Over the course of the last week we’ve seen the terror attack in Strasbourg, France, play out across millions of TV sets and Twitter streams around the world.
With the fifth victim dying yesterday there is an increased need for the poorly coordinated French police and state military forces, as well as the disorganized and European police and intelligence services, to start tackling terror with new approaches.
In Britain — which is practically a surveillance state, given the high density of video camera deployment throughout central London, and most major cities — there is a new move to use facial recognition technology, akin to what has been leveraged in China, in order to increase security.
The challenge that you have with facial recognition technology is that in many cases, it dances a fine line between civil liberties and state protection.
Recently, Taylor Swift began using facial recognition technology at her concerts in order to weed out stalkers.
What high-tech moves by Taylor Swift and the British government underscores is that we are moving into a new arena, in terms of both civil monitoring and enforcement. Much of this is nebulous and still has protocols to be worked out.
In the near term, if these measures can aid in identifying both terror and criminal actors in high throughput and thoroughfare areas like Christmas markets, it may be a stopgap for more concerted policy.
Longer term, policies will still need to be developed to allow for information sharing between agencies in a more comprehensive solution for terrorism threats. Europe will also need to start engaging with disenfranchised communities, as with 20,000 people on watch lists — monitoring everyone will prove impossible.
Oz Sultan is a leading Big Data and counterterrorism expert who focuses on anti-recruiting and ISIS counterterror (CT) research within crypto and social media. He also advises a number of Blockchain companies and is a Board Member of the Homeland Security Foundation of America. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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