The EU is providing yet more R&D subsidies for the Israeli security-industrial complex, this time for a €15 million project entitled “Total Airport Security System” (the EC contribution is €9 million).

The Verint-led consortium promises to deliver  “multisource labyrinth fusion logic enabling situational and security awareness of the airport anytime and anywhere” (or, in other words, “total surveillance”).

According to the project synopsis:

“TASS is a multi-segment, multi-level intelligence and surveillance system, aimed at creating an entire airport security monitoring solution providing real-time accurate situational awareness to airport authorities.

The TASS concept is based on integrating different types of selected real time sensors & sub-systems for data collection in a variety of modes, including fixed and mobile, all suitable for operation under any environmental conditions. TASS divides the airport security into six security control segments (environmental, cargo, people, airplanes, vehicle-fleet & facilities) each of them being monitored by various technologies that are fused together, creating a multisource labyrinth fusion logic enabling situational and security awareness of the airport anytime and anywhere. These fused control segments will be accessed through the TASS WEB-based portal by running a suite of applications making the airport security control centralized to all airport authorities. Information will be shared and synchronized between all of them in order to generate a comprehensive, real time, security overview for the airport C2, providing all the necessary features to assure a total no breach security environment. The integration will include the use of in-place technologies that will result in a cost-effective solution.

The TASS consortium consists of 3 main end users representing 16 airports and 16 technological partners, which bring together European SME s, industrial and academic partners, ranging from sensor design and electronic communications through to civil airport protection. The technologies will be tested at 3 airports including the hub airport Heathrow, an Israeli domestic airport and Athens airport, in order to cover a wide range of needs at different levels of airport protection. The main test at Heathrow airport will involve scenarios including 2 connected to the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London ultimately resulting in a high & smooth passengers flow”.

In addition to Verint, the TASS consortium includes Elbit Systems Israel, the Israel Airports Authority and Ernst & Young Israel. Other consortium particpants include BAE systems, BAA (the British Airport’s Authority) and technology providers Rapiscan, Alcatel and Skysoft.

However, not everyone is happy about the amount of funds that the EU is providing to Israel for “security research” purposes (see “Should the EU subsidise Israeli security?” and “EU must end funding of Israeli military research“).

And as anyone who has ever passed through an Israeli airport on their way to the Occupied Territories might well ask, should we really be looking to Israel as a model for European security?

Human Recognition Systems (“the UK’s leading independent identity management and biometric specialists”) has entered into partnership with defence giant Thales and the UK Home Office to find “the airport security technology of the future” (a.k.a. INSTINCT-Technology Demonstrator 2).

INSTINCT-TD2 is described as “a government initiative to discover, trial and showcase emergent airport security technologies, solutions and ideas” (see HRS press release).

UK Security Minister Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones says: “The threat to our security is real and is evolving, and technology can play a key role in reducing that threat. This project shows how the Government is working with industry to find those innovative and emerging technologies.”

As are governments everywhere…


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.

DETECTER is a three-year, university-led project that aims to co-ordinate and contribute work on detection technologies, counter-terrorism, ethics and human rights. It is funded under the security research component of the Fp7 programme. Representatives of the project have been speaking to the BBC:

The DETECTER project is certainly a most welcome initiative. But in the face of scores of EU funded-projects that call into question the EU’s commitment to ethical research and human rights, what we’d also like to see is a the creation of a standing committee with a DETECTER-like mandate to evaluate each and every ‘security research’ proposal before EU funds are committed.

This would see crucial legal and ethical issues take centre stage of the EU security research programme, instead of being bolted on as an afterthought as they have been in FP7.

For more information on DETECTER see the project website and blog.

The production of extravagant PR material is always a good indication that government agencies or public bodies have been given too much money. This is the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from “No, you can’t”, the short film that now greets visitors to the European Commission’s security research website.


“No, you can’t” – EU Security Research ‘infomercial’

It’s clearly something to do with preventing lightly armed people with mental illness boarding European aircraft, but is the deranged central character, crude Asian stereotyping and abject lack of meaningful information in this ‘infomercial’ meant to convey a deeper message about the European Union? Barrack Obama said “yes, we can”, the European Commission says “no, you can’t”. Speaks for itself really.

Regardless of message or metaphor, how anyone thought this was a justifiable use of public funds beggars belief. You’d have thought the Commission might have learned a few lessons from the frankly even more embarrassing INDECT video and the ridicule it invited.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 70 other followers