International Terrorism and Technology

One of the negative responses to globalization is terrorism. Technology is being utilized everywhere by social miscreants and religious fanatics to conduct terrorist activities. Technology can however be used to fight terrorism through the use of intelligence analysis and other effective technological means. Terrorism has become one of the recurrent evils of recent times. Spawned by religious fanaticism and political unrest, it has continued to constitute a plague to the entire western region and the world as a whole.

As a result of incidents such as this, many countries and governments have increased their efforts at identifying criminals or potential criminals. As the number of travelers continues to increase, the task is becoming increasingly daunting. The use of biometrics in identifying passengers is expected to increase especially at the airport and other major entry points into metropolitan areas that are prone to attack (Unisys). State-of-the art technologies are being employed at International Airports to ensure that travelers are placed under scrutiny.

Biometric information would help to identify people that are using duplicate passports and suspicious individuals with their names on the watch list (Unisys). Facial recognition software is also being employed to achieve surveillance and identification of potential suspects. Chip-enabled e-passports are combined with Biometric identification equipment. Of all the Biometric technology being used, the fingerprint is the most common and effective for now. Facial recognition technology is also recording improvements that can identify a person just by their facial structure (Unisys).

From TV reports all across the world, it is obvious that the technology used by terrorists is top-grade and very sophisticated. Their information would have to be heavily encrypted for them to remain undetected throughout the planning period of the harmful attacks (Mandravelis). This is possible through the use of satellite mobile phones that have the capability of encoding information and concealing the source of data. It is possible to say to a high degree of accuracy, that technology aids terrorism. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to restrict technology (Unisys).

Technology is boundless and placing restrictions on it would mean placing restrictions on knowledge itself. Cryptography is another form of technology that is being used by terrorists to encode information that is confidential to harmful perpetrators. Issuing bans may not offer the ultimate solution to combating terrorism and may only create a false sense of safety (Mandravelis). The use of knowledge management systems can go a long way to accumulate, organize, share and analyze data. This would eventually result in building intelligent systems that can produce information that is crucial to the issues at hand.

These knowledge management technologies can help intelligence agencies to make connections between sets of data that they might not have been able to make ordinarily (Schwartz). These information can be shared with sister agencies to ensure that cases are solved more quickly and that there is sufficient access to a wide base of reliable data. Knowledge management systems are capable of performing link analysis; this is the ability to link two or more pieces of information that may not seem related.

Link analysis technologies put relevant information in a particular location so that all possible insights and relationships may be ascertained from the data set (Schwartz). Link analysis may be the future of fighting terrorism. For example, an analyst that already has the name of a suspect may proceed to find links in the person’s past like previous relationships, schools attended, and close ties in order to make certain deductions about the suspect’s next move (Schwartz).

The terrorism acts of Sept 11, 2001 with the United States as target, awakened everyone to the threats posed by terrorism. Intelligence authorities are convinced that if such knowledge management systems had been in existence, the terrors could have been prevented. Pieces of data that didn’t make sense on their own were available, but if these fragments of information could have been accumulated, the story would have been different today.

As such, the culture of information sharing has to be promoted if any significant progress is to be made in combating terrorism. Knowledge management and collaborative systems are indeed the future. This is the operational code of the FBI- to share information in order to empower the community (Schwartz). Most intelligence organizations are now actively involved in the Intelligence Community System for Information Sharing, an internet-based platform for sharing sensitive data and confidential information.

Extensible Markup language would be used to share information over the internet and constitutes an acceptable standard of information exchange (Schwartz). Terrorists are able to achieve their devious plans through the use of cheap international travels, telecommunications and accessibility to information via the Internet. They are able to gather enough information about their victims from the internet and also by travelling to target locations to map out their plans and look for people to bring on board. Cheap travels and easy access to the target country help to facilitate this.