It makes sense really, the paranoia that quickly infected every corner of the ‘Western’ world had to be cashed in on by somebody, tada! The security industry of course.
During the Cold War, Canada’s National Optics Institute developed a system to detect which type of enemy tank or fighter jet was approaching. After the Soviet Union’s demise, such threats were deemed less likely, and the technology sat on the shelf.
Until 2003, when entrepreneur Eric Bergeron toured the institute with Sept. 11 on his mind.
“The flash I had was that we no longer look for Russian planes in the sky, but we do look for bad things in luggage,” Bergeron said.
The X-ray analysis company that emerged, Quebec-based Optosecurity, is only on the verge of putting its devices in real-life checkpoints. But its hopes are emblematic of the massive homeland security technology industry spawned by Sept. 11.
At least some interesting new technological solutions and ideas have popped up, not just the stupid crap that the George Bush administration usually comes up with..
Spending on domestic security across all U.S. federal agencies is expected to reach $58 billion in fiscal 2007 — up from $16.8 billion in 2001, according to the Office of Management and Budget. States and cities are annually contributing $20 billion to $30 billion more, Gartner Vice President T. Jeff Vining estimates.
Much of it lands with large defense contractors and systems integrators with long government ties and the heft to tackle huge projects. For example, Unisys got a $1 billion contract to set up computers, cell phones, websites and other network technology for airport security staff. BearingPoint won a $104 million deal in August to provide secure identification cards to federal employees and contractors.
Still, a lot of no-names are angling for a piece. Even a tiny slice could be revolutionary for them.
Ah hyper-vigilance, that’s a good term.
Brian Ruttenbur, homeland security analyst for Morgan Keegan & Co., is also watching companies that help analyze intercepted communications and those that manage video surveillance.
Of course, even as technologies improve, none is likely to end the post-Sept. 11 era of hyper vigilance. “We can’t catch everything,” Ruttenbur said. “I don’t know of any single technology that can be right 100 percent of the time.”
Let’s hope things can relax again with some of the good new technological controls in place rather than all of us who travel frequently being controlled by the fear or terrorism.
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