portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting oregon & cascadia

technology

Wireless World: Fighting terror wirelessly

Great story about using wireless technology to fight terrorism.
By Gene J. Koprowski
United Press International

Published 10/22/2004 8:07 AM
CHICAGO, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- A consumer uses his smart phone to make a wireless purchase of a curious product over the Internet on eBay.com. Just a few hours earlier, someone using that very same mobile phone number had called a shadowy figure in Khartoum. Should the data from the eBay transaction be integrated into a national database for national security purposes, allowing CIA or National Security Agency investigators potentially to connect the dots and unveil an emerging plot by a suspected terrorist? Such questions are relevant to an emerging debate over civil liberties in today's post-Sept. 11, 2001, digital world."For national security in the Information Age, there is talk of a shared network so we can better connect the dots," said Rob Atkinson, director of the New Economy Project and vice president of the Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank of the Democratic Leadership Council in Washington, D.C."This is a very timely issue. It's all under debate," he told UPI's Wireless World.This week on Capitol Hill, Congress and the Bush administration have been discussing these wireless technology security issues. If the U.S. government creates such a national, shared-intelligence network, some policymakers say, then it also should create an independent board, charged with protecting civil liberties -- such as the right to due process under the law and the presumption of innocence. Some experts "have warned that e-Bay records would be in the same pool of information as the database on Hamas leaders," Atkinson said during a recent panel discussion in Washington. "But the debate should be about how can we deploy these technologies to accomplish the mission of protecting national security -- without hurting privacy and civil liberties."Atkinson said he thinks such an integrated network -- combining data and voice information, from a variety of sources -- could help capture terrorists before they strike."I'm not saying we could have stopped Sept. 11," Atkinson said, "but we could have gotten several of those terrorists before they attacked the United States.-- Wireless World is a weekly series by UPI examining social and economic and political changes wrought by emerging wireless telecommunications technologies. E-mail  sciencemail@upi.com

homepage: homepage: http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20041022-121304-5676r

Not sold yet 23.Oct.2004 13:55

JR

It's a slippery slope, considering exactly what needs to be done and why, in regard to matters of national security, in the context of the current atmosphere especially, when you have so many people so afraid so much of the time, with so many many worries, and when so many of us question our articles of what exactly is right or wrong anymore?

But whether wireless could or would have ensured a safer world in that earlier world before all the trouble started, is a question that, given a thorough thinking through, and taking into the equation more than one or more other factors, it seems we won't be able to answer these questions at this time.