Secure gatherings



Transport Security Expo 2010 takes place in London next week, on 15-16 September, showcasing “a range of the innovative solutions for the Transportation Security arena”, including:

- Systems Integration
- Access Control & Biometric Solutions
- Blast Containment
- CCTV & Monitoring
- Explosive Detection
- RFID / Tracking
- Cargo Screening
- Seals / Tamper Evident Solutions
- Perimeter Security and Intrusion Detection
- Training & Consultancy Services
- Baggage Screening
- Passenger Screening
- Physical Security

The conference includes over 30 Workshop Sessions on ‘Securing Cargo’, ‘Perimeter Security’,  ‘Passenger Security’ and ‘Terminal Security’. Click here to view the full workshop programme.

The EU is also holding its annual security research conference this month, from 22-24 September in Ostend, see conference website.

SCR ’10 is focussed on the EU’s R&D programme (the security research component of FP7) and includes plenary sessions on “Halfway through FP7″,  “After Lisbon: The continuum of internal and external security” and “Security as a pre-requisite for prosperity”.

In addition, there are dedicated sessions on Maritime Security, Standardisation, CBRN, Cybersecurity, Transport Security, Security of the Citizens (sic), Security of Infrastructures, Restoring Security, Improving Security, Security and Society and the coordination of EU Security Research.

As with the Berlin security research conference, “ethics and justice” are squeezed into a single session (on Security and Society). The words privacy, human rights, governance and accountability do not appear anywhere in the conference programme.

The conference also includes a “brokerage event” and exhibition to “facilitate networking between companies, scientific experts, operators and policy makers”. More than one thousand participants are expected.

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) and the European Commission are co-organising a one and a half-day briefing tackling the “current state of play on security research, its challenges and its opportunities in the future”.

The fifth German Security Research conference, organised by the Fraunhofer Group for Defence and Security, is under way in Berlin, see conference website and programme (pdf).

The eight conference sessions cover Security of Transport Systems, Building Protection, Surveillance and Control (2 sessions), Security-Related Legal and Ethical Principles, Detection of Hazardous Materials (2 sessions), Protection of Supply Networks and Security of Communication Networks.

While the inclusion of a session on legal and ethical principles is a welcome addition to the overwhelming focus on security technology, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that society should be (re-)oriented toward “future security”, and not the other way around.

Counter-Terror Expo protest banner

Counter-Terror Expo protest banner (source: Demotix)

Demotix reports that a small group of protesters gathered outside Kensington Olympia yesterday to speak out against the Counter Terror Expo 2010 in London. There was a strong police presence inside and outside the event and one protester was arrested for writing “No more death for profit” and “Capitalism sucks” on the ground in front of the entrance.

The exhibition is sponsored by arms company Thales and organised by Clarion Events [responsible for Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi), the world’s largest arms fair and a long-standing target of anti-arms trade campaigners] and officially supported by a host of military, police and private security organisations. It features over 250 exhibitors, including leading arms companies such as BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, and is formally endorsed by the likes of the MoD and NATO.

You can read more about the goings on at the Counter-Terror Expo 2010 in SchNEWS and on Open Democracy, where Clare Sambrook has taken a close look at New Labour’s cosy relationship with the surveillance and detention industry.

Another surveillance project funded by the EU’s FP7 project that crosses the line into the realm of the ridiculous, reported this week by the Daily Telegraph in the UK.

There’s not much that can be said about the aims of this project that hasn’t already been said by those cited in the article, which is reproduced in full below. Following the Telegraph article is a video report from theglopalreport.org.

Telegraph logo

David Millward, Daily Telegraph, 5 April 2010 (click here for original article)

Airline passengers could have their conversations and movements monitored under a European Union project aimed at tackling terrorism.

Brussels is funding research at Reading University aimed at detecting suspicious behaviour on board aircraft.

It uses a combination of cameras, microphones, explosives detectors and a sophisticated computer system which would give a pilot early warning of any danger.

But the work has alarmed civil liberties campaigners who fear the growth of the surveillance state.

At present intelligent CCTV systems which monitor and analyse passenger behaviour using computer software are used in a number of airports across the world, including at Hong Kong and Washington DC. They are designed to pick up unusual or suspicious behaviour, such as a bag being abandoned.

Currently security on airplanes is mainly limited to a CCTV camera located by the cockpit.

But under the new system microphones would be installed and passenger conversations listened to for the first time. Suspect words and phrases would alert a monitoring system.

Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, said: “Audio airline surveillance is the line that must never be crossed in a high security environment. Passengers must already face intolerable intrusions and restrictions on their movements. The day the airlines install hidden microphones on planes is the day that all trust in the airlines is destroyed.”

But the research also alarmed Gus Hosein a lecturer at the London School of Economics. “This is getting out of control. An airplane is not a privacy free zone.”

The Reading team, headed by James Ferryman, have already conducted trials of the camera system on a British Aerospace plane and the computer system on a mock Airbus.

“What we are doing is extending technology which is already used at airports and railway stations and placing it on an aircraft,” Dr Ferryman said.

Cameras dotted around an aircraft would look out for the abnormal, such as several passengers entering a lavatory at the same time or individuals seeming agitated.

One option would be to allocate some seats to passengers whose behaviour has already raised concern at the airport, so they could be monitored on board.

Microphones would eavesdrop for anything which could suggest terrorist behaviour. Inside the lavatories explosives sniffers would detect if a bomb was being assembled.

All this information would be analysed by computer and if it spotted something untoward, the flight deck would be told instantly.
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Join Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, and the folks from Security & Defence Agenda to answer a question the EU and the Homeland Security industry have long been answering with a resounding “yes”.  The roundtable “Does Europe need Homeland Security?” takes place in Brussels on 12 May 2010.

Session I – 12:30-14:00- Prospects for cooperation in building a European Homeland Security policy

Terrorist attacks in Europe since 9/11 have prompted greater efforts in European homeland security. What concrete achievements can EU governments and institutions point to? Is there now a greater coherence of national security policies in the EU, and what political will exists to go further towards creating a genuine EU strategy? How has the Lisbon treaty and the Commission portfolio reshuffle affected such a fundamentally inter-pillar issue, and should Europe consider creating a European Homeland Security Agency? What lessons can the EU draw from the US Department of Homeland Security experience?

Solvay SDA Members’ Lunch – 14:00 15:00

Session II – 15:00-16:30 – Security & resilience: the case of Critical Infrastructure Protection

Protecting critical infrastructures is the cornerstone of homeland security. To what extent have EU member states now agreed on a common definition of critical infrastructures with the design of new tools such as the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP) and the Critical Infrastructure Warning Information Network (CIWIN)? Can Europe build a common framework that guarantees a better matching of needs and solutions in critical infrastructure protection? What role for NATO in CIP? Are public-private partnerships a viable option, and is it only larger companies that own critical infrastructures? In sectors as diverse as telecommunications, water, energy, transport and power, what terrorist attacks scenarios are being studied?

Click here for full Programme.

Two upcoming international conferences on the theme of border controls showcase the people, organisations and corporations building the state apparatuses of the future – but who is holding them to account?

Border Security 2010 is a commercial venture of the SMI Group on “land, air and maritime border security issues” that also has a counter-terrorism and public order focus. The event is sponsored by a host of defence and Homeland Security companies and takes place in Rome on 3-4 March 2010, following “sell out events in Istanbul in 2008, and Warsaw in 2009″.

Keynote speakers include Edgar Beugels (Head of Research and Development Unit, Frontex), Keith Best, (UK Immigration Advisory Service) and Thomas Tass (Executive Director, Borderpol). The conference also includes presentations on:

  • The EFFISEC project (an FP7 project on checkpoint security)
  • ‘Border Violence’ (brought to you by the European office of the Department of Homeland Security)
  • EADS National Security Programme for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Uses for unmanned aerial systems [drones etc.] in Border Security Operations
  • Security Planning and Technological Application in International Major Events: The Italian G8 Summit Experience
  • NATO’s International Border Security Agenda
  • Biometric Technologies for Border Processing (from the EU-funded European Biometrics Forum)
  • Analysis of the Mumbai Terror Attacks
  • UK National Security & UK Maritime Security
  • See full programme (pdf)

For its 2011 event SMI plans “a special focus on the use of border management technologies” with “special insights into how different surveillance technologies are being used to aid decision making and improve security at all levels”. Heralding a new era of government by robot, ‘Border Security 2011′ will consider “how far the human factor is being replaced and what your role will be in the 21st century environment”.

This theme is taken up by the second event. Towards E-Borders: The impact of new technologies on border controls in the EU takes place at the Academy of European law in Trier on 22-23 April 2010. The seminar will “take stock of the use and the impact of new technologies on EU borders” and the “role of Frontex and Europol”. Speakers include:

  • Erik Berglund (Director of Capacity Building Division, Frontex Agency, Warsaw)
  • Roland Genson (Director, Police and Customs Cooperation, Schengen Directorate, General Secretariat of the Council of the EU, Brussels)
  • Julie Gillis and Ian Neill (Director and deputy, e-Borders Programme, UK)
  • Jean-Dominique Nollet, Head of Analysis, Serious Crime Department, Europol)
  • Frank Paul (Head of Unit, Large-scale IT-systems and Biometrics, Directorate-General Justice, Freedom and Security, European Commission)

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