Free Newsletter
Register for our Free Newsletters
Access Control
Deutsche Zone (German Zone)
Education, Training and Professional Services
Government Programmes
Guarding, Equipment and Enforcement
Industrial Computing Security
IT Security
Physical Security
View All
Other Carouselweb publications
Carousel Web
Defense File
New Materials
Pro Health Zone
Pro Manufacturing Zone
Pro Security Zone
Web Lec
Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

The legal and technological progress achieved since the WTC attack

11 September, 2007
6 years have gone by since nearly 3000 people were killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, events that were commemorated today in both Washington and New York by victims' relatives and those who were closely involved. The question on many people's lips is just how far we've come in those 6 years and what progress has been made.

Going some way to answer this, the White House stated that, amongst many other political measures, their intelligence professionals are using the latest available tools in order to remain one step ahead of the terrorists but what are these tools? Well, they variously relate to the creation of US legislation and NGOs, diplomacy, border control, technology and a sprinkling of attitude engineering. Changes in the US legal system and supporting infrastructure have seen the introduction of the controversial USA Patriot Act along with the federal agency of the department of homeland security and the national counter terrorism centre and terrorist screening centre. The Patriot Act is seen by many as a tool that can be used to circumvent constitutional liberties but seen by the US Government as an essential instrument for preventing terrorist infiltration, adding that the balance between civil liberties and security has to measured carefully to prevent the political alienation of the people the act is trying to protect. In the air, the Allied Pilots Association (APA) is lobbying the White House on the issue of the Federal Flight Deck Officers programme. The APA represents the pilots of American Airlines but the lobby is also backed by the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association and the Airline Pilots Association. The FFDO programme covers the arming of flight deck personnel, the implementation of which is shaky due to uncertainty over issues such as appeal procedures and coverage of international flights. Concerning border control, we can all see the effects of procedural changes whereby the airlines and airport authorities lock down the easiest routes through pre-existing holes in their security systems but there’s a lot that we can’t see. By the end of next year in the US alone, border patrols will have more than doubled and as much of 98 percent of freight containers entering the US will be screened on arrival before the end of this year. For anyone requiring a visa trying to enter the USA or the UK recently, the tightening of visa application requirements will be painfully evident. Biometrics have entered the arena and visa applicants are now required to submit biometric data (fingerprints for the UK) before being issued with a visa. More stringent biometric requirements are in place for the US VISIT system. Less obvious is the recognition systems in place in other countries outside of the highest  threat areas of western Europe and the USA, namely the Commonwealth of Independent States and China. Biometrics is not the only advancement in technology that has come to the fore since 2001. Scanning and screening systems and imaging systems improve by leaps and bounds at an incredible pace as the technology providers recognise the market potential of their innovations. Plastecine or semtex, baby milk or liquid explosive there are scanners that can tell the difference. How much of this came about in the wake of the World Trade Centre attack? Its hard to know precisely, but there can be no doubt that although the risks remain, the ability to carry out terrorists attacks are thankfully much less.

Bookmark and Share