by around $1,399,990.


Kevin Burke, who initially filed a FOIA to learn more about the Randomizer, wrote in a blog post that expenses for the project were not itemized. Another site speculated that some of that $1.4 million might have gone towards hardware and training. What we do know is that at least $336,000 of the money went into the development of an app that does nothing but show an arrow pointing in one of two directions.

Update 4/5/16 5:00pm: While the price tag on the entire effort remains $1.4 million according to the FOIA received by Burke, the TSA claims the Randomizer app only cost $47,400.

Share This Story

About the author

Bryan Menegus

Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

PGP Fingerprint: 1905 9104 D967 2EB7 C3F5 68F9 9108 1434 C917 C1B9