Term Paper: Technology Changed Security and Terrorism?

Pages: 7 (2330 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] It would also help in preventing identity theft which is possible under the current system of personal identification using traditional passports that can be easily forged by terrorists. Having a biometric database would also enable quick identification of terrorists and other people with a criminal history. [John Woodward, pg 3]

Terahertz Imaging

Terahertz imaging is the latest in imaging technologies that would help significantly in screening humans for hidden weapons. One of the advantages of Terahertz radiation is that it can penetrate most non-metallic medium. As John Federici, the scientist behind the technology says, "I see the Terahertz spectrum as one of the critical technologies for defense against suicide bombers and other terrorist activities,"[NJIT] Also by using a 'spectral fingerprint', the terahertz scanner can easily identify the nature of the concealed material. [NJIT]Though currently terahertz scanning systems are not in place they are expected to be put to use in the next few years. These scanning systems would be greatly helpful in our fight against suicide bombers who have concealed explosives.

Biosensors (Olfactory receptors)

Another emerging technology that would provide vastly superior screening function is the development of what experts call the artificial olfactory receptors. As the name suggests these are nothing but biosensors that can easily and accurately identify volatile organic chemicals. Researchers have identified that drosophila's olfactory receptors can identify 35 different organic agents. The development of a biosensor based on insect olfactory receptors therefore promises to provide great accuracy and speed in detection of volatile organic compounds. [Brenton et.al]


Terrorists have evolved in their warfare and now they exploit modern technologies to facilitate every stage of their operation such as recruitment, training, planning and attack. As one security expert said, it is no more a search for a needle in a haystack but more of searching a needle among many needles which indicates how difficult it has become to identify the culprit. By leveraging the networking capabilities of the internet and other communication devices terrorists are now more organized and coordinated in effecting their plans. Counter terrorism efforts therefore require more effort, continued research and high tech solutions to prevent, protect and to safeguard innocent citizens. The key to victory is not just the volume of information at our disposal but more importantly how effectively the information is analyzed and disseminated among anti-terror vigilance networks in different nations. Only a coordinated approach to Counter terrorism would yield fruit, and for this, standardization of security measures across the international checkpoints is indispensible. Technology has definitely altered the way terrorists work and though it helps them better organize their work it also leaves a trail that could be used to track them down. There is no one solution to solve the problem of terrorism but with the development of newer technological solutions such as Biometric identification, Biosensors and terahertz imaging systems and other software solutions we can look forward to achieving the objective of a safer America and safer world.


1) Bruce W. Don, David R. Frelinger & Scott Gerwehr et.al, 'Network technologies for Networked Terrorists: Assessing the Value of Information and Communication technologies to Modern Terrorists Organizations', Dept of Homeland Security, 2007, Accessed Mar 14th 2011, available online at, http://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/2007/RAND_TR454.pdf

2) Paul Cornish, 'Technology, Strategy and Counter Terrorism', International Affairs, Vol 86, Issue 4, Accessed March 14th 2011, available at, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2346.2010.00917.x/pdf

3) Emily Turrettini, 'Handsets' Deadly Use: Detonators', (Aug 27, 2005), accessed Mar 14th 2011, available online at, http://www.textually.org/textually/archives/cat_cell_phones_used_by_terrorists.htm?p=2

4) Emily Wax, 'Gunmen Used Technology as a Tactical Tool', The Washington Post, Dec 3, 2008, Accessed Mar 15th 2011, Available at, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/02/AR2008120203519.html

5) Bobbie Johnson, 'Terrorists could use Internet to launch Nuclear Attack: Report', accessed mar 15th 2011, available at, http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/jul/24/internet-cyber-attack-terrorists

6) Eleni Linos & Graham Colditz,, ' Screening Program Evaluation Applied to Airport Security', BMJ, (Dec 2007) 335:1290-1292, available at, http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/335/7633/1290

7) Garrick Blalock, Vrinda Kadiyali & Daniel H. Simon, 'The Impact of Post 9/11 Airport Security Measures on the Demand for Air Travel', Journal of Law and Economics, Feb 2005, Available at, http://aem.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/gb78/wp/airport_security_022305.pdf

8) EFF, 'CAPPS ii: Government Surveillance via Passenger Profiling', Accessed Mar 15th 2011, available at, http://w2.eff.org/Privacy/cappsii/

9) Paul Marks, 'Can a Government remotely detect a Terrorists thoughts?', accessed Mar 16th 2011, available at, http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12458-can-a-government-remotely-detect-a-terrorists-thoughts.html

10) John D. Woodward, 'Biometrics: Facing Up to Terrorism', RAND, Accessed Mar 16th 2011, available at, http://www.rand.org/pubs/issue_papers/IP218/IP218.pdf

11) New Jersey Institute of Technology. "Physicist Sees Terahertz Imaging As Ultimate Defense Against Terrorism." ScienceDaily 1 November 2005. 17 March 2011 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051101080318.htm

12) Brenton Marshall, Coral G. Warr & Marien D. Bruyne, 'Detection of Volatile Indicators of Illicit Substances by the Olfactory Receptors of Drosophila melanogaster', Chem Senses, June 7, 2010, Available Online at, http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/06/07/chemse.bjq050.full.pdf+html [END OF PREVIEW]

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