Crime in the 21st Century: Technology and Terrorism Essay
Crime in the 21st Century: Technology and Terrorism
It is an accepted fact that globalization has been a dominant development of the 21st century. Together with globalization, the major crimes in the 21st century became also global in scope and nature. The website policy-traccc. gmu. edu/ (2008) cited Louise I. Shelley, Director of George Mason University School of Public Policy as saying that “Terrorists and transnational crime groups will proliferate because these crime groups are major beneficiaries of globalization. They take advantage of increased travel, trade, rapid money movements” (1st para. ). Based from the statement, the major crimes in the 21st century in the
likes of Sept. 11, 2001 of World Trade Center and the subsequent activities of Al Queda were considered as terrorist-related crimes. Terrorism which is domestic in nature was defined by www. tfft. co. uk (2008) through Boaz Ganor, an expert in the same field as “the intentional use of, or threat to use violence against civilians or against civilian targets, in order to attain political aims. ”(1st para. ). Based on the definition, the target victims of domestic terrorism were the local population of a particular community or communities within a country.
Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General define international terrorism as “any action intended to kill or seriously harm civilians or non-combatants, with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling action by a government or international organization” (“Discussion of definitions and the possibility of amalgamation”, 4th par. ). In both definitions, the use of violence, the target are individuals or a country or an international organization and the purpose is to attain political objectives were the salient points. Related to use of violence against individuals or an international organization, experience in 9/11
bombing will tell us that the impact of terrorist act is much intense when it was done in a surprise manner. In this age of great technological advancement, it is imperative for a government to use technology to pre- empt terrorist acts which usually result to great destruction of lives and properties. In order to promote development of anti-terrorism technology, the US Congress after the 9/11 has acted decisively and passed the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act. This act provides protection to sellers, manufacturers, distributors and providers of hi-tech anti-terrorism gadgets
and instruments. As a result, about 200 different companies were awarded the SAFETY Act certification. (Cafarano, 2008). This paper aims to document the availability of the latest high technology instruments, what is the principle behind such instrument and elucidate how the government is using the gadgets to 2 pre-empt surprise terrorist attacks. It was mentioned by Louise I. Shelley, Director of George Mason University School of Public Policy that terrorists usually use the benefits of globalization related to increased travel, trade and rapid money movements.
This was the reason why terrorists were always associated with urban centers, buses, airplanes, airports and places where people usually congregate. The following are the popular ant- terrorism gadgets so far invented: The Anti Human-Bomb Bus In Israel and Iraq, the suicide bomber is one of the most deadly threats to innocent citizens. Numerous prevention techniques have been developed to address this problematic threat. According to Holmes, et al (2005), in Israel bus system, a new technology aimed at preventing suicide bombers from boarding a bus was invented and being used at present.
This is achieved by detecting explosives from approaching passengers. Developed by Israeli Military Industries, the system takes the form of turnstile fitted with shield sensors. The sensors can detect explosives at a distance of up to a meter from the bus. When the sensor detect a suspicious passenger, the turnstile remains blocked and a red warning light flashes near the bus driver. A green light flashes when a boarding passenger is not a threat. Another turnstile at the rear of the bus allows passenger to get off the rear but not board it in cases of emergencies. The bus windows
were bullet and shrapnel – proof and a communication system can allow the driver to talk to waiting passengers outside and call for help in emergencies. A bus with these features costs $25,000. 00. Rapiscan Airport Scanner This technology was developed as an answer to the improvements needed with neutron and ion detector technology (Panel on Assessment of the Practicality of Pulsed Fast Neutron Transmission Spectroscopy for Aviation Security, 2008) According to the Panel, the drawback of the two technology instruments earlier developed is that it cannot detect explosives and other materials if hidden under lead cover and plastic materials.
According to Holmes, et al , the instrument was called Rapiscan Secure 1000 and function by scanning the passenger like a virtual strip search. The machine uses a low-level reflective x-ray technology to scan a person’s body through their clothing thus showing clearly metal objects like guns and explosives wrapped in plastics. Civil liberties advocates were opposed in using it due to the virtual strip effect. The technology has been considered for compulsory use in airports. The potential of people being embarrassed due to virtual strip effect of the scanner can be avoided by separating the male from female.
The eXaminer This is an advanced form of Explosive Detection System (EDS) and is currency being used in the Middle East although the technology is still being perfected in the US according to Holmes,et al. The instrument is called the Examiner 3DX600 and being used to detect explosives in baggage and not from people. This instrument uses advanced Computer Tomography that result to complete 3D image reconstruction of entire bags and analyzes any potential hazards from the baggage without the need for opening it. This reduces the likelihood of exposure of staff to hazardous stuff inside the baggage.
. This EDS can completely and continuously scan over 500 bags an hour. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology and Biometrics This new system is called US-VISIT. It scans photographs of the visitor’s face and index finger into a computer and matched with the criminal data base of the federal agencies. According to infowars. com (2005), the RFID technology practically is an invisible automatic ID check by the government and has long been needed in clogged border system of most countries particularly the US. With RIFD technology, people or objects are identified automatically and swiftly.
The technology allow vehicles outfitted with the technology to pass through toll plazas without stopping but will be stopped in borders if their identifying data produce red flags; if otherwise, they will just be stopped for a brief check without lengthy questioning. The website declared that “U. S. officials want to see if the same technology that speeds cars through highway tolls and identifies lost pets can unclog border crossings without compromising security”. As part of the biometric data base, foreign visitors at the 50 busiest land border crossings in 10 states of the US are now being fingerprinted.
The chips with identifying information will be placed in a document such as the State Department issued border crossing cards for those making regular short trips across the Mexican border. The chips can also be attached to an antenna that transmit data to a handheld or stationary reader which then converts the radio waves from the RFID tag into a code that links to identifying biometric information in a computer database of border agents. The use of biometrics which involve the physiological and behavioral characteristics for identification purposes has been initiated by the US to enhance security and identification (Batch, et al, 2006).
There 4 were considerations however related to its wide scale collection like its practicality and social impact which infringe on self’s autonomy. To address the concerns, the NRC and the CIA were undertaking comprehensive assessments on current biometric capabilities and future possibilities. Summary and Conclusion It was documented that 21st century crimes were mostly international terrorism in nature and can be linked to advances in technology and globalization especially with the ease of international travel and readily available financing through electronic money transfers. Since terrorists were using the
technological advances in doing their crimes to achieve their political aims, the countries were also doing its best to encourage companies and individuals to develop technologically advanced gadgets to pre-empt surprise attacks which were the very common style of terrorist activities. In the US, a total of over 200 companies were registered and given the incentive of being free from legal suit and damages for them to continue their business of inventing instruments aimed at pre-empting terrorism. Only a few newly invented gadgets were available in literature. A number of them being done by the 200 companies
according to unwritten sources were highly confidential in nature and therefore no literature yet are available. This was being done by the US Defense Department so that the terrorist themselves will be surprised that their planned acts of terrorism has been long monitored and therefore will think twice before implementing their plan. Surprise attack and defense has been the name of the game against terrorists. The new gadgets documented in this paper were living proof that government is not winking their eyes even for a moment and always several steps ahead of terrorist plans. The government was aware that
terrorism cannot be stopped and can only be prevented from happening for the time being but the plan and danger will always be there as experienced in 9/11 bombing. Terrorism is man- made and the inspiration which fuel terrorist acts is a product of an insane mind. This cowardice act can only survive in a society which is ill- prepared and whose ideals were blurred by the blinding light of success and achievements. After the 9/11 incident, we can no longer judge the readiness of one country towards terrorism. The technological advances made it possible to hide all the preparations and readiness in the pretext that
everything is topsy-turvy and no one dares to make the first move. Technology will save us all. 5 References Batch, K. , Millett, L. , and Pato, J. (2006). Summary of a Workshop on the Technology, Policy, and Cultural Dimensions of Biometric Systems. Washington. National Academy of Sciences. 62 pp. Cafarano, J. (2008). Backgrounder #213:Fighting Terrorism, Addressing Liability: A Global Proposal. May 21, 2008. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved November 8, 2008 from http://www. heritage. org/Research/NationalSecurity/bg2138. cfm Holmes, A. , Abarra, O. , Chamberlain, A. , Chan, W.
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